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Refractive eye surgery - what to ask your doctor

Definition

Refractive eye surgery helps improve nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. If you are nearsighted, you have trouble seeing things that are far away.

Below are some questions you may want to ask your doctor or nurse.

Alternate Names

What to ask your doctor about refractive eye surgery; Nearsightedness surgery - what to ask your doctor; LASIK - what to ask your doctor; Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis - what to ask your doctor; Laser vision correction - what to ask your doctor; PRK - what to ask your doctor

Questions

Will this surgery help my type of vision problem?

  • Will I still need glasses or contact lenses?
  • Will it help with seeing things that are far away? With reading and seeing things close up?
  • Can I have surgery on both eyes at the same time?
  • How long will the results last?
  • What are risks for having the surgery?

How do I prepare for this surgery?

  • Do I need a physical exam by my regular doctor?
  • Can I wear my contact lenses before the surgery?
  • Can I use makeup?
  • What if I am pregnant?
  • Do I need to stop taking my medicines beforehand?

What happens during the surgery?

  • Will I be asleep or awake?
  • Will I feel any pain?
  • How long will the surgery last?
  • When will I be able to go home?
  • Will I need someone to drive for me?

How do I take care of my eyes after surgery?

  • What type of eye drops will I use?
  • How long will I need to take them?
  • Can I touch my eyes at all?
  • When can I take a shower or bath? When can I swim?
  • When will I be able to drive? Work? Exercise?
  • Are there any activities or sports that I will not be able to do after my eyes are healed?
  • Will the surgery cause cataracts?

What will it be like right after surgery?

  • Will I be able to see?
  • Will I have any pain?
  • How soon before my eyesight gets to its best level?
  • If my vision is still blurry, will more surgery help?

Do I need any follow-up appointments?

For what problems or symptoms should I call the doctor?

References

Messmer JJ. LASIK: A primer for family physicians. . 2010:81(1):42-47,48.

Mimura T, Azar DT. Current concepts, classification, and history of refractive surgery. In: Yanoff M, Duker JS, Augsburger JJ, et al. . 3rd ed. St. Louis, Mo: Mosby; 2008:chap 3.1.

Young JA, Kornmehl EW. Preoperative evaluation for refractive surgery. In: Yanoff M, Duker JS, Augsburger JJ, et al. . 3rd ed. St. Louis, Mo: Mosby; 2008:shap 3.2.

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    Encyclopedia content is provided as information only and not intended to replace the advice and instruction from your personal physician.