What is LASIK Surgery and how should a patient prepare for it?

lasik surgery & treatment
lasik surgery & treatment

LASIK eye surgery is easily the most commonly performed laser refractive surgery to correct faulty vision.

LASIK is the short form for Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis. It a procedure that permanently changes the shape of the cornea, the clear covering of the front of the eye, using an excimer laser. The surgery is recommended to correct vision in people who are near-sighted (myopia), or far-sighted (hyperopia), or have astigmatism.

In eyes with normal vision, the cornea bends (refracts) light precisely onto the retina at the back of the eye. But with myopia, hyperopia or astigmatism, the light is bent incorrectly, resulting in blurred vision.

Once the surgery is done, light focuses correctly on the retina, in the back of your eye, making vision clearer.

LASIK Procedure

During a LASIK surgery, a femtosecond laser is used to cut a flap in the cornea. The special type of cutting laser is programmed to precisely cut a thin flap of the cornea at the front of your eye. The flap is peeled back and another laser is used to reshape the tissue underneath. Pulses from a computer-controlled laser vaporize a portion of the stroma and the flap is then put back in place. The flap usually heals without any stitches.

During the surgery, you will be requested to focus on a point of light. Staring at this point helps to keep your eye fixed while the laser reshapes your cornea.

The above process takes between 20 – 30 minutes and can be performed under local anaesthesia (eye drops) that will numb the area. You will generally be awake during the surgery and can leave the clinic/ hospital in an hour or two.

Is LASIK Surgery right for you?

While LASIK surgery is good for a patient who wants to reduce her or his dependence on spectacles, there are certain conditions where it may not be the ideal procedure to undergo.

LASIK is not advisable for a person who is under the age of 18. Ophthalmic surgeons prefer to wait till a patient is over 21 years of age, so the eye has achieved the level of maturity desired before undergoing a surgical procedure.

LASIK is also not advised after the age of 40 because with advancing age, there may be a need to use reading glasses, so the purpose would be redundant.

LASIK is also not recommended for power above -10 to -12D as this can lead to significant corneal weakness, leading to problems later on

The surgery is not recommended if the patient is pregnant or nursing

LASIK is not advisable for a person who is taking certain medications

It is not recommended if the patient has had several recent changes in the vision prescription

Patients with thin or uneven corneas should not have LASIK surgery

LASIK is not advisable for people with eye conditions such as glaucoma or very dry eyes or other health issues such as diabetes, lupus, or rheumatoid arthritis

How to prepare for LASIK surgery

Find the right LASIK surgeon – It is important that you do your homework well and find the right surgeon to do your surgery. Check for prior experience and expertise in this kind of surgery. Check if the right kind of equipment is being used, whether it as per globally accepted standards. Clear all the questions that you have in your mind and be sure that you get answers that satisfy you.

Pre LASIK evaluation is extremely important. Corneal thickness, corneal maps, pupil diameter, eye dryness, muscle balance etc. must be checked and they all need to be normal before even considering LASIK surgery

Share you complete medical history with your doctor – Be sure to disclose any medical illness, medication or allergies that you may be having

Stop wearing contact lenses a week to 10 days before the surgery, depending on the kind of contacts you use. You will need to wear spectacles instead, during this period.  You doctor will guide you regarding this.

Abstain from alcohol or caffeine – Drinking alcohol or caffeine before LASIK surgery can be dehydrating. There are chances that it will interfere with medications used for the procedure, so refrain from alcohol on the day of surgery.

Eat a light meal on the day of your surgery, before going in, and take all of your prescribed medications

No makeup – Do not use eye makeup on the day of the surgery. Wash your eyes well before leaving home.

Post operation transportation – Though you will be discharged in a short time after the surgery, you will not be allowed to drive. So be sure to arrange for transport to take you home.

You will need to put eye drops at frequent regular intervals. If you can get someone to help you with this in the first couple of days, it would be ideal.

Stay away from very bright lights and glare for a few days. If possible, stay at home and rest your eye for two or three days at least.

Don’t swim or use very hot bath water for 2 weeks after surgery

Be mentally prepared, because A) You will be awake during the procedure B) Your normal routine will have to change for a few days, while your eye heals from the surgery and things get back to normal C) Until your eyes get normal, be prepared for a little discomfort and a little blurry vision in the initial stages after the surgery. Your doctor will brief you regarding follow up visits and other protocol that you must follow. Meanwhile, relax.

What ‘to do’ and ‘not to do’ after you undergo LASIK eye surgery

lasik surgery
lasik surgery

Our eyes are the most sensitive organs in our body that provide us with vision. Often, this crucial organ develops errors that interfere with our vision and we have to use prescription spectacles or contact lenses to correct the problem. However, these are external aids and can often be inconvenient. LASIK eye surgery can be the answer to the problem.

Who benefits from LASIK surgery?

Patients who have a refractive error – when the eye does not refract/ bend light accurately for good vision need this surgery.  To have clear vision, light rays must travel through the cornea and lens. The cornea and lens refract light so it lands on the retina. The retina then converts light into signals that travel to your brain and become images. When the eye has a refractive error, the shape of the cornea or lens does not allow light to bend properly, resulting in blurry vision.

Why LASIK Surgery?

LASIK is a type of refractive surgery for the eye. LASIK surgery uses a particular type of laser to surgically correct vision problems caused by refractive errors. The procedure is done by reshaping the cornea of the eye, to properly focus the light on the retina of the eye.

The laser technique corrects farsightedness, nearsightedness or astigmatism, of patients who meet the criteria for the procedure. However, after the Lasik eye surgery, proper care must be taken to avoid any infection or complications that might set in.

The Dos and Don`ts after the Lasik surgery

Since the eye is a very sensitive organ, adequate care must be taken to ensure that it is protected – particularly when it is healing after a LASIK surgery, when you might experience irritation or tearing. Here are a few dos and don’ts that you must know before you undertake the procedure, so you are prepared, well in advance.


Your doctor will prescribe eye drops which are to be used at a regular frequency, after the surgery. Use the eye drops, as requested.

Keep your eyelids shut for at least 4 to 5 minutes after using the eye drops.

Before applying the eye ointment (if any), eye drops are to be used

Dab the edges of your eyelid very gently, with sterile tissues

Blink regularly to moisten your eye

For the first few days, wash and clean your face carefully, avoiding any contact with the eyes

Wash your hands well before bringing them anywhere close to your eyes

Cover your eyes with clean sunglasses while stepping out in the sun and pollution

Do arrange for someone to keep your phone safe while you are in the OT. Phones will not be allowed inside this area.

You can read books and watch TV from the very next day of the LASIK surgery

You can have a normal diet

Once you get home after the surgery, get some rest in a dark room

Do arrange for a vehicle to take you to the hospital for your Day 1 follow up with the surgeon


Don’t bare your eyes to smoke, pet fur, dust and pollution for a few days

Don’t wash your hair for a couple of days after the LASIK surgery

Don’t rub your eyes or touch your eyes with dirty hands.

Don’t splash water into the eyes for at least a week post the surgery.

Don’t use tap water to clean your eyes.

Don’t swim or get into a hot tub for about one month post the surgery.

Don’t use eye makeups for at least two weeks post the surgery.

Don’t exercise for at least 1 week after the surgery.

Don’t put stress on your eyes by sitting in front of the computer screen for at least three days after the surgery.

Don’t self-drive any vehicle for at least one week after the surgery Don’t hesitate to inform your eye doctor if you are in need of any help or any answers.