Eye Health

Updated 13 February 2015

How to get through laser eye surgery

Today laser eye surgery is a popular and affordable treatment that provides long-term relief for sufferers of eye conditions. Here’s a complete guide of what to expect.

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Today laser eye surgery is a popular and affordable treatment that provides long-term relief for sufferers of eye conditions. Yet many people remain anxious about the surgery’s potential risks and side effects. 

With this in mind, here’s a complete guide of what to expect from the laser eye surgery procedure. From preparing for the experience through to looking after yourself post-surgery, this guide will help any would-be patients feel happy and confident about booking a treatment.

 Why should I undergo laser eye surgery?

For anyone who suffers from frustrating eye conditions, laser eye surgery offers a permanent solution. The surgery involveschanging the shape of the cornea and can help to correct conditions like astigmatism and long and short sightedness. This means no more annoying contact lenses, expensive glasses, and a renewed sense of confidence and self-esteem.

Best of all, the procedure doesn’t even need to present a big financial strain. The surgery is becoming increasingly reasonably priced and wellness coupons help make looking after yourself more affordable.

Mentally preparing yourself

Much of the fear and anxiety people experience about laser eye surgery stems from a sense of the unknown. Our eyes are such a sensitive and important part of our body that it’s only natural to feel apprehensive about any surgery that involves them. 

The best way to mentally prepare yourself for the laser eye surgery procedure is to feel as up-to-date and well informed as possible about the experience ahead of you. Pre-surgery consultations with your surgeon should cover all of this in detail and give you an opportunity to ask any niggling questions. 

Reading reviews and experiences from other patients can also be worthwhile. Most consultants should be able to provide a list of testimonials from happy customers who can give you a glowing review about the experience. 

What to expect during the operation 

Most laser eye surgery procedures start with local anaesthetic drops being placed in the eye, followed by an incision in the cornea. A flap is folded back to reveal the middle of the cornea and laser pulses are applied to the area. The flap of cornea is then replaced. 

The surgery can be performed on both eyes during one sitting. However, it’s worthwhile discussing it with your consultant to see whether that’s the right choice for you.  

 

  

Post-surgery care

There are several practical precautions that every patient should undertake to ensure their eyes remain in excellent condition following laser surgery. Most of these involve steps to prevent infection: 

  • Avoid getting your eye/s wet or soapy for at least one week after the surgery, and this includes entering damp conditions like saunas. 
  • Try to avoid rubbing or irritating your eyes and steer clear of applying eye makeup. 
  • Most clinics will provide you with some post-operative goggles or eye shields, so be sure to wear them for the prescribed length of time. 
  • Post-surgery it’s important to always wear sunglasses in bright conditions and especially during sporting conditions or in dusty, dirty environments. 

All of these precautions should be explained to you in more detail by your surgeon. By opting for an excellent quality clinic and adhering to their post-operative advice, laser eye surgery is a safe and rewarding treatment option.

(Groupon, January 2013)

 

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Optometrist

Megan Goodman qualified as an optometrist from the University of Johannesburg and is currently practising at Tygerberg Academic Hospital in Cape Town. She has recently completed a Masters degree in Clinical Epidemiology at Stellenbosch University. She has a keen interest in ocular pathology and evidence based medicine as well as contact lenses.

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