What to Expect After Surgery F.A.Q.
Frequently Asked Questions
What should I expect after the the Custom Wavefront
Lasik, PRK or Laser Vision Correction Surgery in Denver or Boulder
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1.HOW SOON CAN I RETURN
TO MY DAILY ACTIVITIES?
For the first 12 hours immediately
following your procedure, we strongly encourage you to rest and
keep your eyes closed as much as possible. Typically, PRK patients
will wear a clear bandage contact lens for 3 to 5 days. With LASIK,
patients wear a protective eye shield until the next morning. Most
PRK patients can work and drive 3 to 5 days after the procedure,
while the wait time for LASIK patients is typically about 24 hours.
You should avoid rubbing or touching your eye for 1 week and then
do so with caution through the first month. Avoid getting soap,
shampoo, hair spray, etc. in your eyes for 1 week. Avoid sunlight
exposure, scuba diving, swimming, saunas, hot tubs, and water sports
for a minimum of 1 week. Wear proper eye protection when participating
in active sports and working with machinery, tools, or hazardous
materials. These are only guidelines; the healing response varies
from person to person - we may suggest longer waiting periods for
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2. HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE
TO ADJUST TO MY "NEW VISION" AFTER LASIK?
LASIK provides extremely rapid
visual improvement; over 95% of patients can see to pass a driver's
test 24 hours after LASIK. However, there is an adjustment period
required to adapt to the "new vision". When a patient gets a new
pair of glasses, it can take days to weeks to adjust to the new
correction. LASIK essentially gives the patient "new eyes", and
there is a similar adjustment period. It typically takes two to
four weeks for patients to adapt "psychologically" to their new
visual status, although they usually see well enough to function
without glasses within 24 hours of the LASIK procedure.
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3. WILL I NEED TO WEAR
AN EYE PATCH AFTER THE PROCEDURE?
You will have to wear clear plastic eye
shields for 24 hours after the procedures so that you don't inadvertently
rub your eyes. You will also sleep with the shield for 7 days after
the procedure. However, you will not need to wear the shields during
THERE BE ANY LIMITATIONS ON MY DAILY ACTIVITY AFTER THE PROCEDURE?
There are minimal limitations on your normal activities.
You will be asked to avoid getting water in the eye for the first
week. Most people can see to drive and return to work within 24
hours after their procedure. Of course, you wouldn't resume activities
such as driving until your vision is adequate. We ask women not
to wear eye make-up for one week. If you participate in physical
activities such as karate or basketball, where there is a chance
of being "poked in the eye", you should wait at least
2-4 weeks and then wear eye protection.
5.IF I DON'T
GET A PERFECT 20/20 RESULT, CAN I HAVE A REPEAT PROCEDURE TO IMPROVE
If you have an undercorrection of overcorrection
a repeat procedure can be performed to improve your vision. There
is a limit to the precision of the Laser, however. If your vision
is 20/30 or worse after the initial Laser procedure, I can usually
retreat; but if your vision is 20/25 after the initial Laser procedure,
I may not be able to retreat. I am limited in my ability to retreat
by the physical properties of the Excimer Laser. If you are 20/25,
I would have to remove less than 2 microns of tissue (approximately
1/25 of a human hair or 250 molecules.) The Excimer Laser cannot
remove this little amount of tissue precisely.
You must wait for 2 to 3 months for
the vision to stabilize before being retreated. You may require
a mild glasses prescription during this waiting period to see distance.
We will provide you with lenses for your glasses at no charge.
6. WHAT HOLDS THE FLAP
IN PLACE AFTER LASIK AND DOES THE FLAP EVER COME LOOSE?
The LASIK flap is remarkably secure.
Unless an eye had experienced significant trauma, I am not aware
of a flap becoming dislodged after LASIK. The flap is primarily
held in position by it's inherent shape, like a piece of a puzzle.
The flap is also held in place by the normal physiologic activity
of the cornea, by mucopolysaccarides (a gluey substance secreted
by the corneal cells), and by the overlying corneal epithelial cells
(the clear, skin-like layer that covers the cornea).
7. IS IT HARDER TO SEE
AT NIGHT AFTER HAVING LASER VISION CORRECTION?
Patients often initially experience
glare at night following LASIK. Rarely, the glare can be so significant
that the patient will feel uncomfortable driving at night. Fortunately,
the glare will usually resolve within a few weeks.. The large 8.1
mm treatment zone on the VISX Star S4 Excimer has significantly
decreased then incidence of glare after LASIK. Most patients who
experience glare after LASIK describe halos around lights or rays
emanating from a light source. These same symptoms are often similarly
experienced by patients when wearing glasses or contact lenses prior
to their LASIK procedure. LASIK patients are also often aware of
mild difficulty seeing in dimly lit environments or when under fluorescent
lights. This is due to subtle corneal irregularities induced by
the Excimer Laser. With recent improvements in the VISX Star Excimer
Laser, specifically the SmoothScan upgrade and CustomVue Wavefront
technology, the induced corneal irregularities have been significantly
reduced. Patients now experience significantly less glare, halos,
and decreased vision in dim light and fluorescent light situations.
In fact, with CustomVue Wavefront technology, many patients actually
feel their night vision has improved after LASIK. In the CustomVue
FDA studies, four times as many patients were very happy with their
night vision after Custom LASIK than before Custom LASIK.
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8. WILL MY
EYE LOOK DIFFERENT AFTER LASER VISION CORRECTION?
After LASIK, your eye will
look the same as it did before LASIK. No one (other than your Eye
Surgeon) can tell by looking at your eye that you have had LASIK.
Your eye color will not change with LASIK.
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9.WHAT WILL MY VISION
BE LIKE IN THE DAYS TO WEEKS AFTER LASER VISION CORRECTION?
95% of patients can see
20/40 or better the day after LASIK, which is good enough vision
to pass a drivers test in Colorado. However, most patients are aware
of a haziness to their vision, often with shadowing, halos or ghost
images, that usually resolves within a few weeks. Occasionally,
these visual symptoms may persist until the eye is retreated, if
necessary, at three months or rarely may even be permanent. 95%
of patients can return to normal activity within a few days, but
may have some difficulty with reading or night driving. If you are
over 40 and have monovision, you may have more initial difficulty
adapting to your "new vision", both for reading and driving.
However, 99% of my patients do adapt to monovision.
95% of my patients are not wearing glasses at one
year after LASIK. However, in the first few weeks after LASIK, you
may be frustrated and have some difficulty reading or driving at
night. If you do have difficulty seeing to function in the immediate
weeks following your LASIK, I will provide you lenses for your frames(at
no charge) that usually allow you to function until your vision
stabilizes or until you are retreated, if necessary, at 3 months.
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10. I'VE HEARD THAT GLARE
AND HALOS AT NIGHT CAN BE BAD AFTER LASER VISION CORRECTION?
Much of the negative information
presented in the popular media regarding Laser Vision Correction
has involved night vision problems, primarily glare and halos. When
I started doing Laser Vision Correction in 1996, glare and halos
were often present at night, causing difficulty for patients driving
at night. However, with the new smooth Excimer laser profiles, the
automated tracking systems and the large FDA-approved optical zones
available on the VISX Star S4 Auto tracker and Autonomous LADAR
Excimer Lasers, night vision complaints have significantly decreased.
When we initially started Laser Vision Correction in 1996, we were
using Excimer Lasers with 5.5 mm optical zones. The Visx Star S4
now has a treatment zone of 8.2 mm. With this large of an optical
zone, glare has significantly decreased as a complication. I've
also learned to very carefully measure the patients pupils in dim
light (when the pupils are maximally large and dilated) and to then
make sure that I use an optical zone on the Excimer Laser that is
larger than the patient's pupils in dim light. With these precautions
and technical improvements, the incidence of glare has significantly
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LONG DOES IT TAKE FOR THE FLAP TO HEAL AFTER LASIK? DOES THE FLAP
The LASIK flap adheres within
days to the underlying corneal bed. I have seen flap movement within
the first 3-4 days after LASIK in 1-2% of patients. If the flap
malposition is immediately recognized and treated, the flaps are
very easy to reposition in this early post-op period. I have not
seen a flap displaced after 4 days post-op. I would assume that
a LASIK flap could be dislocated by significant direct trauma to
the eye for many weeks after LASIK. I had one patient who was hit
directly in the eye three months after LASIK by a tennis ball. She
was playing "up at the net" and was struck directly in
the eye by a very hard hit tennis ball. The trauma caused a large
corneal abrasion, but did not affect the LASIK flap. A corneal abrasion
is the same injury I would expect in a non-LASIK eye so, essentially,
her LASIK eye was able to withstand significant, direct trauma without
affecting the LASIK flap. Her eye healed without complication.
The LASIK flap rarely shows any evidence
of scar formation. Unless the eye experiences a very rare complication
(ex. infection or inflammation), the LASIK flap will not scar.
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Rose Medical Plaza,
4545 East Ninth Avenue, #270, Denver, CO 80220