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
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. Both PRK and LASIK
patients will wear a clear, protective eye shield until the next morning following surgery, and will then just wear the shield at night to protect the eye while sleeping for 7 days. PRK patients
will, also, wear a clear extended-wear soft contact lens for 3 to 5 days. Most LASIK patients can see to work and drive 24 hours after the procedure. PRK recovery is slower. PRK patients are very blurry for 3 days after the procedure. Most PRK patients can return to work and drive 4-5 days after PRK.
Of course, you wouldn't resume activities
such as driving until your vision is adequate and you feel safe to drive. 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 1-2 weeks. 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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HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE
TO ADJUST TO MY "NEW VISION" AFTER LASER VISION CORRECTION?
LASIK provides extremely rapid
visual improvement; over 95% of patients can see to pass a driver's
test 24 hours after LASIK. PRK patients typically are seeing clearly to function 10-14 days after PRK. 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. Laser Vision Correction 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
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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
WILL I HAVE DRY EYES AFTER LASER VISION CORRECTION?
YES! Every LASIK and PRK patient has dry eyes initially following their procedure. LASIK patients will experience the dryness immediately. PRK patients typically have watering for the first few days after their procedure but the dryness then presents 4-5 days after the procedure. For both procedures, the eyes typically are not so dry in the morning but the dryness may become more significant as the day progresses. Prolonged computer usage makes the dry-eye symptoms worse. When we use the computer, or perform any near visual task, such as reading, we are hard-wired to decrease our rate of blinking. This leads to tear evaporation and increased dry eye symptoms. Frequent use of lubricating eye drops usually helps but if this is not adequate, punctal plugs are a simple, effective treatment option. The dry symptoms usually diminish within 2-3 months following either procedure but dry eye symptoms may persist indefinitely in some patients. This group of patients often had dry eyes prior to Laser Vision Correction and were unable to comfortably wear contact lenses due to dry eye symptoms. Patients may occasionally experience dry eye symptoms when they first open their eyes in the morning after sleeping and this may continue for many months following the procedure.
THERE BE ANY LIMITATIONS ON MY DAILY ACTIVITY AFTER THE PROCEDURE?
There are minimal limitations on your normal activities. We ask patients 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.
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
the vision to stabilize before being retreated. This takes, at minimum,3 months for LASIK and 6 months for PRK. 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.
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 mucopolysaccharides (a gluey substance secreted
by the corneal cells), and by the overlying corneal epithelial cells
(the clear, skin-like layer that covers the cornea).
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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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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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