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Refractive eye surgery - what to ask your doctor

Definition

Refractive eye surgery helps improve nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. Below are some questions you may want to ask your health care provider.

Alternative 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 after the surgery?
  • 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 the risks of having the surgery?
  • Will the surgery be done with the latest technology?

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 or nursing?
  • 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?
  • 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?
  • Are there any side effects I should expect to have?
  • How soon will it be 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 provider?

References

American Academy of Ophthalmology. Questions to ask when considering LASIK. San Francisco, CA. American Academy of Ophthalmology. December 12, 2015. www.geteyesmart.org/eyesmart/glasses-contacts-lasik/lasik-questions-to-ask.cfm. Accessed August 20, 2016.

Hou JH, Young JA, Kornmehl WE, de la Cruz J. Preoperative evaluation for refractive surgery. In: Yanoff M, Duker JS, eds. Ophthalmology. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 3.2.

Taneri S, Mimura T, Azar DT. Current concepts, classification, and history of refractive surgery. In: Yanoff M, Duker JS, eds. Ophthalmology. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 3.1.

Review Date:8/20/2016
Reviewed By:Franklin W. Lusby, MD, ophthalmologist, Lusby Vision Institute, La Jolla, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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