Frequently Asked Questions
To determine your suitability for any refractive procedure, you will need to come in for an initial assessment at our rooms in Nedlands or Melville. At this consultation we will check your refraction and look at the general health of your eyes. We will discuss the procedure and what results you can expect. If you would like to check your suitability or if you have other questions please contact us.
Modern laser refractive surgery is very safe and effective. We commonly hear that it is the best thing they have ever done and that they wished they had done it years ago.
What we can’t guarantee is perfect vision. We do expect to be able to make you able to function well in most situations without glasses.
Each person heals differently, and some individuals have a natural dominance in one eye. What this means is that sometimes the vision in one eye will turn out to be slightly better than the other when tested individually.
Yes, laser surgery permanently alters the shape and focus of your cornea. The effect of laser surgery does not wear off but your eyes can continue to change with age. This is more likely for those who have a high refractive error to begin with. If your eyes do change, it may mean that glasses, or laser enhancement may be necessary.
It takes 3 months or more for your vision to completely stabilise after the procedure but most of the change happens in the first month. After this you should not be aware of any change in distance vision.
In the very long run there will be changes in the lens inside your eye that may alter the focus when cataracts start to develop. That may then require cataract surgery.
Laser eye surgery itself takes approximately 10 minutes per eye but you will be with us for about 90 minutes.
The Excimer laser incorporates an infra red eye tracking system. This highly sophisticated safety device tracks tiny eye movements and guides the laser to follow them. This makes sure that the laser treats the correct areas of your eye. The eye tracker incorporates advanced multi dimensional video tracking and reads the exact position of your eye. The eye tracker forces the laser to stop treatment if your eye moves outside the laser treatment range allowing for excellent safety and surgeon control.
You will be able to see your surroundings immediately after the treatment. Within 6 hours your vision will become quite clear.
In most cases you will be able to drive the day after surgery. However, you should wait until after your visit with the surgeon on the day after the procedure who will advise you whether it is safe to do so.
Most people require two days off work: the day of surgery and the day after. A medical certificate can be provided. Some people may require longer, depending on their occupation.
You can return to work as soon as you feel comfortable with your vision. It may take some time, (a few weeks) to feel completely comfortable with prolonged reading or computer use. Excessive computer work or near work, especially in air-conditioning, may make your eyes more sensitive. You may find that you tire more quickly, or cannot concentrate for as long as usual, while you are getting used to the changes in vision.
Dusty or dirty environments should be avoided for at least one week to allow the eyes time to heal and reduce the risk of infection.
What should I do immediately after surgery?
Your eyes will be gritty and irritable and very sensitive to light for several hours afterwards. They usually water a lot.
Rest with your eyes closed. Sleeping after the procedure will help the eyes to heal.
Clear plastic shields will be placed over the eyes for protection. These must stay in place until they are removed by the clinical staff at your appointment the following day. You will need to wear these at night for a further 2 nights to prevent rubbing of the eyes during sleep. During the day wearing sunglasses will be beneficial.
Your vision will start to clear within 6 hours after the procedure.
Keep water out of your eyes in the first week after surgery.
Swimming: Don’t go swimming (Beach or Pool) or use a spa for at least 2 weeks.
Surfing: 2 weeks.
Scuba Diving: Not for or at least 1 month.
Light exercise: Is fine within the first week. Just be careful around other people and do not rub your eyes. Avoid getting sweat in the eyes.
Avoid contact sports for one month.
Rubbing eyes: Don’t rub your eyes hard, ever, but don’t rub them even normally for the first month.
Do not wear eye makeup for the first month.
The follow up visits are covered for the first month but after this time visits with the Ophthalmologist will be charged.
LASIK is a surgical procedure and as such has some associated risks and complications of which you must be aware before proceeding. Fortunately, complications are very uncommon. Improved technology has reduced risks even more. Serious complications that may interfere with vision are extremely rare.
Complications that may occur include:
- Infection – Extremely rare. The estimated risk is 1:3,000 less than that for contact lens wear.
- Complications creating the flap
- Haloes and night glare
- Loss of best corrected vision
- Over correction and under correction
- Delayed Healing
You will be started on 2 types of eye-drops. One is an anti-inflammatory and helps to reduce any redness and swelling, making the eyes more comfortable. The other is an antibiotic which will help to prevent an infection. These should be used as instructed by your surgeon.
After refractive surgery your eyes can sometimes be drier than usual. Individuals with dry eye pre-operatively will often have pronounced dry eye post-operatively. You may not feel the eyes are dry but it helps to replace the moisture that is usually there with artificial tears or moisturisers. Dry eyes can affect the clarity of your vision, so it is in your best interest to use artificial tears liberally for at least the first few weeks after surgery.
The more you use them the better your eyes will feel. Unlike skin moisturisers, the drops drain away very quickly and need to be repeated often. Commonly people need to use the drops every hour initially but this can be slowly tapered off to every 2 hours then, 4 times per day (during waking hours). For those with significantly dry eyes it helps to use some gel lubricant before bed.
Both air-conditioning and heating decrease humidity and can result in drier eyes. If you go back to work and find your eyes drier than at home make sure you are not sitting in the path of an air vent and remember to blink when using the computer.
Your sunglasses should meet Australian Standards (check the tag) and have 100% UV protection. Many people also find polarised lenses (which block glare off the road or water) are better. It is good to get either a wrap-around frame or very large pair of sunglasses that fit snugly around your eyes/brow to block glare and wind from the sides.
It is best to avoid soap and water in the eyes for one week after the procedure.
Do not use any eye makeup for at least 1 month after surgery. Try to avoid using makeup on the eyelids and lid margins for one month. When using eye makeup again try to use the hypo-allergenic type. Avoid mascara that lengthens lashes as the filaments tend to fall into your eyes over the day.
There is no restriction on flying but the humidity in the cabin is extremely low, resulting in dry eyes. Use lubricating drops or gel frequently on the flight to avoid sore, dry eyes and blurred vision after the flight. Drinking water to rehydrate will also benefit.
Dry Eye Syndrome occurs when there aren’t enough tears produced by the eyes, or the tears that are produced do not contain enough of the lubricants required to moisturise the eye effectively. It is typically more common in older individuals, but can be a factor in the healing of the eyes after LASIK.
Dry eyes can affect the clarity of your vision, so it is in your best interest to use artificial tears liberally for at least the first few weeks after surgery.
Signs of Dry Eye
My vision sometimes go blurry but then clears when I blink – This is a sign of dry eyes. If your eyes are dry the tears become very thick, and you often need to blink a few times to clear it. If this happens please start using the daytime lubricant drops more often (hourly). Contact us if it does not improve over time.
My vision worse at the end of the day – It is normal for your eyes to get drier as the day goes on and this interferes with the quality of vision. If you work on computers or are concentrating on near work all day it can be hard to relax the eyes for distance vision and they will seem blurry. You also blink less when reading or using the computer and that makes the eyes drier. Use the lubricating drops more frequently and take frequent, short breaks from the computer to allow your eyes to move and blink more naturally.
My eyes feel dry, gritty, watery, scratchy or feel like there is something in them – This is related to reduced tear production and dry eye, so will need to use eye lubricants. The more you use them the better this will get. Using the drops every hour is not too often. Many people want to tough it out and not use drops but this is the worst thing you can do.
This is an allergy response, so you may have got something in your eye (dust, pollen, animal hair). You can take over the-counter anti-histamine tablets (talk to your pharmacist) or use anti-histamine eye drops (also over the counter) as directed.
Some redness immediately after LASIK is common, especially where the white meets the clear part of your eye. These red patches are like small bruises and will clear over the first week or so. They are nothing to be worried about. If your eyes have become red some time after having surgery this is commonly due to dryness. Please start using the lubricant drops and if it doesn’t improve steadily then contact us.