The Laser Procedure
Before the Laser Treatment
If you wear contact lenses you will be asked to remove the contact lenses for 2-6 weeks depending on the type of contact lenses you wear. Contact lenses temporarily alter the shape of the cornea. By leaving the contact lenses out for the designated period of time, the cornea is able to regain its natural shape, which results in a more accurate and precise outcome.
- Free assessment clinic - Basic suitability, measurements and patient information.
- Eye Care Practitioner - full eye examination / refractions. May require more than one visit.
- Atlas / Oculyzer (Corneal Topography)
- Ophthalmologist (Surgeon) - final check refraction, eye decision re type of treatment and suitability, informed consent.
Arrive at given appointment time (if your appointment is after 5pm phone 1/2 hour prior to confirm that there are no delays. Firstly, the nurse will give you oral medications of sedation and pain relief. The sedative takes about 20 minutes to take effect. The nurse will go through your medication kit and initial post-op care (and your care giver).
Once in theatre you will lie on the laser bed. The eye not being operated on is covered with an eye pad. Anaesthetic eye drops and antiseptic eye drops (Betadine) are put in by the nurses. A protective dressing is placed over the eyelid and lashes. This is followed by an instrument called an eye speculum to hold your eyelid open to prevent you blinking or closing your eye during the procedure. Sometimes patients with small eyes find this instrument uncomfortable, fortunately it is in place for a short time (approximately five minutes).
During LASIK a corneal flap is created. A suction ring is applied to the front of the eye. Sometimes the suction ring is uncomfortable but not usually painful. During this time pressure generated in the eye by the suction ring causes the vision to temporarily fade out. Once the flap is created the suction ring is removed, the flap is then lifted and the eye positioned for the laser treatment. Your vision will be returning, the surgeon will instruct you to fix straight ahead on the green light which has an eye tracker system allowing for any small eye movement. After the laser treatment of 3 to 25 seconds, the flap is replaced, thus returning it to its original position. The eye is irrigated and left to settle for 1-2 minutes before removing the eyelid speculum. Antibiotic drops are applied and the eye padded.
The laser itself is painless. Note, the laser beam makes a noise similar to a high pitched crackling, and some patient's report noticing a slight burning smell.
You will be led out of theatre by the nurse to rest quietly in the recovery room. Following LASIK, you will need to rest quietly for a further 20 minutes before the surgeon rechecks the correct positioning of the corneal flap, using the slit-lamp microscope. The final step following LASIK is to securely apply a clear protective eye shield over the operated eye.
You will need someone to drive you home. Your eye will stay numb for about an hour following surgery. The rate at which sensation returns to the eye varies from patient to patient. Following the LASIK procedure patients generally report minimal discomfort, with a fast recovery of vision. Pain relief and sedatives are supplied in your Laservision kit, which you take home with you.
The day after the operation you will be asked to put drops in your eye starting after your first post-operative appointment with your surgeon. The eye drops (Maxitrol) are supplied in your Laservision kit. The surgeon will instruct you to put one drop in the operated eye(s) four times a day for the first week, then twice a day for a second week, then discard the bottle. Maxitrol is a combination anti-biotic/steroid medication eye drop, to prevent infection and settle inflammation. If there is any significant change in vision, redness, pain and/or discharge contact your eye surgeon.
Recovery of Vision
Initially, your vision may be a little blurred, which is normal. Following LASIK the majority (97%*) of people have legal driving vision, and vision stabilises after one month.
The Following Months
Routine follow-up appointments are scheduled for 1 week, 1, 3, and 6 months post-op. If you live in Christchurch you can make these appointments with either the Surgeon or your Optometrist directly. They will liaise with us regarding your results and progress.
If you do not live in Christchurch your follow up appointments can be with your local Optometrist. They will liaise with us regarding your results and progress.
Your Laservision fee covers you for these consultations, we advise you to undertake a 12 and possibly 24 month check independently with your eye care professional.
Please remember to take your patient record book with you to all consultations.
Patient Record Booklet
The patient record book records all the measurements and the detailed processes that Laservision has undertaken to achieve the best possible visual result for you. The book is your clinical record. It will be referred to by the eye care professionals involved with your laser refractive treatment.
It must accompany you to all appointments or be held with your eye care practitioner.