Anyone who knows the struggles of trying to put in contacts after an all-nighter (or during allergy season) has--at some point--thought about getting LASIK. (You know, the buzzy surgery designed to correct near- or far-sightedness with very little risk or downtime.) We checked in with Dr. Kerry Assil, an ophthalmologist in Los Angeles, to learn what to expect before, during and after the procedure.
You’ll have to give up contacts before qualifying for the operation
Contact lenses can alter the shape of your cornea (the eye’s outermost layer that is operated on during LASIK), which can make it difficult for your doctor to decide if you’re a good candidate or not. If you want to consider the surgery, you’ll have to wear glasses for a few weeks so your corneas have time to assume their natural shape and your ophthalmologist can take accurate measurements of your peepers.
But it’s a minimally invasive procedure
The whole process should take about ten minutes to complete--and rest assured, you'll get numbing drops in each eye to make sure you don’t feel anything. What happens next isn’t as scary as it sounds, but the doctor basically cuts a small flap in your cornea, then uses a laser to reshape it to enable any light entering to focus better, thus giving you clearer vision.
Your eyesight might be blurry initially
Don’t freak if your vision isn’t initially amazing. Just make sure to have someone take you home afterward (driving yourself is a big no-no) and prepare for a few days of sensitivity to light (think: halos, haziness or starbursts around bright lights).
And your eyes might feel like something is in them
Just resist rubbing, which could actually dislodge the corneal flap. (Yikes!) Instead, use your prescription eye drops as directed (they should help with the itching and speed up recovery time). Also, you might want to stay out of the ocean, lakes, swimming pools or hot tubs to avoid contaminating your eyes.
But things will clear up soon
A successful LASIK means your eyesight will finally be corrected (most people achieve 20/20 vision or better) in about one to two days. Think about it: no more cleaning your glasses or scouring the bathroom for lost contact lenses!
And the effects should be permanent
Especially if your eyeglass prescription was very stable before the procedure. If you do experience slight changes in your vision over time (this can happen with age or because of hormonal changes), consult your doctor about getting a touch-up.
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