How to Prepare Before, During and After LASIK Eye Surgery

LASIK eye surgery is a long-term option for repairing vision focus. Taking the right steps before, during and after the procedure will ensure proper healing.

Woman lifting her eyeglasses to look at her laptop while sitting at a table

Any ophthalmologist will tell you that two commonly asked questions prior to LASIK eye surgery are, “What if the procedure doesn’t go as planned?” and, “How long does recovery take?” It’s understandable, as every procedure involves risks, including LASIK eye surgery.  

Eyeglasses and contact lenses are solutions for refractive errors (imperfections that affect eye power), such as myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism. Myopia is difficulty seeing objects at a distance, while hyperopia is difficulty seeing nearby objects. Astigmatism describes a distortion of the image on the retina due to irregularities in the cornea or eye lens.

LASIK surgery is a long-term option for improving vision focus using laser technology to precisely remove corneal tissue. Does it already sound like the better alternative?

Here are a few precautions you’ll need to take before, during, and after the procedure to ensure complete recovery and clear vision. 

Woman smiling as she places a glass of water on a bedside shelf with her left hand
Drinking enough water lubricates the eyes sufficiently and aids in post-procedure recovery.

What Do You Need to Do Before LASIK Eye Surgery? 

Allow an ophthalmologist to perform a baseline evaluation of your eyes. It’ll establish if you’re a suitable candidate for the procedure. To ensure that it goes smoothly, stop wearing contact lenses for three days if you’re wearing soft lenses and two weeks for hard lenses. Instead, opt for glasses.

Contact lenses change the shape of your cornea. This can interfere with the measurement process, which helps determine the amount of corneal tissue to remove. If you’re wearing hard or rigid gas permeable lenses, the process will be repeated a week after the evaluation and before the surgery. In addition, not using contact lenses can prevent an infection  

An ophthalmologist may also require you to scrub your eyelashes to remove debris and residue. You will have to avoid facial care products. 

Hydration plays an important role in the normal functioning of every cell, tissue, and organ in the body so stay hydrated. LASIK eye surgery can potentially dry eyes. Drinking enough water will lubricate the organs and promote healing.

It’s the Day of the Surgery! Now What? 

Lean back into the reclining chair. Let the ophthalmologist drop a numbing agent in your eye before cleaning its surrounding area. The eyelid will be kept open with a lid speculum. 

A mechanical microkeratome – a disposable blade device – attached to a suction ring cuts a flap in the cornea. The ophthalmologist will place this device directly on your eye. Pressure will be applied, dimming your vision and causing minor discomfort.

Laser keratomes can also have the same effect. First, a translucent plastic plate flattens the cornea. Next, laser energy is used to create thousands of gas and water bubbles inside the cornea tissue. These bubbles will expand and connect to separate tissues under the surface, creating a flap. The plastic plate is removed.

Treatment will begin when your eye is in the correct position. Information from the evaluation will be input into a computer that regulates the laser energy required to vaporise tissues. Once the corneal tissue vaporises, the ophthalmologist will reattach the flap. A shield will be placed over the eye to protect it from accidental poking, rubbing or being put under pressure when you sleep.

Woman taping a plastic shield on top of a woman’s right eye
A plastic shield protects the eye from post-procedure injury.

What Should You Expect After LASIK Eye Surgery? 

Immediately after the procedure, your eye will likely hurt, itch, feel a burning sensation, or feel as if there’s a tiny object wedged in it. You’ll also have blur vision, experience a sensitivity toward light, and see a glare, starbursts, or haloes around lights. Worry not, as these symptoms will improve in a few days. 

The ophthalmologist will remove the shield, examine your eye, and test your vision quality during the first post-procedure visit. Different eye drops will be given to lower the risk of infection and inflammation. Artificial tears may be prescribed to keep your eyes lubricated. 

Kick your feet up and relax your eyes! 

Wait a minimum of three days before beginning any type of non-contact sports. Contact sports like football, basketball, karate, or rugby shouldn’t be attempted until a month after surgery.

To keep infections away, refrain from using facial care products two weeks after surgery or unless the ophthalmologist gives you the go-ahead.

Take the herbal route to regulate body constitution 

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) can help you recover holistically from LASIK eye surgery through acupuncture and the consumption of herbal formulas. Addressing the imbalances that stem from LASIK surgery is the primary function of traditional formulas.

Qi Ju Di Huang (杞菊地黄) in pill or liquid form can improve vision by alleviating post-procedure Heat and nourishing the Kidney and Liver organ systems. Chuan Xiong Cha Tiao San (川芎茶调散), Tong Qiao Huo Xue Tang (通窍活血汤), and Xiong Zhi Shi Gao Tang (芎芷石膏汤) encourage blood and qi (vital life force) circulation to the eyes. It does this by eliminating surgery-induced pathogens like blood clots, Dampness, inflammatory Heat, and Qi Stagnation,” explains Real Health Medical Senior TCM Physician Brandon Yew.

Activate acupuncture points to ease post-LASIK surgery symptoms 

Applying pressure to localised and distal points can offer mild symptomatic relief. Localised acupuncture involves the needling of points, such as: 

  • Jing ming (BL1, 睛明) 
  • Tai yang (EX-HN5, 太阳
  • Yi ming (EX-HN14, 翳明) 
  • Yang bai (GB14, 阳白
  • Feng chi (GB20, 风池
  • Cheng qi (ST1, 承泣) 
  • Si bai (ST2, 四白) 

Distal acupuncture refers to placing needles away from an area of pain or discomfort. A few of the points that can be worked on are: 

  • Kun lun (BL60, 昆仑) 
  • Da gu kong (EX-UE14, 大骨空)  
  • Xiao gu kong (EX-UE15, 小骨空) 
  • Guang ming (GB37, 光明) 
  • Tai xi (KI3, 太谿) 
  • He gu (LI4, 合谷) 
  • Xing jian (LR2, 行间)
  • Yang lao (SI6, 养老) 
  • Zhong zhu (SJ3, 中渚) 
  • San yin jiao (SP6, 三阴交) 

It may take up to six months for your vision to stabilise after a LASIK eye surgery. Seeing glare, haloes, and other symptoms may persist throughout this period.

Use herbal formulas prescribed by, or undergo treatments performed by licensed TCM practitioners. Avoid self-medicating, as it can worsen symptoms or increase the risk of complications.

References

  1. U.S. Food & Drug Administration. What is LASIK? [online] [Accessed 29 July 2022]
  2. U.S. Food & Drug Administration. What should I expect before, during, and after surgery? [online] [Accessed 29 July 2022
  3. Kraff Eye Institute. 2021. What To Do Before LASIK? 11 Tips for Your First Eye Surgery. [online] [Accessed 29 July 2022] 
  4. Lucy Clarke Acupuncture. What is Distal Acupuncture? [online] [Accessed 29 July 2022

Share this article on

Was This Article Useful to You?

Related Articles

Woman holding an inhaler with her right hand
Health & Balance

What is Asthma? 15 Answers to Help You Breathe Easier

What is asthma, and how can you manage it? This article answers some of the top questions related to this chronic lung disease and how to get it under control.

Read More
Woman closing her eyes tightly while leaning a few fingers on her left eyelid
Health & Balance

5 Remedies for Dry Eyes to Try

Dry eyes are a major source of irritation. It’s common in the elderly, but may arise from numerous, distinct reasons.

Read More

The contents of the All Things Health website are for informational and educational purposes only.
Our website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.