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Heather Hanks
Written by Heather Hanks

Reviewed by Physician Brandon Yew and Dr Jessica Gunawan on November 2, 2022

Tips To Help You Prepare And Recover From LASIK Eye Surgery

When you're finally ready to undergo LASIK eye surgery, read this guide to learn what you need to know before, during, and after the procedure.

Eye sight min scaled

LASIK eye surgery is one of the most popular elective procedures in the United States. Since it was first approved by the FDA in 1999, approximately 10 million Americans have had it. The satisfaction rates are remarkably high.

During the procedure, your eye doctor will use a laser to change the shape of your cornea. This helps improve the way your retina focuses on light rays. It’s often used to treat nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.

Despite its popularity and success rate, there are things you should know before, during, and after LASIK eye surgery to help you make the most of it. In this guide, we’ll explain the important steps you should take to best support your vision.

What To Do Before LASIK Eye Surgery

Take out your contacts approximately three days 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 cause dry eyes. Drinking enough water will lubricate the organs and promote healing.

What To Expect During LASIK Eye Surgery

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 vaporize tissues.

Once the corneal tissue vaporizes, 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.

How To Recover From LASIK Eye Surgery

Your doctor may prescribe eye drops to help you recover.

Immediately after the procedure, your eye will likely hurt, itch, burn, or feel as if there’s a tiny object wedged in it. You’ll also have blurry vision, experience a sensitivity toward light, and see a glare, starbursts, or haloes around lights. 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. 

Rest and relax

Wait a minimum of three days before beginning any type of non-contact sports. Contact sports like football, basketball, karate, or soccer 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.

Use TCM to regulate your 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 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, Tong Qiao Huo Xue Tang, and Xiong Zhi Shi Gao Tang 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.”

Senior TCM Physician Brandon Yew.

You can also protect your eyes and support recovery by taking a ready-made vision supplement containing Chinese herbs and antioxidants, such as carotene, wolfberry polysaccharides, lutein, and zeaxanthin.

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

  • Jing ming (BL1) 
  • Tai Yang (EX-HN5) 
  • Yi Ming (EX-HN14) 
  • Yang Bai (GB14) 
  • Feng Chi (GB20) 
  • Cheng Qi (ST1) 
  • Si Bai (ST2) 

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) 
  • Da Gu Kong (EX-UE14)  
  • Xiao Gu Kong (EX-UE15) 
  • Guang Ming (GB37) 
  • Tai Xi (KI3) 
  • He Gu (LI4) 
  • Xing Jian (LR2)
  • Yang Lao (SI6) 
  • Zhong Zhu (SJ3) 
  • San Yin Jiao (SP6) 

Recovery From LASIK Eye Surgery Takes Time

It may take up to six months for your vision to stabilize 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. WebMD. 2018. LASIK: Know the Rewards and the Risks
  2. American Academy of Ophthalmology. 2022. LASIK — Laser Eye Surgery.  
  3. U.S. Food & Drug Administration. What is LASIK? 
  4. U.S. Food & Drug Administration. What should I expect before, during, and after surgery?
  5. Kraff Eye Institute. 2021. What To Do Before LASIK? 11 Tips for Your First Eye Surgery.
  6. Lucy Clarke Acupuncture. What is Distal Acupuncture?

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