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Refractive eye surgery - what to ask your doctor

  • Definition
    • Refractive eye surgery helps improve nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. Below are some questions you may want to ask your health care provider.

  • Alternative Names
    • What to ask your doctor about refractive eye surgery; Nearsightedness surgery - what to ask your doctor; LASIK - what to ask your doctor; Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis - what to ask your doctor; Laser vision correction - what to ask your doctor; PRK - what to ask your doctor

  • Questions
    • Will this surgery help my type of vision problem?

      • Will I still need glasses or contact lenses after the surgery?
      • Will it help with seeing things that are far away? With reading and seeing things close up?
      • Can I have surgery on both eyes at the same time?
      • How long will the results last?
      • What are the risks of having the surgery?
      • Will the surgery be done with the latest technology?

      How do I prepare for this surgery?

      • Do I need a physical exam by my regular doctor?
      • Can I wear my contact lenses before the surgery?
      • Can I use makeup?
      • What if I am pregnant or nursing?
      • Do I need to stop taking my medicines beforehand?

      What happens during the surgery?

      • Will I be asleep or awake?
      • Will I feel any pain?
      • How long will the surgery last?
      • When will I be able to go home?
      • Will I need someone to drive for me?

      How do I take care of my eyes after surgery?

      • What type of eye drops will I use?
      • How long will I need to take them?
      • Can I touch my eyes?
      • When can I take a shower or bath? When can I swim?
      • When will I be able to drive? Work? Exercise?
      • Are there any activities or sports that I will not be able to do after my eyes are healed?
      • Will the surgery cause cataracts?

      What will it be like right after surgery?

      • Will I be able to see?
      • Will I have any pain?
      • Are there any side effects I should expect to have?
      • How soon will it be before my eyesight gets to its best level?
      • If my vision is still blurry, will more surgery help?

      Do I need any follow-up appointments?

      For what problems or symptoms should I call the provider?

  • References
    • American Academy of Ophthalmology. Questions to ask when considering LASIK. San Francisco, CA. American Academy of Ophthalmology. December 12, 2015. www.geteyesmart.org/eyesmart/glasses-contacts-lasik/lasik-questions-to-ask.cfm. Accessed August 20, 2016.

      Hou JH, Young JA, Kornmehl WE, de la Cruz J. Preoperative evaluation for refractive surgery. In: Yanoff M, Duker JS, eds. Ophthalmology. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 3.2.

      Taneri S, Mimura T, Azar DT. Current concepts, classification, and history of refractive surgery. In: Yanoff M, Duker JS, eds. Ophthalmology. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 3.1.