LASIK is one of the safest and most effective surgical procedures in the world. Patients who experience blurry vision as a result of nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism can undergo traditional LASIK, custom LASIK (which involves the use of wavefront mapping to correct higher order aberrations), or bladeless LASIK (which involves the use of a femtosecond laser instead of a blade microkeratome to create the corneal flap) to achieve clear vision. However, no matter which type of LASIK patients undergo, many report some degree of discomfort after surgery. In this blog post, our Oklahoma City LASIK surgeons explain what patients can do to reduce pain after LASIK surgery.
Take a Nap Immediately after Surgery
During surgery, numbing eye drops are applied to the eyes. These drops prevent any discomfort during the actual procedure. Instead, patients feel pressure on the eye as the corneal flap is created and the corneal tissue is reshaped. However, once the numbing eye drops wear off, which typically occurs about an hour after surgery, patients may begin to experience discomfort. The pain is often at its worst for a few hours after the numbing medication loses its effect. During this period of time, we recommend that patients take a nap. By keeping the eyes closed, the eyelid is prevented from rubbing up against the healing corneal flap. In addition, the eyes are less likely to dry out if the eyes are closed.
Although patients may feel that they won’t be able to take a nap, especially if the surgery is performed in the morning, the calming medication that is dispensed prior to surgery can cause patients to feel drowsy after surgery. By taking advantage of this fatigue, patients can sleep through the period that is associated with the highest degree of discomfort.
Take Pain Medication
Patients should be prepared to take pain medication before any discomfort sets in. Many patients take their first dose of medication immediately before or after the surgery is performed. This way, the pain medication has taken effect before the numbing eye drops wear off.
Patients should be sure to take the second dose of pain medication on schedule, rather than waiting for any pain to become noticeable. Since discomfort is usually at its worst the day of surgery, pain medication should be taken according to the label’s instructions for the first day after surgery.
For most patients, discomfort is greatly reduced by the morning after surgery, and pain medication is no longer needed.
Use Lubricating Eye Drops
Although the majority of the discomfort is gone by the morning after surgery, some patients do report a dry or gritty feeling of the eyes. Using lubricating eye drops can relieve this type of discomfort. Be sure to check the eye drop’s label to avoid overuse.
Do Not Touch the Eyes
Though it can be tempting, do not touch, rub, or itch the eyes during the healing period. Doing so can increase the risk of infection or even dislodge the healing corneal flap, both of which can result in prolonged discomfort.
To schedule your personal LASIK consultation, contact Advanced Laser and Cataract Center today.