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How can I best prepare for my LASIK surgery?

By Joel Hunter, MD | 11/22/17 7:00 AM
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Almost a decade ago, I did my mom’s LASIK. It was one of those singular, milestone experiences that we rarely come by, but remember forever. I remember thinking that way about it at the time as well. I imagine she was thinking something similar. Or at least part of her was thinking that, because the other thing she was thinking was that she was about to faint. I don’t mean the “well, knock me over with a feather” kind of fainting. I mean the, “I feel very dizzy and I think I might pass out” kind of fainting. That’s the gist of what she said midway through the process. We actually stopped and I had her do a couple leg lifts to get her circulation back online, and then everything was fine. But it was a little nerve-wracking for a moment there. I mean, it’s my mom.

It turns out, because it’s my mom—a woman who follows every rule so closely that I’ve literally never seen her go over the speed limit—she hadn’t eaten breakfast that morning. By noon or so, when her procedure was happening, it had left her pretty light-headed. You may think, “I didn’t even know you weren’t allowed to eat before LASIK!” That’s because you definitely are allowed to eat whatever you want at any time before LASIK. But my mom had only ever been around normal surgery, where the rule is that you don’t eat after the midnight before surgery. It was a rule she remembered, and so she figured she’d do the same thing for LASIK. She is a world champion rule obeyer. Undefeated.

The reason I tell this story is because LASIK is so delightfully simple (outside of the highly sophisticated laser technology part of it) that there isn’t much to explain in an article on how to prepare for it. Contact lenses should be out for three days, or sometimes a little longer in rare cases. And, well, let’s see... I feel like I should be able to come up with at least one other way to prepare. You should have a driver the day of the procedure. That seems like it counts as a preparation. Beyond that, I’m out of preparation tips. You just need to get your eyes to the clinic, and we kind of take it from there.

There is a tremendous amount of detail and complexity that goes into getting excellent results from LASIK. All those details on our end of things work together to help make it very simple on your side of things. There aren’t medications to take beforehand and there aren’t surgery preps to do for your eyes the morning of. If you’re determined to do something to prepare beyond eating a normal breakfast and bringing a driver, you could practice your leg lifts. That way if you feel faint because you forgot breakfast because you were practicing leg lifts, you’ll be ready.

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