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10 Questions to Ask your Eye Doctor before Deciding on LASIK

July 28, 2012

Interested in getting LASIK done? But not sure where to go? What questions should you ask the doctor?

Here are some answers I provided AsiaOne in an interview in 2011:

1. Will you be the doctor managing my pre- and/or post-operative care?

The answer should be yes. Ideally, the same doctor should walk you through the whole procedure from start to finish to ensure that each detail of your eye condition is well tracked.

2. Do all the post-operative visits include a consultation with the doctor?

The answer should be yes. Side effects after LASIK are very, very low, but it is always good for a doctor to examine your eye and be there to formulate your post-operative treatment plan. One example would be to treat dry eyes, which is a common post-op concern.

3. What should I expect my vision to be like for the first few weeks after surgery?

Your doctor should provide you with an explanation on minor fluctuations, regression, minor halos, minor ‘starbursting’, etc. These side-effects may occur, but will resolve over time, with some side effects lasting only a few weeks and others lasting about 3 to 4 months.

4. Will the surgeon perform an examination before and after surgery?

The answer should be yes. The pre-LASIK assessment must include an examination and consultation by the eye doctor. The doctor will then review the data of all the tests done, and can discuss with you all the pros and cons of surgery.

5. How long, if at all, will my vision fluctuate after surgery?

While most people get almost instant improvement; healing and fluctuations in vision may take up to six months. Small fluctuations are very normal for the first 3 months.

6. How often and when will you perform post-operative examinations?

Most doctors will check on your eyes one day after surgery, one week later and one month later. Thereafter, it depends on the patient’s condition.

7. How many patients do you do surgery on in one day?

This is quite variable among different surgeons. It is generally felt that by keeping the maximum to 10 patients per day by each surgeon will allow for a better quality of care.

8. How well can I see after LASIK?

The accuracy of LASIK is dependent on the degree of your eyeball. It is more accurate if one has lower myopia and/or lower astigmatism. Your doctor will be able to counsel you on the accuracy of vision to expect after LASIK based on one’s conditions.

9. Side effects.

a. From the diagnostic tests done on my eyes, am I at a higher risk of side effects than other people?

This is a good question to ask your doctor to find out more about your eyes. Some people are more susceptible to dry eyes, or to glare/haloes, or to fuzzy vision. Your doctor will be able to look at the data of your eyes and tell you if you are at greater risk of experiencing such side effects.

b. I have heard of this side effect called ectasia, in which the cornea becomes too weak and changes shape. Am I at risk of developing this condition?

This is a very rare condition after LASIK. Your doctor can tell from the topographic map of your cornea if you are at a greater risk of developing this condition. Patients with thinner corneas, steeper (more curved) corneas and irregular corneas are at a greater risk of developing ectasia post-LASIK.

There is a way to help strengthen the cornea with a procedure called Cross-linking. The term LASIK Xtra is used when LASIK is combined with Cross-linking. This is suitable for people with high spectacle power and thin corneas.

10. How should I take care of my eyes after LASIK?

Always follow the post-operative instructions given by your doctor. For example, adhere closely to the frequency of using your eye drops and do not rub your eyes for 1 week.

There will also be instructions on when to resume various sport activities. Keeping your eyes well lubricated with the lubricant eye drops is very important in maintaining good vision. In the long run, good eye care habits prevent your myopia from returning.
You may also be interested in my previous posts:

How soon can I return to work after LASIK?

Can I wear cosmetic contact lenses after LASIK?

How to care for your eyes after LASIK.

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