We continue our series of articles discussing common questions about laser eye surgery.
Here we explain what happens at the pre-surgical consultation. This is necessary to confirm if you are suitable for laser eye surgery and which procedure is most appropriate for you. Remember to let your doctor know of any eye-related health issues, together with more general health concerns or problems. Also specify what medications, if any, you take on a regular basis, as well as medications you may be allergic to.
At your pre-surgical assessment, you will undergo a comprehensive eye examination so that your doctor can evaluate your vision and establish whether you are suitable for laser eye surgery. This includes several easy and painless tests such as vision and prescription testing, an eye pressure test and a dilated eye exam. Your doctor can then assess the health of your eyes and confirm your degree of refractive error – you will know this as your glasses prescription. He/she will also evaluate the shape, contour and thickness of your cornea, as well as any irregularities. This information will be used to determine the laser eye surgery procedure most appropriate for your situation and the precise amount of corneal tissue that needs to be removed to bring your vision back to normal (or as close as possible).
LASIK is the most common type of laser eye surgery, and is suitable for patients with regular-shaped corneas and adequate corneal thickness. It can be used to treat short-sightedness, long-sightedness and astigmatism.
SMILE is an alternative procedure for patients with regular-shaped corneas. It is particularly suited to patients with a high degree of short-sightedness (myopia), and is also suitable for patients with astigmatism.
ASLA (also known as PRK) may be the recommended treatment if your corneas are irregular or too thin.
The risks and benefits of laser eye surgery, as well as details of the specific procedure you will undergo, will be discussed at this consultation. This is also an opportunity for you to ask your doctor any questions about the surgery, and clarify your expectations.
All medical and surgical procedures have potential complications – check with your ophthalmologist before proceeding.