LASIK Procedure Overview − Denver & Fort Collins
It is important to arrive one hour prior to your LASIK appointment time and be as well rested as possible. The entire LASIK process, including recovery, will take approximately two hours or less. The actual procedure can take less than five minutes!
Overview of Procedure
Prior to your LASIK procedure, it is very natural to feel a mixture of eager anticipation and nervousness. Most LASIK patients describe similar experiences, so be reassured this is both common and absolutely normal. You will be given a mild sedation, such as Valium, Xanax or Ativan, to help you relax during your procedure (and to nap at home afterwards).
LASIK eye surgery is an out patient procedure, which means that you walk into our surgery facility, have your procedure and then walk out again.
- First, you will be lying on a comfortable bed underneath the laser. Your eyelid area will be cleaned with a disinfectant; then your eyes will be numbed with special eye drops – no general anesthetic is required.
- Dr. Cutarelli will position your head under the laser. A device called a lid speculum will be placed over one eye, to gently and comfortably hold your eyelids open – a soothing balanced salt solution is used to keep your eye moist and comfortable.
- Your eyelashes will be draped and kept out of the surgical field. A lightweight suction-ring will be placed on your eye to create a very gentle pressure (for creating the flap); the lights may appear to go out for a brief period.
- Dr. Cutarelli maintains view of your eye through a surgical microscope to ensure ultimate precision and guidance. He always has complete control over the laser, being able to instantly pause or stop it at any time.
- Dr. Cutarelli will create a corneal flap between 8.5 to 9.5 mm in diameter and 90 to 120 microns thick. The flap is intentionally not cut completely of possible so that it has a remaining hinge, which connects to the rest of the cornea . He will gently lift up this flap, like the cover of a book, to expose the tissue just below the flap’s surface, called the corneal stroma.
- The excimer laser will follow the tiny motions of your eye instantaneously, in three dimensions, and automatically repositions the laser to ensure accuracy. You simply need to focus on a special fixation light for a minute or less.
- Through a series of pulses, the excimer laser reshapes the cornea to the desired shape.
- Dr. Cutarelli then replaces the flap over the cornea. No stitches are required to keep the protective corneal flap in place. Typically overnight, the cornea will re-adhere.
- Dr. Cutarelli will remove the drapes and eyelid holder, and apply antibiotic, anti-inflammatory eye drops.
- Next, you will get up the chair and rest for a few minutes. Clear protective eye shields will be positioned over both eyes to protect them from injury. There may be some temporary discomfort after treatment, similar to having an eyelash or sand in your eye, this typically last less than 4-hours. Dr. Cutarelli can prescribe pain medication if necessary, although it is only very rarely used.
What to Expect After LASIK
After LASIK, your vision will most likely be somewhat fuzzy at first, like looking though plastic. This is completely normal. You’ll go home to rest and relax for approximately four hours to facilitate the healing process of the flap. After this period, many patients can watch television without glasses! Still expect some fuzziness or cloudiness throughout the night. Someone must be present to drive you should you need to go somewhere.