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How Long Does LASIK Take?

How Long Does LASIK Take?

If you’re considering LASIK eye surgery to improve your vision, you might be wondering how long the entire process takes. LASIK, or Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis, is a quick and effective refractive surgery, but understanding the timeline is crucial for a smooth experience. Let’s explore how long the LASIK procedure itself takes, when you can safely drive after LASIK, and how to prepare for the surgery.

So, How Long Does the LASIK Procedure Take?

LASIK is known for its speed and efficiency. The actual LASIK procedure could typically take about 10 to 15 minutes per eye. Although, it could depend on experience. Some doctors, like our very own Dr. Bruce Madsen, perform LASIK in less. 

With extensive experience, having successfully conducted over 30,000 LASIK eye surgeries, a typical LASIK procedure for me takes approximately 5 minutes per eye to complete. Moreover, during flap creation, we seamlessly eliminate the microkeratome when the time is right.” – Dr. Bruce Madsen

Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect during the LASIK process:

1. Preoperative Preparations:

Before the procedure, you’ll undergo a comprehensive eye examination to determine your suitability for LASIK. Once you’re cleared for surgery, your eye surgeon will guide you through the entire process.

2. Numbing Eye Drops:

On the day of the surgery, numbing eye drops will be applied to ensure you are comfortable throughout the procedure. You’ll be awake during the surgery, but your eyes will be numb, preventing any pain or discomfort.

3. Creation of the Flap:

The surgeon will use a microkeratome or femtosecond laser to create a thin corneal flap, which is then folded back to expose the underlying corneal tissue.

4. Laser Reshaping:

The excimer laser is used to reshape the exposed corneal tissue based on your specific vision correction needs, such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism.

5. Flap Repositioning:

The corneal flap is gently repositioned, where it adheres naturally without the need for stitches.

The entire LASIK procedure, from the creation of the flap to its repositioning, is typically completed in a matter of minutes. The speed and precision of the laser make LASIK one of the quickest medical procedures available.

How Long After LASIK Can I Drive?

One common question among LASIK patients is when they can safely resume driving after the procedure. The answer varies depending on individual healing and your surgeon’s recommendations.

In most cases:

  • The day of LASIK: You should arrange for someone to drive you home after the procedure, as your vision may be blurry immediately afterward due to the numbing drops and potential tear production changes.
  • The day after LASIK: Many patients find that their vision is significantly improved by the day after LASIK and may be able to drive to their post-operative appointment, but this should be confirmed with your surgeon.
  • Within a few days to a week: Most patients can safely return to driving within a few days to a week, but it’s crucial to follow your surgeon’s guidelines and ensure your vision has stabilized.

How to Prepare for LASIK Eye Surgery

Preparing for LASIK is essential to ensure a successful procedure and smooth recovery. Here are some steps to take:

1. Schedule a Consultation:

Start by scheduling a consultation with a qualified LASIK surgeon. During this visit, your surgeon will evaluate your eye health and determine if you are a good candidate for LASIK.

2. Follow Preoperative Instructions:

Your surgeon will provide you with preoperative instructions, which may include avoiding contact lenses, eye makeup, and specific medications in the days leading up to your surgery.

3. Arrange Transportation:

Since you won’t be able to drive yourself home after LASIK, arrange for a friend or family member to be your designated driver on the day of the procedure.

4. Plan for Recovery:

Stock up on essentials like preservative-free artificial tears and sunglasses to protect your eyes from bright light during the recovery period.

5. Ask Questions:

Don’t hesitate to ask your surgeon any questions you may have about the LASIK procedure, LASIK recovery, or what to expect during and after LASIK eye surgery.

By understanding how long LASIK takes, when you can drive after LASIK, and how to prepare for the procedure, you can approach your LASIK journey with confidence and make the most of your newfound visual freedom. Remember, LASIK is a relatively quick and effective way to achieve clear vision, and with proper preparation, the experience can be smooth and rewarding.

Read more about LASIK from NVISION.