Be a “Laser Day” Hero. A Walkthrough of Your LASIK Procedure.
But what about the actual surgery? What does that day look like?
We’ve put together a detailed walkthrough that covers everything you need to know about “laser day.”
Meet Your Doctor
Dr. Wellemeyer, owner and head surgeon at Grene Laser, performs all of ourLASIK procedures. These happen on Fridays, giving you plenty of time to heal over the weekend.
With more than 10,000 refractive procedures under his belt over a 20-year career, he also owns a successful cataract practice that keeps him busy when he's not performing LASIK procedures.
Many people are surprised by how little time they have to devote to the procedure. On the day of your scheduled surgery, you’ll be in our office for about an hour, but the actual LASIK procedure only takes about 15 minutes.
Once we’ve officially checked you in, you’ll be given five milligrams (5mg) of Valium to help with any anxiety you may experience. This is standard; even the most resolute patients have a little anxiety about the pending procedure.
Next, we’ll use a pachymeter - a small handheld device that resembles an electronic baby thermometer - to measure your corneal thickness once more before the surgery. Because the pachymeter gently touches the front surface of your eye using a clear plastic probe, we place numbing drops into your eyes. Each eye receives five separate measurements from the pachymeter, issuing a beep with each one.
Once the corneal measurements are taken, Sandy Barber, our patient coordinator and doctor’s assistant, will come into the room to go over medications and post-op instructions with you and your driver. (Yes, you’ll need someone to drive you home.)
At this time, we will have completed all preparatory steps and you’ll be allowed to relax in a recliner, giving the Valium time to take full effect. Sandy will return to lead you into one of our exam rooms.
Dr. Wellemeyer will examine your eyes and address any additional questions you have before the procedure begins.
Once you’re ready, Dr. Wellemeyer will walk you across the hall, into the laser suite. You might notice the dimness of the lights. This allows the laser to track better and also helps to create a relaxing environment. (Side note: this room must be kept cool to protect the laser, so remember to bring a sweater.)
At this point, Pam, our laser technician, will enter the room to run the laser. She’ll have you lie down on a large padded table, place a pillow under your knees to make you more comfortable, and give you a second pillow to hold and hug, if needed.
For those having procedures done to both eyes, you’ll be happy to know we perform the procedure one eye at a time. This means your other eye will be covered.
Prior to starting the procedure, a drop of tetracaine and a drop of proparacaine will be put in your eyes. These drops remove the sensation of pain while allowing you to continue to feel temperature and pressure.
Depending on whether you’re having LASIK or PRK (our clinic performs both), your procedure will vary at this point, so we’ll jump ahead to the end (for now)
Once we’ve completed the procedure on your right eye, we’ll repeat the exact same process on the left. Upon completion, your vision will be somewhat fuzzy - around 20/60. This is normal.
The bed will rotate down and Pam will walk around the laser to help you sit up and stand. You’ll probably feel a little woozy from the Valium. Pam will escort you back across the hall to the exam room where Dr. Wellemeyer will look at your eyes using a slit lamp. This allows him to ensure that the flap is smooth and in the right place.
Lastly, as you wrap up, you’ll meet Sandy in the consult room. Here you will be given some final instructions for care, along with your driver. If you had LASIK, we’ll tape clear plastic shields over them before you leave for home. The shields keep you from accidently rubbing your eyes. You will wear them all day and night on Friday and then at night on Saturday and Sunday.
You may experience slight discomfort with your eyes on the way home. You can open your eyes, but it will feel better if you keep them closed. If you’re a contact lens wearer, your eyes will feel like you’re wearing dried out lenses.
When you get home, take a nap. Let us say that again. You have doctor’s orders to take a nap. This doesn’t happen often in life, so take advantage.
When you wake up, you’ll feel much better and your vision will be improved. As your eyes heal over the weekend, you’ll continue to put drops in to keep them moist. By Monday, you’ll be as good as new!