November 1, 2001 at 3:05 AM CST - Updated July 12 at 3:05 AM
If you decide to have LASIK surgery, you will need an initial or baseline evaluation by your eye doctor to determine if you are a good candidate. This is what you need to know to prepare for the exam and what you should expect:
If you wear contact lenses, it is a good idea to stop wearing them before your baseline evaluation and switch to wearing your glasses full-time. Contact lenses change the shape of your cornea for up to several weeks after you have stopped using them depending on the type of contact lenses you wear. Not leaving your contact lenses out long enough for your cornea to assume its natural shape before surgery can have negative consequences. These consequences include inaccurate measurements and a poor surgical plan, resulting in poor vision after surgery. These measurements, which determine how much corneal tissue to remove, may need to be repeated at least a week after your initial evaluation and before surgery to make sure they have not changed, especially if you wear RGP or hard lenses. If you wear:
soft contact lenses, you should stop wearing them for two weeks before your initial evaluation.
toric soft lenses or rigid gas permeable (RGP) lenses, you should stop wearing them for at least three weeks before your initial evaluation.
hard lenses, you should stop wearing them for at least four weeks before your initial evaluation.
You should tell your doctor:
about your past and present medical and eye conditions.
about all the medications you are taking, including over-the-counter medications and any medications you may be allergic to.
Your doctor should perform a thorough eye exam and discuss:
whether you are a good candidate.
the risks, benefits, and alternatives of the surgery.
what you should expect before, during, and after surgery.
what your responsibilities will be before, during, and after surgery.
You should have the opportunity to ask your doctor questions during this discussion. Give yourself plenty of time to think about the risk/benefit discussion, to review any informational literature provided by your doctor, and to have any additional questions answered by your doctor before deciding to go through with surgery and before signing the informed consent form.
You should not feel pressured by your doctor, family, friends, or anyone else to make a decision about having surgery. Carefully consider the pros and cons.
The day before surgery, you should stop using:
These products as well as debris along the eyelashes may increase the risk of infection during and after surgery. Your doctor may ask you to scrub your eyelashes for a period of time before surgery to get rid of residues and debris along the lashes.
Also before surgery, arrange for transportation to and from your surgery and your first follow-up visit. On the day of surgery, your doctor may give you some medicine to help you relax. Because this medicine impairs your ability to drive and because your vision may be blurry after the LASIK surgery, you should make arrangements for someone to bring you home after surgery.