How to Prepare for Eye Surgery

Eye surgery sounds like one of the scariest things in the world, outside of taxes and standing on Legos. What you might not believe, is how advanced medical technology and procedures are. Every year we get better and better and able to cure more and more ailments but if you have to go in for some sort of eye surgery what are the things you can do to get ready?

In this blog, we're going to look at some different types of eye surgery, what they entail, and things you can do.

Laser eye surgery

Laser eye surgery is done to improve your eyesight. It is known as refractive surgery or vision correction. There are two types of laser and lens.

Both of these can make you less reliant on glasses or contact lenses.  A lot of people do feel quite uncomfortable about the idea of a laser aimed at their eyes. It’s akin to how some feel squeamish when having to touch their eyes or anything near their eye. This is understandable, however, both are safe and effective.

What would suit your needs better really depends on a range of things. Including such things as eyesight, age, health and budget. A surgeon will examine your eyes and decide on the best options for you. When weighing up the risks and benefits of refractive surgery bear in mind that wearing contact lenses also carries some risks for your eye health.

Laser eye surgery is the process of using lasers to reshape the front surface of your eyes. The cornea of your eyes. This is done so you can focus better. Some of the things that it can correct our short-sightedness and long-sightedness.  You would have to be at least eighteen years of age.

Laser eye surgery, or laser vision correction, involves using lasers to reshape the front surface (cornea) of your eyes so that you can focus better. It can correct short-sightedness, long-sightedness and astigmatism. There are 3 main types of laser eye surgery: LASIK, SMILE and surface laser treatments.

  • LASIK – this is done with 2 lasers, one to open up a thin flap in the surface of the cornea, and another to reshape the cornea underneath. The protective flap is then smoothed back over and stays in place without stitches.
  • SMILE – the surgeon reshapes your cornea through a small, self-sealing hole.
  • Surface laser treatments (PRK, LASEK and TransPRK) – the clear skin covering the cornea is removed so the surgeon can reshape your cornea with a laser. The skin then grows back naturally.

Cataract surgery

Cataract surgery involves replacing the cloudy lens from inside your eye with an artificial one. It does have a high success rate and can improve your eyesight. It can take 2 to 6 weeks to fully recover from cataract surgery.  

A cataract is when the lens of your eye a small transparent disc develops cloudy patches. When you are younger our lenses are usually like clear glass allowing us to see through them. As we get older the lenses become frosted like bathroom glasses, this will begin to limit your visions.

If you have cataracts it's always your decision whether or not to go ahead and have surgery. The issue with cataracts is that they will get worse over time and the only way to improve this situation is to have the surgery. The decision to have surgery should not be based solely on your eye test (visual acuity) results. You can choose to put off having surgery for a while and have regular check-ups to monitor the situation. There are no medicines or eye drops that have been proven to improve cataracts or stop them from getting worse. Cataract surgery is a straightforward procedure that usually takes 30 to 45 minutes.

The operation is so often carried out as day surgery under local anaesthetic, and you should be able to go home on the same day. During the operation, the surgeon will make a tiny cut in your eye to remove the cloudy lens and replace it with a clear plastic one.

Most people will need to wear glasses for some tasks, like reading, after surgery regardless of the type of lens they have fitted. If you have cataracts in both eyes, you'll need 2 separate operations, usually carried out 6 to 12 weeks apart. This will give the first eye to be treated time to heal and your vision time to return. If you have another condition affecting your eyes, such as diabetes or glaucoma, you may still have limited vision, even after successful surgery.

Preparation for surgery

Those are some of the most common eye surgeries that you are likely to come across in your life. Now that we have looked into those, the question is what can we do is prepare for these operations?  

You may be instructed not to eat or drink anything 12 hours before surgery. Your doctor may also advise you to temporarily stop taking any medication that could increase your risk of bleeding during the procedure.

Another possibility is that you may be asked to stop using any facial products and cosmetics, as well as perfumes, as these could increase the risk of an infection occurring.

You should also arrange for someone to pick you up and drive you home after your surgery since, as your eyesight will be blurred, you will not be able to drive yourself. You will need to make arrangements for a friend or family member to provide transportation.

Surgeries such as laser eye will require you to stop wearing your lenses for at least a week prior and for soft contacts could be up to one month before.  This is because wearing lenses can alter the shape of your cornea and impact the results of the operation. It’s important to give your eyes a rest and switch to glasses for a time before the big day!

Also, do your best to avoid any clothes that may produce lint. This means no faux fur or wearing any kind of clothing that may be shed. This is key because it helps keep contaminants out of the operating suite. 

So there you have it, an understanding of the simple things that you will be asked to do or things to consider before receiving eye surgery. If you want to find more information about your specific operation you can also find it on the NHS website.