+What is LASIK?

LASIK stands for laser in-situ keratomileusis, a procedure that involves the use of a laser to reshape the cornea of the eye so that refractive capability is improved. This allows the correction of varying degrees of myopia (short-sightedness), hyperopia (far-sightedness) and astigmatism (“san guang”).

+How do I know if I qualify to undergo LASIK surgery?

You would have to be at least 18 years of age to ensure you have achieved a stable refraction status. You should not have any significant illnesses nor be on any medication that could adversely affect the surgery. You would have to be generally healthy with a refractive condition that is not overly severe or outside the accepted treatment limits of LASIK surgery. Importantly, you should have realistic expectations with a good understanding of the risks and benefits of LASIK surgery. Pregnancy is a definite disqualifier. Eligibility is best determined through a pre-LASIK evaluation with your doctor.

+Who will perform the LASIK surgery?

The doctor whom you selected as your LASIK surgeon will perform the LASIK surgery. Your LASIK surgeon will be a qualified practitioner, certified and registered with the relevant medical and professional bodies. Despite the surgery being performed with the aid of computer-guided lasers, your doctor will be in complete control of the entire surgery.

+What is the pre-LASIK evaluation like?

The pre-LASIK evaluation involves a thorough eye examination, information exchange and decision-making. The doctor will perform a complete eye examination along with computerised assessments of your eye’s corneal surface. Taking into account your work and lifestyle needs, the doctor will discuss with you relevant options for refractive correction. Recommendations arising from the discussion will be based on your understanding and acceptance of the risks and benefits of LASIK surgery.

+What do I need to do to prepare for LASIK surgery?

If you wear soft or hard contact lenses, you need to stop wearing them 3 and 14 days respectively prior to undergoing LASIK surgery. Your transportation should be arranged to and from the clinic on the day of surgery as you are not to drive. You must follow medication instructions strictly as prescribed by your doctor as they prevent infection and improve healing. You need to set aside a sufficient period of rest following surgery to allow for healing. This also involves scheduling and attending regular post-op reviews with your doctor after the surgery.

+Why do I need to lay off my contact lenses before the pre-LASIK evaluation and the surgery?

Contact lenses change the shape of your cornea. Removal of contact lenses will allow the cornea to return back to its original shape so that accurate eye readings can be taken.

+How long does LASIK surgery take?

The actual surgery for each eye takes between 5 and 10 minutes to complete.

+Are there any precautions I need to note prior to LASIK surgery?

Should you sustain any injury to the eye prior to surgery, inform your doctor before the surgery is performed. Any infection whether to the eye or the body as a whole should also be communicated to your doctor prior to the surgery.

+Is LASIK surgery painful?

No, the use of anaesthetic eye drops prevents pain in the eyes although minor discomfort may be felt through the surgery. Post-surgery, an itching sensation may develop but is usually not painful.

+What are the risks involved in undergoing LASIK surgery?

The risk of complications is inherent in any surgery and LASIK surgery is no exception. Complications can include infection, dry eyes and night vision problem. These will be discussed in greater detail by your doctor when you go through the pre-LASIK evaluation.

+What are the side effects of LASIK surgery?

Your vision will be blur and unstable for some days after surgery. Night vision problems may occur with the experience of haloes, starbursts and glare following surgery. LASIK surgery may also cause dryness to the eye. Most of these effects will be experienced temporarily and go away within months. In rare instances, some may persist but remain largely treatable.

+Will I be awake during LASIK surgery?

Yes, you will need to be awake and focus on the centre of a red blinking light for the surgery to take place.

+Can I blink during LASIK surgery?

Yes. However, there will be a special instrument to hold your eyelids to prevent your eyes from closing even when you blink during the surgery.

+How fast can I recover my vision?

In general, most patients can see right after their surgery and recover about 75% to 80% of their vision the very next day.

+Will I feel any discomfort after the surgery?

Yes, it is common to experience tearing and some discomfort for the first 4 to 5 hours. Sleeping pills will be prescribed to help you sleep away any discomfort you may experience after the surgery.

+Will my eyes be red after LASIK surgery?

Some patients may get red patches on the whites of the eyes. These are painless and will subside in about 2 to 4 weeks’ time. They are the equivalent of little bruises which spontaneously resolve.

+What are some things to note after LASIK surgery?

You are required to wear a protective shield while you are asleep to protect the eye for at least 3 days after surgery. Swimming and eye makeup are to be avoided for the first month and first week respectively.

+How long will I take to recover?

In generally, most patients can return to work a day after the surgery depending on vision recovery and nature of work. Your vision should stabilise 2 months after the surgery. Regular post-op reviews with your doctor are nevertheless required to ascertain stability of vision.

+Will my eyes look the same after LASIK surgery?

Yes, they will look the same before and after LASIK surgery.

+What type of results can I expect after LASIK surgery?

Realistic expectations need to be developed on consultation with your doctor. In mild refractive conditions, LASIK surgery is usually capable of granting full correction of vision and freedom from artificial vision aids. In severe refractive conditions however, correction may not be complete and artificial vision aids may still be required.

+Are the effects of LASIK surgery permanent?

Corneal tissue is permanently removed with reshaping of the eye and these physical effects are permanent. Vision however, may still change with age due to effects on the lens, ciliary muscles and retina among others.

+If my vision is under or over-corrected after my first LASIK surgery

An enhancement surgery can be performed after the first LASIK surgery provided eligibility criteria is fulfilled including stability of vision and sufficient residual corneal thickness. A thorough discussion should be conducted with your doctor to determine the best option.

+ can I undergo the surgery again?

There will be 3 post-op reviews: next day after surgery, 2 weeks after surgery, 3 months after surgery.

+How many post-op reviews will be there after LASIK surgery?

In general, you can travel by plane 3 to 5 days after surgery.

+When can I travel after LASIK surgery?

You can go visit the gym 2 or 3 days after the surgery. However, please avoid water and contacts sports for 1 month.

+When can I resume exercising?

The corneal flap takes 1 month to heal completely.

+How long does it take for the corneal flap to heal?

If your condition is a refractive one, other options may be available to you. These include Epi-LASIK or Implantable Contact Lens (ICL). Consult your doctor to assess these and other options to treat your condition.

+If I do not qualify for LASIK surgery

LASIK surgery is considered an elective procedure and not an essential one. Hence, generally, government-based medical insurance will not cover the surgery. Your personal insurance provider will be able to advise you on whether LASIK surgery can be covered by your personal medical insurance.