Life Without Glasses
Dr. Robert Maloney believes that a well-informed patient is key to successful vision correction surgery. He wants to be sure that you fully understand what you can expect from your procedure you choose.
He wants to help you care for and preserve your eyesight in the best way possible. Here, you can find the information that you need to help you make informed choices about health care for your eyes.
Undergoing the Refractive Lens Exchange Procedure
Your eye surgeon will give you specific instructions to follow before and after your procedure and will tell you what to expect during the procedure. The routine can vary from clinic to clinic and from doctor to doctor. If what you read in the following paragraphs differs from your doctor’s instructions, follow your doctor’s instructions instead.
Before the Procedure
If you have any health problems, your internist or primarycare physician should do a comprehensive health evaluation within a few weeks of your eye surgery. The purpose is to verify that you are healthy enough to receive intravenous sedation during the procedure. The intravenous sedation is necessary to ensure that you are very relaxed.
There are several details that you need to attend in preparation for your surgery. Do take your medications list to the surgery center—the surgeon needs to be aware of any drugs you’re currently taking. If you wear contact lenses, remove the lens from the eye to be treated twenty-four hours before surgery and leave it out. Arrange for someone to drive you home after surgery. This is important because you will not be able to drive right after surgery: you’ll be a little groggy from the sedative and your pupil will be dilated.
Don’t have anything to eat or drink for the six hours preceding your surgery. If you do eat or drink anything during this time, even a cup of tea, your surgery will be canceled. You can, however, take your usual medications with a sip of water.
Don’t wear makeup or fragrances, including scented lotions or hair products. Don’t wear jewelry or other valuables. Do wear comfortable street clothes. These are the clothes you’ll be wearing during surgery, so make sure they’re loose, not binding.
Don’t be late for your appointment. This will make you nervous and could result in the delay or cancellation of your procedure. Plan to be at the surgical center for about two and a half hours.
How the Procedure Is Performed
About forty-five minutes before the surgery, a nurse will put drops in your eye to dilate your pupil. In the operating room, your eyelid, eyelashes, and face will be cleaned with an antibacterial iodine solution. This minimizes any possibility of infection. The iodine cleansing is one of several ways of ensuring that the procedure is completely sterile.
The anesthesiologist will give you a strong sedative through an IV line. The sedative won’t put you completely to sleep, but you will be sleepy and relaxed during surgery.
You’ll lie on your back, covered with a special sterile sheet that has an opening over the eye. The rest of your face will be covered to keep bacteria from your nose and mouth away from your eye. While your face is covered, a tube releases a flow of oxygen toward your face so you can breathe comfortably. The anesthesiologist will be sitting by your side the entire time, monitoring your vital signs throughout the procedure and giving you more sedation if you feel anxious.
The actual refractive lens exchange procedure takes about ten minutes per eye and is painless. The surgeon numbs your eye, then makes a tiny incision at the edge of the cornea. No needles are used. The surgeon inserts a thin vibrating probe through the incision to break up your natural lens and vacuum out the fragments. He or she will leave in place the membrane that surrounds the natural lens. This membrane is called the capsular bag. The capsular bag supports the new intraocular lens implant. The IOL is inserted and positioned. The incision is self-sealing because it is so small; no sutures are needed. You will return to the recovery room, where a nurse will check your blood pressure again, give you something to eat or drink, and monitor you for a half hour. Then you can go home.Recovering from the Refractive Lens Exchange Procedure »
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