Nervous about LASIK? How to Calm Your Nerves Before Surgery
LASIK surgery is a life-altering procedure for many people. Going from needing to put on glasses to see something a foot away to perfect 20/20 vision with just a single procedure that takes less than half an hour to perform can seem like nothing short of a miracle. Imagine being able to wear non-prescription sunglasses, not having to worry about your glasses while swimming, riding a rollercoaster, or playing sports, and not having to remember to bring spare contacts and solution every time you leave the house for more than a day.
However, many people are struck with anxiety when thinking about having surgery on their eyes, even surgery as widespread and safe as LASIK. For those of you who get nervous even during a regular eye exam, or who can’t wear contacts because of fear of touching your eye, LASIK surgery may seem like an out of reach dream. There are ways to combat your fears and reap the benefits of LASIK surgery, though!
Request Time Off Work
Although LASIK surgery takes only around fifteen minutes to perform and healing begins immediately, it may be a good idea to take a few days off work in order to have time to rest and relax following the procedure. LASIK surgeon Dr. Stephen Wilmarth recommends taking the following steps immediately after surgery:
· Relax, even take a nap if possible
· Do not read, use the computer, watch TV, or do any other vision-intensive activities
· Do not drive or operate any machinery
· Follow all of your eye doctor’s post-care instructions
Scheduling time off work beforehand will ensure that you don’t need to stress out about calling in the next day, and you can relax without thinking about anything work-related. Plus, avoiding the computer for a day or two will help speed your recovery and ensure the best results.
Take a Chill Pill (Literally)
So many people are terrified of being awake during eye surgery, but then afterwards wonder what they were so afraid of. General anesthesia is not needed for LASIK, but there’s no need to worry about pain. Your eyes will be numbed before the procedure, and if you want, your doctor will give you an oral sedative as well so that you can relax.
The only potential discomfort may come while the corneal flap is being cut. During this time, your vision may black out briefly, and you may feel some pressure on your eyes. This only lasts a few seconds, though, and with the numbing and sedative it should be more than tolerable. The procedure itself lasts only around 15 minutes, then it’s over and you can look forward to improved vision.
Doing some yoga or meditation (or both) before your LASIK procedure can help to significantly calm your nerves. These exercises help to relax both the body and mind, and can assist in preventing you from dwelling too much on potential complications, how the procedure will feel, or what could go wrong. Remember that your surgeon is an expert who has probably performed thousands of LASIK surgeries with great success.
Read Some Testimonials and Your Doctor’s Bio
Testimonials from patients who have had LASIK surgery can be a great motivation and reassurance. Millions of patients have had LASIK done, and are now enjoying perfect vision and laughing at people who need to put their glasses on every morning to see what time it is. Many of these people were scared of LASIK surgery before buckling down and deciding to do it, and they want to share their experience in order to help people who are on the fence.
Your doctor’s biography is another source to turn to if you’re feeling nervous about LASIK. This bio should have information in it regarding:
· How many years of experience they have
· Their board certification
· Which medical societies they belong to
· Research and humanitarian efforts they have performed
· Their hobbies (this is not important when it comes to performing LASIK, but could be useful for small talk during your eye appointments)
LASIK is one of the safest possible eye surgeries you can have, and your eye doctor is probably so familiar with the procedure he could do it in his sleep (not literally).
Prepare Yourself for What to Expect (But Not Too Much)
Doing some research on what exactly you can expect during a LASIK procedure can help, since you’ll know what you’re getting into and won’t have the added stress of walking into the unknown. However, there’s a limit to how much research is healthy. Don’t go seeking out worst-case scenarios, and don’t psych yourself out by getting into second-by-second nitty-gritty details. It’s probably time to quit after about the fifth YouTube video.
· YES: Educate yourself about the basics.
· NO: Do so much research you could earn an honorary medical degree.
· YES: Watch informative, educational videos.
· NO: Watch “Final Destination 5.”
Don’t Worry About Moving Your Eyes
Some people worry that they won’t be able to keep their eyes still and it’ll mess up the procedure. This should not be a problem. The LASIK system is very sophisticated, and if your eye is moving too much it will automatically stop. On top of that, most people don’t really have trouble keeping their eyes focused forward for around 60 seconds, which is generally the max amount of time you need to keep your eye still. There will be a light to focus on during the procedure to make it easier, and your eyelids will be held open so you don’t need to worry about blinking either.
All in all, most people are willing to trade 15 minutes of slight discomfort for a lifetime of great vision. If you can get over your fears and take the plunge, it’s very likely that you’ll find the end results to be absolutely worth it. Visit your eye doctor to see if you’re a candidate, steel yourself, and just do it!