Laser eye surgery is a revolutionary treatment that can correct some vision problems permanently. If you're tired of wearing glasses or contacts, laser eye surgery may restore your vision so that you'll no longer have to rely on corrective lenses to see clearly. If you're thinking of getting eye surgery, you likely have a lot of questions about the procedure, and getting as much information as possible can help you make the best decisions about your care and give you extra peace of mind. Here are some common questions about laser eye surgery and answers you likely want to know.

How is a laser eye procedure performed?

Laser technology is used instead of a scalpel to reshape the cornea and correct vision problems. A flap of the cornea's outer layer is created and lifted so that the surgeon can access the inner corneal layers to complete the surgery. The corneal flap is put back in place over each eye's stroma once the surgery is complete.

How do eye surgeons keep patients from feeling pain during procedures?

Before laser eye surgery is performed, specially formulated eye drops are placed into the eyes to numb any pain. These numbing eye drops prevent the ocular nerves from sending pain signals to the brain. No needles are used to inject anesthesia into the eyes. Laser eye surgery also isn't performed under general anesthesia, which means that you'll remain awake throughout your procedure.

How long does laser eye surgery take to complete?

The surgery itself is incredibly quick and can usually be completed in less than one minute. The exact time that your surgery will take will depend on the specific eye condition that's being corrected and the severity of the problem. Additional time will be needed for you to consult with your surgeon and prepare for your surgery, so you should expect to be there about 90 minutes from the time you arrive until the time you leave. 

What should be done beforehand to prepare for laser eye surgery?

The right preparations can make your surgery easier and help ensure a smoother recovery, so it's important to prepare yourself properly before you undergo your procedure. If you normally wear contacts, it's best to switch to wearing glasses a few weeks before laser eye surgery. It's also advisable to stop applying cosmetics or lotion around the eyes a few days before surgery to avoid irritation. Hairspray, fragrance, and other products that contain alcohol shouldn't be applied on the day of your surgery, and you'll also want to refrain from drinking alcohol or smoking that day. 

How long is the recovery period?

Full recovery after laser eye surgery may take a few months, but many normal activities can often be resumed 24 hours after a procedure. You may experience blurry vision for the first few days after laser eye surgery. It's usually best to avoid wearing eye makeup for the first week of the recovery period. Anti-inflammatory eye drops are often prescribed to help reduce inflammation and clear up vision faster.

You'll be able to look at the world around you with greater clarity and gain a new perspective on life after you've undergone a laser eye surgical procedure. Eye surgeons who perform laser eye surgery regularly are always happy to help people like you and are willing to do whatever is necessary to give each patient the most gratifying results.