Preparing for LASEK eye surgery
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Preparing for LASEK Surgery

Key TakeawaysDescription
Consultation is CrucialSchedule a detailed consultation to determine eligibility and discuss any medical history or concerns.
Contact Lens CessationStop wearing contact lenses well before the surgery to allow the cornea to return to its natural shape.
Maintain HydrationDrink plenty of water and avoid dehydrating substances like caffeine and alcohol before the surgery.
Understand the ProcedureLearn about the surgery process, from the pre-operative preparations to the post-operative care.
Arrange TransportationEnsure you have a plan for getting to and from the surgery, as you won’t be able to drive immediately afterwards.
Aftercare is VitalFollow the post-surgery instructions meticulously to ensure a smooth recovery.

Understanding the Basics of LASEK Surgery

LASEK (Laser Sub-Epithelial Keratomileusis) is a type of laser eye surgery aimed at correcting vision issues like short-sightedness, long-sightedness, and astigmatism.

At Dave Allamby, MD, we provide comprehensive guidance and care for individuals undergoing LASEK and other vision correction procedures.

Before embarking on this journey, it’s essential to understand the fundamentals of LASEK surgery, including the procedure, eligibility criteria, and expected outcomes.


These two procedures are essentially the same treatment. There is a technical difference, but the result and healing are identical.

In LASEK, the surface skin layer (epithelium) is moved to the side and later replaced at the end of the surgery. In PRK, the epithelium is removed and discarded, and new, fresh skin can grow back.

The rationale behind LASEK was that it could reduce the risk of corneal haze, a fine surface scarring that can occur with any surface laser procedure, such as PRK, LASEK or Trans-Epi PRK. The risk of haze increased with the size of the prescription.

However, since the advent of mitomycin C (MMC), a haze-blocking drug, most surgeons now perform PRK with MMC, even though it may be referred to as LASEK.




Can treat all prescriptions

Speed of recovery

4-7 days

4-7 days

Final vision

Same as LASEK

Same as PRK

Prescription range *

Up to -12D (dioptres)

Up to -12D (dioptres)

Thin corneas

Fix astigmatism

Fast recovery

Post-op pain



Needs operating theatre

Infection rate

1 in 7,000

1 in 7,000

Pre-Surgery Consultation: A Necessity

The first step in your LASEK surgery journey is the pre-surgery consultation. During this appointment, I will evaluate your procedure eligibility, discussing your medical and ocular history.

Being transparent about your health, including any medications or allergies, is crucial as these factors can influence the surgery’s outcome and safety【25†source】.

Halting Contact Lens Use

A vital aspect of preparing for LASEK is ceasing the use of contact lenses before the surgery. Contact lenses can alter your cornea’s shape, affecting the surgery’s accuracy.

The recommended duration for stopping contact lens use varies depending on the type of lenses worn【source】.

When to stop using contact lenses

Type of Contact LensAdvice to Stop Wearing Before Surgery
Soft contact lensesStop for one week
Toric contact lenses for astigmatismStop for two weeks
Hard or rigid contact lenses, including RGPsStop for four weeks, but longer may be necessary – expect 4 weeks per decade of wear

Hydration and Diet Considerations

Maintaining good hydration is essential in the days leading up to your LASEK surgery. Water aids in the body’s healing process and can help mitigate the temporary increase in eye dryness post-surgery.

Additionally, avoiding caffeine and alcohol before the procedure is advised, as these substances can dehydrate you and affect your ability to remain calm during the surgery.

Transportation and Personal Care

On the day of your surgery, it’s imperative to have transportation arranged for your return home. Post-surgery, you might experience blurry vision or grogginess due to the sedatives used during the procedure.

Moreover, avoiding wearing makeup, perfume, or any scented products is recommended, as they can interfere with the surgery.

The Day of LASEK Surgery: What to Expect

The LASEK procedure is typically quick, usually taking less than 15 minutes. Understanding the process can alleviate anxiety and prepare you mentally. You’ll be awake during the surgery, which involves using a laser to reshape the cornea.

It’s crucial to stay calm and fix your gaze as the surgeon instructs.

Mental Preparation and Relaxation

Being mentally prepared to be awake during the surgery is essential. You may receive a sedative to help you relax, but your active participation, like maintaining a steady gaze, is crucial【source】.

For more tips on staying calm and relaxed during the procedure, our blog provides valuable information.

Have a question about LASEK Surgery? Get in touch today

Post-Surgery Expectations

Immediately after the surgery, it’s normal to experience some discomfort, such as a burning sensation or the feeling of having something in your eye. Your vision will likely be blurry, and you may be sensitive to light.

It’s imperative not to rub your eyes to avoid dislodging the contact lens.

Post-Surgery Care and Recovery

Post-operative care is critical for a successful recovery. You will receive specific instructions from your surgeon, which may include eye drops to prevent infection and artificial tears to lubricate the eye.

It’s essential to follow these instructions meticulously to ensure a smooth recovery and minimize the risk of complications.

Resuming Activities Post-Surgery

While recovery times can vary, most people can resume non-contact sports a few days post-surgery, depending on their comfort level and the surgeon’s advice. However, avoiding strenuous contact sports for at least four weeks is advisable.

The first few months post-surgery are crucial, as your vision may continue to fluctuate. Protecting your eyes and avoiding any activities that could harm them during this period is important.

Long-Term Care and Vision Stabilization

Your vision may take a few months to stabilize fully. You might experience the following during the first few weeks:

  • Glare
  • Haloes
  • Difficulty driving at night

Regular follow-up appointments are essential to monitor your recovery and address any concerns.

Understanding Risks and Addressing Concerns

Like any surgical procedure, LASEK surgery comes with its own set of risks and potential complications. It’s essential to understand these risks to make an informed decision.

Common concerns include under-correction or over-correction of vision, developing dry eyes, and requiring a second surgery for further refinement. Fortunately, these issues are now unlikely.

Discuss these concerns thoroughly with your surgeon during the consultation phase. For a comprehensive understanding of possible risks, visit our LASEK laser eye surgery page.

Part of preparing for LASEK involves giving informed consent. This means you understand the potential risks and benefits of the surgery and agree to proceed. Remember, the decision to undergo LASEK should be made without any pressure from others.

Deciding to have surgery is a personal choice based on a careful consideration of the pros and cons. Our About Me page shares insights into my approach to patient care and informed decision-making.

Have a question about LASEK Surgery? Get in touch today

Managing Expectations and Realistic Outcomes

Setting realistic expectations is vital to satisfaction with the surgery’s results. While LASEK can significantly improve vision, it may not always be perfect.

Discussing your specific vision goals with your surgeon can help set realistic expectations. Additionally, understanding that some symptoms like glare or haloes may persist post-surgery is important.

Choosing the Right Surgeon and Clinic

The success of LASEK surgery is heavily dependent on the skill and experience of the surgeon, as well as the quality of the clinic where the procedure is performed. Researching and choosing a reputable surgeon and clinic is crucial.

Consider factors like

  • the surgeon’s experience
  • technology used at the clinic
  • patient reviews, including Trustpilot, Google and Facebook
  • the clinic’s overall approach to patient care

Our treatments page provides more information on the range of vision correction procedures we offer.

Importance of Technology in LASEK Surgery

The technology used during LASEK surgery significantly affects its success and safety. Advanced laser technologies enable precise corneal reshaping, reducing the risk of complications and improving the accuracy of the procedure.

Familiarize yourself with the technology your chosen clinic uses and its benefits. I only used the most advanced technology for my patients.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the main difference between LASIK and LASEK surgery?
    • LASIK involves creating a flap in the cornea to reshape the underlying tissue, while LASEK preserves the cornea’s surface by softening it with alcohol and then reshaping it.
  2. How long does it take to recover from LASEK surgery?
    • Recovery can vary, but most patients experience significant improvement within a week. Complete vision stabilization may take up to six months.
  3. Can I drive immediately after LASEK surgery?
    • No, driving immediately after surgery is not advisable due to temporary blurred vision and the effects of sedatives. Arrange for transportation beforehand.
  4. Will I need to wear glasses after LASEK surgery?
    • While LASEK aims to reduce dependence on glasses, some patients may still need them for specific activities, especially if they had a significant prescription pre-surgery.
  5. Is LASEK surgery painful?
    • Most patients report minimal discomfort during the procedure, thanks to numbing drops. Some discomfort or mild pain may be experienced post-surgery, which can be managed with medications.
  6. Are the results of LASEK surgery permanent?
    • The changes made to the cornea are permanent. However, other eye-related conditions, like presbyopia or cataracts, can still affect vision over time.

Have a question about LASEK Surgery? Get in touch today

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