If someone close to you is going to have LASIK eye surgery on one or both of their eyes, it’s natural to want to help. Yet while there are plenty of resources out there that outline pre-op best practices and post-op LASIK recovery timelines, it’s harder to find a primer for someone who wants to help look after a recent LASIK patient.
There’s actually a lot you can do to help care for someone who is about to have/has just had LASIK surgery, even when LASIK patients are able to return to (most) activities 24 hours after the surgery.
Here are some of our favorite recommendations for ways to make the LASIK experience (even) easier. Of course, these tips are also helpful if it’s you who is having LASIK done and you’re looking for some ways to make the experience as smooth as possible.
1. Research LASIK surgeons in your area and familiarize yourself with the LASIK process
If your friend/partner has just begun their LASIK journey, you would not be remiss in helping them research their LASIK options. Research the best LASIK surgeons in Houston by reading the reviews, checking their years of experience, and making note of their accreditations, awards, etc.
After your loved one has their consultation, learn whether or not their vision is too bad for LASIK, and schedules a surgery date. Learn the answers to the following questions: What are the precautions to take after LASIK eye surgery? What can you NOT do after LASIK? What eye drops can you use after LASIK?
By taking the time to know a little bit (or a lot) about LASIK best practices, you may be able to put your loved one’s mind at ease on the day of the surgery, especially if they’re feeling nervous. The following materials will help you beef up on your LASIK knowledge:
2. Pre-purchase extra eye drops
A doctor will prescribe medicinal eye drops for before and after LASIK surgery, but almost all patients experience some level of dry eye after they no longer need to take those medicinal eye drops. Having a box of preservative-free eyedrops on-hand for when that time comes can save your loved one an inconvenient, dry-eyed trip to the convenience store.
3. Pre-purchase Tylenol PM or an equivalent medicine
LASIK patients are recommended to sleep as much as possible the day of their LASIK procedure. While the Valium that most doctors give their patients pre-op will likely knock them out for a few hours after the operation, many patients have noted needing a little extra help getting to sleep later in the day.
4. Pre-purchase and prepare meals
Since patients are told to keep their eyes closed as much as possible the day of the surgery, it’s wise to have meals pre-purchased and, if possible, prepared. (The latter is especially true if the patients will be spending some of the recovery time alone.) If the patient has young kids, taking this additional step will be extra helpful when you’re short a pair of helping hands at mealtimes.
One final pro tip for your post-LASIK kitchen life: Now is the time to use all of those paper plates you’ve had lying around since last Halloween and all the pre-wrapped plasticware from takeout that you have shoved in the back of your utensil drawer.
5. Pre-purchase/rent entertainment that doesn’t require visuals
Noticing a theme? Many post-LASIK care tips involve a little bit of prep, and this is especially true of entertainment for the day of the surgery. LASIK surgery often takes place in the morning, it’s recommended that patients keep their eyes closed for the first 24 hours after surgery. That means they’ll be spending the entire day with their eyes closed — and if they can’t sleep, sitting in the dark can get really boring really quickly.
We recommend getting pre-purchasing entertainment that doesn’t involve the heavy use of screens. Popular options include podcasts, audiobooks, and music. If you want to go analog, you could also just read out loud to the person who just had LASIK.
Slightly more eccentric suggestions include “listening” to a movie you’ve seen a million times so that you can visualize it OR “listening” to a movie you’ve seen a million times… but in a language that you’re trying to learn!
6. Make plans for phone use
Patients should avoid looking at screens for the first 24 hours after LASIK, including phone screens. If they are comfortable with it, you can read their texts for them or, if they have an iPhone, they can have Siri read their messages to them.
The next day, using your phone after LASIK is permitted (although we do advise continued avoidance of screens). If your friend/partner need to use their phone, they may find some relief by making their phone’s text size bigger and by turning down the screen’s brightness.
7. Provide support the morning of the surgery
Even the most stoic of patients may feel a little nervous the morning of their procedure. For some patients, just having a friendly face nearby may help relieve stress and make the difference between a frazzled pre-op experience and a smooth one.
Other patients may want to have someone who will remind them to bring everything they need, eat, take a shower (to avoid getting water in their eyes later on), and wear comfortable clothes (so that they can go to sleep right after the surgery).
8. Provide transportation
Your friend/partner will, at the very least, need a ride home from the clinic after their surgery; they won’t be able to open their eyes to drive, and Eye Center of Texas will not release a patient to a taxi driver (including Lyft and Uber). That said, most patients prefer to bring someone who will be there throughout the whole procedure. Since the surgery takes only 5 minutes per eye, you won’t be in the waiting room for long!
9. Help keep track of their eye drop schedule
An eye surgeon should prescribe at least one (probably two) types of eye drops that must be taken at various times on the day of the surgery, as well as in the following days. Since the LASIK surgery participant will be sleeping often on the day of the procedure, patients have found it helpful to have someone nearby to make sure that they wake up at the appropriate times and use the appropriate drops. Helping them pre-set alarms can also be helpful.
10. Help with the pets and/or kids
Does the LASIK patient’s dog need to be taken outside? Does their cat need its litter box cleaned? Do their children need to be picked up from school? Are either the children or the pets mischievous enough to get into or chew up eye drop bottles? Has everyone been fed? Time to chip in!
11. Help with the dishes
If you didn’t want to use the paper plates and plastic utensils mentioned in tip #4, doing your loved one’s dishes can be a huge help. Not only will it help them keep water from getting into their eyes, but it will allow them to continue to rest as well.
12. Encourage rest, rest, and more rest!
At Eye Center of Texas, we are frequently asked, “How can I heal faster after LASIK?” The recovery time for LASIK is extremely short, but for the best healing results, we recommend lots of rest, preferably with your eyes closed. It can be tempting for some LASIK patients to spend a “quick 5 minutes” on their phone the day after the procedure, only to then realize that they’ve been on it for an hour.
So if you’re looking for one big way to help your friend/partner recover from LASIK, perhaps the best thing you can do is to encourage them to relax and enable them to rest until at least 24 hours has passed.
13. Make note of follow-up appointments
This one is more for the spouses and partners of LASIK patients, but it’s still worth mentioning. Your doctor should schedule a one day, one week, and one-month follow-up for your LASIK procedure. These follow-ups allow the surgeon to monitor the progression of the LASIK patient’s recovery and the overall health of their eyes.
14. Celebrate the little things!
Each LASIK patient will begin to see better at their own pace. Some patients can see more clearly immediately after the surgery, and others notice a difference after they wake up the next morning.
And when excitement about the “big change” wears off, know that you and your loved one will continue to celebrate the little things now that they are glasses and contacts free. Walking in the rain? No problem! Taking the lid off of a pot that will steam? Sure! Wearing non-prescription sunglasses to the beach? Finally!
Eye Center of Texas provides top-quality care for our LASIK patients
Electing to have LASIK surgery is a big step in someone’s life. Now, when someone starts asking themselves, “Am I candidate for LASIK?” you’ll know exactly what to do if the answer is yes. And you’ll also know exactly who to call for your LASIK needs. The professionals at Eye Center of Texas are here to answer any questions.
To get started on your journey towards better vision, give us a call at 713-395-1515 or request an appointment online today!