When you have blurry or clouded vision or suffer from unusual pain in your eyes, you risk losing the hobbies you used to enjoy. Impaired vision affects your ability to read, appreciate nature, and even watch television or surf the internet. Thanks to modern medical technology, doctors today can perform surgery on your eyes to remove obstacles to your vision and restore your eyes to full health.
Whether you have simple problems such as slight vision impairment or complex health issues like cataracts and eye socket trauma, doctors often recommend surgical procedures to efficiently fix your eyesight.
If you’ve never undergone surgery before, however, you might face anxiety in the days leading up to the procedure. You trust your medical professional to diagnose your problem and perform the surgery to your satisfaction, but you want to prepare yourself.
Read our suggestions for how to prepare your eyes in the month leading up to surgery so you can feel calm and confident when you step into the operating room.
Several Weeks Before Surgery
As part of your checkup, your doctor gives you a dilated eye exam to check your vision. The results of this test will determine the course of treatment, including surgery.
In order to proceed, the doctor needs your consent for the operation. After checking your eyes, he or she will explain the procedure to you and go over the benefits and drawbacks. If you elect to undergo surgery, you’ll have some paperwork to fill out for your doctor and for your insurance company.
Once you’ve decided on the right medical procedure, fill out a medical history and get a physical with your regular family doctor to make sure you’re healthy enough to handle surgery.
One Week Prior to Surgery
Your doctor typically performs a few routine tests about a week before the procedure. These tests help the doctor determine the best treatment plan, such as the right lenses to replace your cataracts or whether LASIK surgery can cure your vision impairment. Though painless, these eye exams render you unable to drive yourself home after the appointment, so call a friend to come pick you up.
For some tests, your eyes may need a couple of days to adjust. Inform your family of your limitations during this time so you don’t have to face the housework all by yourself. If you live alone, call a friend or neighbor to help you out, and inform them of your upcoming surgery.
In some cases, your doctor may also ask you to stop taking certain medications. Be careful to avoid aspirin and other over-the-counter medicines that increase blood flow. You should also discontinue any cold, headache, or sinus medication. If you need pain relief leading up to surgery, most doctors recommend Tylenol.
Two Days Before Surgery
If you smoke, you need to quit for several days before your surgery. Cigarette smoke puts you at risk for heart and lung complications, even during simple procedures.
You also want to prepare your eyes. Use eye drops morning and night to keep all parts of your eyes moisturized and to flush out any toxins.
Depending on the severity of your surgery, you could miss work or be unable to perform heavy-duty tasks. Prepare your home and office for these changes-you won’t be able to bend or lift any heavy objects for about a week.
Inform your doctor and the surgeon’s office if you develop any illnesses or if you come into contact with any infectious diseases.
If you notice any redness, swelling, or discharge around your eye, notify your doctor immediately, since you may have to reschedule the procedure.
The Night Before Surgery
For some surgical procedures, doctors recommend that you fast at least 12 hours before your operation. If your doctor instructs you to do so, avoid food and drink the night before surgery. If you don’t follow this recommendation, you might feel nauseated or respond poorly to anesthesia. Otherwise you can continue your normal eating habits.
You should also clean your face carefully before you go to bed. Stop wearing makeup, especially around the eyes, and quit using any creams, lotions, or perfumes that could enter the eye in its weakened state and cause infection.
Your doctor will provide you with prescription-strength eye drops if you need them, but you should keep some routine pain medication and rubbing alcohol on hand just in case.
The Morning of Surgery
Even short procedures require you to have a ride to and from surgery. Call and arrange for a ride ahead of time to avoid panic in the hours leading up to your procedure.
Remember to bring proof of your insurance coverage with you, as well as a form of payment and sunglasses in case surgery makes your eyes light-sensitive for a few hours. You should also wear comfortable clothing to help you feel relaxed during surgery.
When you prepare in the days and weeks leading up to your surgery, you won’t need to feel anxious. Consult your eye doctor if you have any additional questions about how to prepare your eyes for a surgical procedure, and look forward to better vision in your future.