Abby's Guide to Lasik Surgery
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Doctor, Doctor, Mr. MD

The first step in ascertaining if you are a good candidate for a Lasik eye procedure is to make an appointment with a qualified Lasik eye surgeon for a complete eye exam. Ask friends and family who have had the surgery about their doctor. The options include on one end, a traditional doctor's office in a private practice to what some have termed a "doc in a box", or a more impersonal "corporate" venue.

Cost is always a factor, but in Lasik surgery it should not be the only factor. Shop around and talk with a number of doctors, either in eye centers or in private practice to get a good idea about the kind of doctor that would work well with you. Some practices advertise heavily and make a lot of promises. Keep in mind that there are no surgical slam dunks and this can be a difficult procedure.

The doctor will take a complete eye and medical history and give you Lasik surgery literature to read. Don't be afraid to ask about their practices as well as personal outcomes, both positive and negative, and see how they compare with the percentages in the backup literature.

Just make sure you are comfortable with the doctor's approach. The doctor will take a complete medical history. It is extremely important that you answer all questions about your eye history candidly. Not revealing that you tend to have dry eyes can make the recovery period longer and more difficult, for example.

Your doctor should then tell you if Lasik surgery will be successful for you in meeting your vision goals. If your current prescription is higher than normal, be aware that the surgeon may not be able to predict exactly how your eye will respond to the laser. Second treatments are not uncommon in these cases. You should be informed of the risks in having the surgery as well as the positives, to make a good decision. Before you sign on the dotted line, you should be told exactly what will happen to you from start to finish. There should be no surprises here. Make sure you then keep your end of the bargain by following the doctor's directions as well. Take notes if you need to.

Some of your surgeon's instructions should include behavior the day of surgery, such as the disuse of creams or lotions, any makeup and even perfumes. You will also be told to bring someone with you to drive you home, as you may have been medicated during surgery to relax you...and you will be way too relaxed to drive home. Count on some blurry vision as well, not optimum health for driving. Post operative behavior should be gone into as well...things like no contact sports for four weeks after surgery, no swimming or even bathing in a hot tub, and the necessity of wearing an eye shield when you go to bed. Come with a prepared list of questions so you don't spend half your time trying to remember what you wanted to ask and miss important directives. After surgery, your doctor should require an appointment within a day or two of the initial surgery, as well as once a month for half a year, to check on your eye's healing. Your doctor should make sure you are verbally instructed as well as providing a handbook. We all know how the manual is the last thing we think to check, so it is good to hear the instructions verbalized.

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