What to Expect Before LASIK Surgery

Doctor Talking With a PatientGrand Rapids Ophthalmology offers Free LASIK (Laser Vision Correction) Evaluations.*

A Laser Vision Correction Evaluation is a very thorough eye exam with diagnostic tests and scans performed to assess if a patient is a good candidate for surgery. It is also an opportunity to meet your surgeon and members of our Laser Vision Correction Team.

Once you decide to have LASIK surgery, an eye evaluation is needed to determine which type of procedure is best for your unique eyes. If you wear contact lenses, you may be asked to not wear them for up to two weeks before the evaluation so that your eyes return to their natural shape.

A thorough evaluation will help determine if you are eligible for LASIK and if there are any conditions prohibiting the procedure. The evaluation usually consists of:

  • Vision testing
  • Mapping the shape of the cornea
  • Screening for eye diseases, including glaucoma, cataracts, or diabetic retinopathy
  • Measuring corneal thickness, eye movement, and pupil size
  • Assessing the back of the eye

If you wear contact lenses between the evaluation and the surgery, you will need to stop wearing them again for up to two weeks prior to surgery.

Please be aware that your eyes will be dilated during a complete laser vision correction evaluation. Dilation causes sensitivity to light and blurry near vision. Dilation may last between 24 and 36 hours. Please bring sunglasses to the appointment or we will provide disposable sunglasses for your convenience.

*Your LASIK evaluation is free, even if you aren’t a candidate. The evaluation is for surgical purposes only, and doesn’t update your eyeglass or contact lens prescription.

During LASIK Surgery

What to Expect—LASIK

Though the entire experience, from walking into walking out, may take from two to three hours, the procedure itself typically lasts less than thirty minutes. Most patients feel little or no pain throughout the surgery. You can usually expect the following:

  • Anesthetic drops are placed in each eye.
  • You will lie down on a patient bed under the laser system. Throughout the procedure, the doctor will ask you to focus on a small blinking light.
  • A flap is created by gently lifting a thin layer of tissue from the cornea. This makes the cornea easier to reshape.
  • Pulses of laser energy precisely reshape the cornea. The corneal flap is then laid back into place and acts as a natural bandage to help your eye heal.

What to Expect—PRK

PRK gently reshapes the surface layer of the eye called the cornea. You can usually expect the following:

  • The eye is numbed using topical numbing eye drops.
  • A light is then presented for fixation and in less than 60 seconds the light pulses reshape the cornea to the desired curvature.
  • After PRK, vision is blurred for three to five days as the surface layer of the eye heals.
  • A clear contact lens acts as a bandage to minimize discomfort and aid in the healing process.

After LASIK Surgery

Immediately After the Procedure

Most LASIK patients notice improved vision immediately. Before you leave, your surgeon will most likely have you rest in a comfortable, post-treatment area for about an hour. You should also:

  • Have someone drive you home, as most doctors will advise against you driving for 24 hours
  • Stop on the way home to pick up any medications you may have been prescribed
  • Keep your eyes clean and avoid rubbing them

Adjusting to LASIK Surgery

What to Know

Some people experience minor annoyances such as watery or red eyes for the first few days after the procedure, and others are able to return to work the very next day. Your doctor will schedule a follow-up appointment the next week to test your vision and ensure your eyes are healing properly. By this time, you are likely to see as good as or better than you did with contact lenses or glasses!

Laser Vision Technology

Grand Rapids Ophthalmology (GRO) utilizes advanced WaveLight® refractive technology, which combines state-of-the-art surgical advancements into a procedure personalized for your unique eyes.

The Facts About Laser Vision Correction With WaveLight® Technology:

  • 93% of nearsighted patients see 20/20 or better1
  • 83% of farsighted patients see 20/25 or better2
  • 92% of patients described their vision as “good” or “excellent”1

The Wavelight Suite

Did You Know?

  • >16 million people worldwide have had LASIK surgery.3
  • LASIK has one of the highest patient satisfaction rates of any elective surgery—95.4%.3


  1. Summary of Safety and Effectiveness Data, WaveLight® Excimer Laser Systems. P020050S004b.
  2. Data on file. Alcon, a Novartis company.
  3. Solomon K, Fernandez de Castro L, Sandoval H, et al. LASIK World Literature Review. Quality of life and patient satisfaction. American Academy of Ophthalmology. 2009;691-701.

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