As a LASIK surgeon this is honestly one of the most common questions I get from potential LASIK patients. The good news is that it really isn’t possible to blink during LASIK surgery.
What if I blink or move during LASIK surgery?
During all of the eye surgeries that I perform including: LASIK, cataract surgery, pterygium removal, or even a corneal transplant I utilize an eyelid opener that is commonly referred to as an eyelid speculum.
We place anesthetic eye drops before placing this eyelid opener so that it is not uncomfortable. This simple device is easily powerful enough to withstand even the most forceful squeezer. When people hear of us using this device during LASIK surgery the next most common statement is a reference to the movie “A Clockwork Orange” and interestingly enough they did use a similar device in that movie!
Can I still move my eyes during my procedure?
We do prefer that once we have your eyelids open that you do attempt to stay focused on the fixation lights of our LASERs. When humans blink we have a natural phenomenon called the Bell’s phenomenon. This phenomenon is that when we blink our eyes naturally roll upward. This is a great defense mechanism to protect our eyes. However, during surgery this means that attempts to blink and squeeze will move the eye upward and off of the fixation light.
Fortunately, this movement is not a concern with modern laser eye surgery, because our lasers have eye-tracking technology. As your eye moves up the laser will simply move the spots up to follow the eye. If you move too far up the laser will stop firing pulses until you look back at the fixation light again. The same thing is true if you just get startled and look away for any reason. Nothing bad will happen. If the laser stops I will simply remind you to find the light again and we will continue as if nothing had ever happened.
LASIK eye surgery has come a long way since it was originally FDA approved in 1995. It comes as a surprise to some of my patients that we have now been performing the LASIK procedure for over 25 years!
I’m scared I will ruin my LASIK
Nowadays with our advanced LASIK technologies, we can quickly and comfortably perform LASIK within just a few minutes. We spend nearly as much time preparing people for the eye surgery as it takes to complete the entire LASIK procedure.
We also give every patient mild oral sedation that helps take the edge off. It isn’t required that you take it but realize that it is normal for people to be nervous before any eye surgery and LASIK surgery is no different. I took a valium before my PRK procedure 10 years ago, and it didn’t make me loopy or out of it. The Valium just lowered my anxiety to a comfortable level so that I could focus on what my surgeon needed me to do.
LASIK is one of the safest and most successful surgeries in all of medicine but it is normal to have some anxiety before the procedure. Trust me, all of us LASIK surgeons know that most patients have some anxiety the day of your laser vision correction procedure. I am right there with you from when the procedure begins to when we take the eyelid speculum out and you get a chance to experience your new and improved vision.
Watching people enjoy the benefits of refractive surgery is one of the best parts of my team’s job. Delivering outstanding vision correction results is what we love to do. Please call our office to schedule a free LASIK consultation now that you know that you don’t need to be concerned about blinking during this quick and easy procedure.
Want to learn more about LASIK? Read the next article in our LASIK series: How Long Does LASIK Take?