Despite not being a new type of procedure anymore, very few people still know exactly what laser eye surgery is and as a result often have thousands of questions regarding the procedure. Obviously this makes absolute sense as anybody who is looking for vision correction will naturally be concerned about their eyesight. Nobody wants to mess with their eyes or even risk damaging, or even worse, losing their eyesight.
We have put together some of the most frequently asked questions surrounding vision correction and laser eye surgery with thorough, easy to understand answers in order to put you at ease before making a decision or undergoing any vision treatment.
What is the downtime after the surgery?
First we need to understand that recovery time for each person will be different and each individual will heal and recover at different speeds. With this in mind lets take a look.
SMILE surgery is the newest and also one of the most advanced vision correction surgeries. SMILE surgery is done by making a small opening in the corneal tissue and then the surgeon will use a laser called a femtosecond laser to make a lenticule which is then removed and discarded.
Due to the incision being so small, down time for SMILE surgery is usually no more than 1 or 2 days. Obviously this may vary depending on each individual and may be affected by: genes, environmental factors etc. But most of the time patients report being able to see the same or following day after the procedure. In some cases it may take a little longer.
Most people will be able to return to normal activities such as going to work, school, walking, watching TV and making food after just one day.
LASIK or, Laser Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis, is arguably still the most popular vision correction method and has been effective at treating myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism for many years.
LASIK is performed by the doctor cutting a flap in the corneal tissue and then using a laser to correct the vision of the patient.
The average recovery period for LASIK is generally around 1 day post op. But this may be different for certain people, depending on the condition of the eyes and also the age of the patient. This is also true for other methods of laser vision correction.
Majority of our patients can see clearly after just a day or two and some may take up to four days. What is normal is that patients might experience blurry vision directly after surgery, but this usually stabilizes after a day or so. Most patients can go back to school or work the day after their 1 day post op check up.
LASEK is the oldest, most common and best known vision correction procedure. During LASEK the doctor removes the top layer of the corneal tissue and then uses a special laser to reshape the corneal tissue.
Due to the procedure being a bit older and involving a slightly more invasive method, recovery for LASEK can take up to a week. You may experience discomfort during the first few days and sensitivity to light. In some cases you may also have blurry or dark vision. This is completely normal so no need to panic. 5 days post op, from the next day after protective lens removal, you will be able to return to simple daily activities like face wash using a soap or a cleanser, shampoo, or skin makeup.
PIOL or, Phakic intraocular lens, is a modern vision correction surgery technique that was developed for patients who cannot undergo laser eye surgery such as SMILE, LASIK, or LASEK due to extremely high myopia or astigmatism with very thin corneas.
After the surgery, it is advised not to bend from the waist to pick up objects on the floor, as it can cause undue pressure to your eyes. Also, you should not rub or put pressure on your eyes at all cost for 2 weeks, and it is required to wear plastic eye shields when you sleep for 1 week for protection. 3 days post op, you will be able to return to simple daily activities like face wash using a soap or a cleanser, shampoo or skin makeup.
For more precautions after vision correction surgery, please check our website, https://english.bnviit.com/medical/precautions.php.
How long do I need to stay in Korea after the surgery?
The reason why B&VIIT and our doctors prefer that patients stay in Korea for a while after surgery is so that they can monitor the healing of the eyes and provide any assistance if something were to go wrong. This has rarely happened at our clinic but we prefer to be extra cautious.
Amount of time that B&VIIT requests patients to remain in Korea depends on the procedure type.
- SMILE: 7 Days
- LASIK: 7 Days
- LASEK: 3 Months
- PIOL: 1 Month
In the event that you can not remain in Korea after the surgery, B&VIIT will provide you with a medical certificate in English that you can show to your local doctor upon return. The doctor will use this to assist you with your check ups.
How often do I need to come back for a postoperative check-up?
Time intervals as follows:
SMILE: Next day – 1 month – 6 months – 1 year post op
LASIK: Next day – 1 month – 6 months – 1 year post op
LASEK: 4 days – 3~4 weeks – every month once, for 6 months
PIOL: Next day – within 1 week – 3 weeks – 1 month – regular check-up required
*Outpatient treatment and postoperative check-up costs 15,000 KRW on weekdays and 30,000 KRW on Saturdays and public holidays for each appointment. Also, it can be covered by national health insurance from 6 months post op.
It is also advised to have a regular retina check-up every year after surgery for your healthy eye condition.