LASIK eye surgery is one of the most popular outpatient refractive procedures in the country. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, as of 2009, over 700,000 LASIK surgeries are performed annually. LASIK is monitored by the FDA and is generally considered safe for approved patients, but in spite of its popularity and mostly positive results, there are those who still experience some anxiety about the procedure. The eyes are one of the more delicate parts of the body, and some people are fearful of having their eyes touched or operated on; however, this fear could be managed by learning more about the LASIK procedure. Talking through the fear with a medical professional and performing relaxation techniques can also help with anxiety.
The eyes are one of the most sensitive and most vulnerable organs in the body, and some people experience fear at the idea of their eyes being touched or operated on. Learning more about how LASIK works can help ease anxiety by letting the patient know what to expect. Feinerman Vision Center’s website is a comprehensive resource for information on LASIK and other eye health conditions. The website has posted articles on LASIK that explain the process in great detail, and features videos of patients at different stages of the LASIK procedure as they discuss their concerns, fears, and how they feel after surgery. The responses are overwhelmingly positive, and hearing affirmations from previous patients can reassure potential candidates. The surgery itself is also shown on video so that the viewer can see each step as it is performed.
Although reading articles and watching videos do a lot to educate a prospective patient and alleviate some fear, sometimes it helps to talk with someone who is knowledgeable about the procedure. Prior to every surgery, every potential candidate for LASIK must be examined and evaluated by an ophthalmologist to determine whether or not the procedure will be to the patient’s benefit. During the evaluation, the doctor assesses whether or not the patient will be a good candidate for LASIK based on their health, thickness of the cornea, and other medical factors. This would be a great time to ask questions or talk with the ophthalmologist about any potential concerns or fears about the procedure. If a patient still experiences a high level of anxiety after the evaluation, the doctor may prescribe anti-anxiety medication.
Relaxation techniques can also work for pre-surgery nerves. Mayo Clinic’s online database lists three different types of relaxation techniques: autogenic relaxation, progressive muscle relaxation, and visualization. During autogenic relaxation visual imagery and body awareness are used to reduce stress. A person repeats words or suggestions in their mind to relax both mentally and physically. An example of autogenic relaxation is imagining a peaceful scene while focusing on maintaining controlled and relaxed breathing. Progressive muscle relaxation has a person focus on the difference between muscle tension and relaxation in order to become more aware of physical sensation. This is done by tensing muscles for 5 seconds and relaxing them for 30 seconds. A good place to start would be the toes and then work through each muscle group up to the neck and head areas. Visualization involves forming mental images of calming places or situations. The object is, not just to visualize, but to use as many senses as possible, including smell, sight, sound, and touch. For example, if a person is visualizing the ocean, it’s helpful to imagine the smell of salt water, the sound of crashing waves, and the feeling of warm sunlight. Meditation, eating properly, and getting an adequate amount of sleep in addition to these techniques can go a long way toward establishing a calmer mental and physical state.
LASIK has been a benefit for the majority of people looking for a safe, convenient way to improve their vision. By learning more about the procedure, practicing some general relaxation techniques, and talking to a reputable LASIK eye surgeon, a patient can ease his or her anxiety. Doctor Gregg Feinerman is a board certified Newport Beach eye doctor who has been performing LASIK for over 13 years, and is one of the top LASIK surgeons in the country. To find out more about LASIK and other methods of vision correction, contact us now or call Feinerman Vision Center at 1-877-752-8155.