You’ve done your research, and you know you’re a candidate for LASIK eye surgery. What’s more, you really want the procedure and the hassle-free, clear vision it offers. But, there’s a problem: you’re terrified of it. Most people feel a little nervous about having eye surgery, but if you struggle with generalized anxiety (or another form of clinical anxiety), it can be a real roadblock to following through. Here are some tips to try if you want LASIK, but are worried your anxiety will stand in your way.
Talk to Someone
One of the best things you can do when anxiety threatens to overwhelm you is to gather as much information as possible. Start by talking with your eye surgeon or optometrist about your biggest fears. The one we hear most often is the fear of going blind from the procedure, but the truth is that the American Refractive Surgery Council has confirmed there has never been a case where LASIK was the primary cause of blindness. Furthermore, 96% of patients are satisfied with LASIK, which is an “extraordinary success rate” for any surgery.
Another major fear is that the procedure will be painful. Again, work to assuage your fears by speaking to people who know what they’re talking about. Have any friends who have had LASIK? Ask them for their honest opinion. The consensus from our patients is that there’s some discomfort during the surgery, but not pain - and any discomfort is incredibly brief.
The more you gather factual information about LASIK from trustworthy sources, the more you can start to override the protective mechanism of your brain that is spinning your anxiety into overdrive.
Consider Calming Methods
Prior to LASIK procedures, we give patients a Valium to help calm their nerves. But if you’re worried this won’t be sufficient, there’s more you can do to comfort yourself leading up to the surgery. First, talk with your doctor and/or naturopathic doctor. There are certain supplements (like GABA and L-theanine) or even medications that medical professionals may recommend to you, which can soothe the anxious parts of the brain.
Next, consider trying meditation or even the most simple and free method of all: deep breathing. If you find yourself getting caught up in worst-case thoughts and starting to panic, practicing “box breathing,” for instance, can help to calm you down. Box breathing is just one example, and there are a few different varieties of it, but the gist is that you breathe in for four seconds, hold the air in your lungs for four seconds, exhale for four seconds and then hold steady for four seconds once the air is out of your lungs. Repeat as many times as needed until you feel a greater sense of peace.
It’s normal to feel nervous prior to any medical appointment or surgery, but if you struggle with anxiety and are feeling like it’s preventing you from getting the vision correction you desperately want - take charge. There’s a lot you can do to prepare for your procedure, and get through it calmly and confidently.
Any questions? Contact us today to ask about our LASIK exams and getting LASIK in Phoenix.