Overcoming Fear: A Guide to Easing LASIK Anxiety

Feeling anxious about any procedure — even as safe as LASIK eye surgery — is expected. Everybody experiences it to different degrees, and while you must allow yourself to coast through the feeling, you can use some techniques to get into a more relaxed state.

If your procedure is approaching and your emotions and thoughts start to make you anxious, this article provides tips and techniques for helping you to start feeling more at ease and comfortable.

LASIK Anxiety: Management Techniques to Feel Calmer

Managing LASIK anxiety is crucial in ensuring your comfort before the surgeon begins the procedure, as a calm state of mind helps things run smoothly and deliver the best outcomes. So, while feelings of fear around LASIK surgery are unavoidable, we make it a point to help you address these feelings in and outside of our clinic.

At home, while you wait for your upcoming procedure, you can try these management techniques to achieve a calmer state of mind:

1. Gather information and learn about the procedure.

Understanding something often helps alleviate the fears and anxieties we feel around them. This is similar to concerns about LASIK surgery.

With knowledge, uncertainty can turn into confidence, and you can view things more objectively. Suppose you’re feeling anxious about your upcoming procedure. In that case, you can learn about the steps involved in LASIK surgery, the technology used, and the care you will receive to feel more prepared and reassured.

You can access a wealth of knowledge online to help with this. Among these, of course, are our blogs on LASIK, medical journals, and informational pamphlets available in clinics. Apart from reading materials, speaking regularly to your care provider can also provide tremendous relief. Hence, we encourage all our patients to schedule a LASIK exam where you can ask questions and discuss all your concerns.

2. Practice relaxation techniques.

Incorporating relaxation techniques into your routine can also help you manage LASIK anxiety. Standard and practical methods such as deep breathing exercises and meditation are straightforward at home and effective in calming your mind.

Even deep breathing activates your body’s relaxation response, lowering heart rate and blood pressure. Additionally, you can practice deep breathing exercises in tandem with meditation — a practice of focusing your thoughts in the present moment, thereby improving emotional awareness and relaxation.

To start practicing deep breathing and meditation, you will need to find a quiet space where you can focus the most. It helps if this space is quiet, dimly lit, and free from distractions so you can maintain your focus. You must then settle yourself in a comfortable sitting position or lie down.

The proper technique for deep breathing is to inhale for a few seconds, pause and hold the breath for another few seconds, and then gradually release the air. For meditation, aim to focus on your feelings and condition at the present moment and put effort into pulling your mind back to the present when you feel it wandering.

3. Practice reframing your thoughts around LASIK surgery.

Similar to meditation, reframing thoughts can also be beneficial for managing emotions. Though they can overlap, meditation and reframing thoughts are practiced differently.

The distinguishing characteristic of thought reframing is that it can be done actively. It does not require conscious effort to find quiet spaces. It’s simply catching a thought when you have it, and if it’s causing unpleasant emotions, you can shift your perspective around it.

By consciously shifting your thoughts, you can transform feelings of anxiety into excitement and anticipation. For instance, instead of thinking, “I’m scared of the surgery,” try thinking, “I’m excited about the possibility of seeing clearly without glasses or contacts.”

Below is a breakdown of the steps for reframing your thoughts:

  • Identify negative thoughts: Recognize any opposing thoughts or fears you have about LASIK surgery. Write them down to see what is causing your anxiety.
  • Challenge those negative thoughts: Feelings may be valid, but thoughts are not always true. Hence, it’s essential to question the validity of your thoughts. Are they based on facts or assumptions? Consider the evidence supporting the safety and success of LASIK, such as the high success rate and the expertise of Dr. Manger.
  • Replace with positive thoughts: Turn each unpleasant thought into a positive one. For example, instead of thinking, “What if something goes wrong?” you can think, “LASIK has a very high success rate, and I am in the hands of an expert surgeon.”
  • Visualize positive outcomes: Spend a few minutes each day visualizing the positive results of your surgery. See yourself enjoying activities without glasses, feeling confident, and appreciating the clarity of your new vision.

By practicing reframing and mental imagery, you can create a more positive mindset focusing on LASIK surgery’s benefits. This shift in perspective will help reduce anxiety and build confidence as you approach your procedure.

4. Communicate with your care providers.

Open communication with your care providers can provide clarity and reassurance, making you feel more at ease about the procedure. Remember that your doctor and healthcare team are always ready and willing to help you understand every aspect of the procedure and address your doubts.

As part of our standards, we take you through a comprehensive preoperative consultation with Dr. Manger. This discussion is when you should ask all your questions and receive detailed information about LASIK surgery so that you can have as few doubts as possible.

You can also call with any questions beforehand if it helps you manage your feelings better. The key to anxiety is always to catch your feelings and thoughts and act towards feeling better immediately. This proactive approach ensures that you feel well-informed and reassured, helping to ease any anxiety you may have about your LASIK surgery.

5. Turn to your trusted support systems.

A group of people wearing glasses, discussing their past experiences and upcoming LASIK surgery

Having the support of friends and family can make a significant difference in managing LASIK anxiety. Bringing a trusted friend or family member with you on the day of the surgery can provide comfort and reassurance, helping you feel more at ease.

Having someone you trust — your parents, a sibling, a friend, or a partner — can provide comforting emotional support. They can provide a calming presence, distract you, and remind you of the positive outcomes you’re working toward.

Your support person can also assist with practical matters, like driving you to and from the clinic, ensuring you have everything you need, and helping you follow any pre-surgery instructions. Their presence can help you focus on staying calm and relaxed.

6. Turn to fellow LASIK surgery patients for support.

Connecting with and hearing about the positive experiences of others who have successfully navigated LASIK can help demystify the process and help you feel more comfortable.

They can also share their journey, including how they managed their fears, what the procedure was like, and how their recovery went. Knowing that others have gone through the same thing and come out with positive results can be very comforting. Additionally, seeing the successful outcomes of others can boost your confidence in the procedure — you’ll be more reassured that LASIK is an entirely safe and effective procedure.

Connecting with fellow LASIK patients can provide a sense of community and support. Whether through online forums, support groups, or in-person conversations, sharing your concerns and hearing others’ stories can make you feel less isolated and more supported.

Final Thoughts

Feeling anxious about undergoing LASIK surgery is completely normal. Acknowledging these feelings is the first step towards overcoming them. LASIK is a remarkably safe and effective procedure with a high success rate and minimal risks. At Saddleback Eye Center, Dr. Charles Manger’s impressive 99.7% success rate further assures you of the quality and safety of the procedure.

Managing your anxiety is crucial to ensure a smooth and comfortable LASIK experience. By gathering information, practicing relaxation techniques, reframing your thoughts, communicating openly with your care providers, and turning to support systems, you can significantly reduce your anxiety and approach your surgery with confidence.

Remember, you don’t have to face this journey alone. The experts at Saddleback Eye Center are here to guide you every step of the way. If you have any questions or need additional support, don’t hesitate to contact us. Let us help you achieve the clear vision and peace of mind you deserve.


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