Laser eye surgery procedures have come a long way in recent years. They are now safer than ever, and the results are better than ever. However, they are still surgical procedures, and as such, you will still need to take some time to heal afterward. Part of that healing process is typically using steroid eye drops. Here are some common questions people have about ocular steroid treatments.
Where do you get the steroid eye drops?
These medications are a prescription. Your eye surgeon will generally write you a prescription for the steroid eye drops that you need before your actual surgery. This way, you can swing by the pharmacy and pick them up while you're still able to see and drive. Make sure you read the instructions on the prescription when you get home, too, since you may not be able to see to read them well after surgery.
What do the steroid eye drops actually do?
These eye drops work in a few different ways to help you heal after surgery. First, they help alleviate inflammation. This helps increase circulation to the area so your body can heal your eyes. Second, they help alleviate itching and discomfort. This means, after using the steroid eye drops, you'll be less likely to rub your eyes and cause any excessive irritation or damage.
Are there any side effects to worry about?
Sometimes patients get a little worried because the eye drops are called "steroid" eye drops, and they have heard that taking steroids is bad. But rest assured — these are not the anabolic steroids used by bodybuilders. They are a different class of steroids, called corticosteroids, and they won't cause the anger and mood swings that anabolic steroids are known for causing.
Corticosteroids can have some side effects, including an increased appetite, fluid retention, and an upset stomach. But these side effects are more common in people who take corticosteroids orally. They're quite rare in those using steroid eye drops.
How long do you have to use the steroid eye drops?
Most surgeons will have their patients use the steroid eye drops for at least a week after surgery. Depending on how you heal, you may need to keep using them for a bit longer.
Hopefully, you now have a better idea of what's involved with using steroid eye drops after laser eye surgery. Talk to your surgeon or pharmacist if you have any more questions.