Preparing for your procedure

Preparing for your surgery or procedure

Having eye surgery

You will be asked to come to the hospital one and a half hours before your scheduled eye surgery. This will give the health care team enough time to prepare you for surgery and answer your questions. 

Here is what you need to know about preparing for your eye surgery.

Meet with your primary care provider
Make an appointment for your pre-surgery physical exam with your primary care provider. This exam will evaluate your current health status. Your pre-surgery physical exam needs to be done within 30 days before your surgery. Your surgery may be delayed or canceled if your exam is not done.

  • You may be asked to bring your health history and physical exam results with you to the hospital on your day of surgery
  • Your clinic can also fax the results to 612-775-8931

If you are currently taking any medicine, make sure your primary care provider gives you instructions for:

  • taking your medicines the morning of surgery
  • stopping any prescription medicines before surgery
  • stopping any over-the-counter medicines (including herbal medicines) before surgery
  • resuming all your regular medicines after surgery

Important: If you have diabetes, ask your primary care provider about taking your diabetes medicine before surgery. 

Arrange for help after surgery
Plan to have an adult member of your care circle (family, friend or person close to you) help you after surgery. He or she will need to:

  • come with you to the hospital or be available to talk over the phone listen to and understand your After Visit Summary (discharge instructions for care at home)
  • drive you home if you do not qualify for the van service described below. (You will not be able to drive for 24 hours.)
  • stay in your home with you overnight

If you do not have a responsible adult to help you, your surgery may be delayed or canceled. 

Arrange for a ride home after surgery
Use one of the following options to arrange a ride home:

  • Have a member of your care circle drive you home
  • If you live within 20 miles of Phillips Eye Institute and need a ride to and from the hospital, a van service may be available at no cost for you and one member of your care circle. Call your eye surgeon’s office at least 3 days before surgery to arrange for a ride.

Someone from the van service will call you the day before surgery (between 3 and 7 p.m.) to confirm your pick-up time and address.

If a member of your care circle cannot come with you to the hospital, he or she will need to meet you when the van brings you home.

What to eat and drink before surgery

For your safety, your surgery may need to be rescheduled if these guidelines are not followed.

Children, teenagers and adults

 May eat up to 8 hours before your arrival.

  • Eat light meals, such as oatmeal or toast.
  • Avoid foods that are heavy or high in fat, such as meat or fried foods.

May have clear liquids up to 2 hours before your arrival.

  • Drink water, fruit juice without pulp, black coffee, tea without creamer and hard candies.
  • Do not drink milk or alcohol, or eat yogurt.

Do not use tobacco products 6 hours before your arrival.


  • May have formula up to 8 hours before your arrival.
  • May have breast milk up to 4 hours before your arrival. 

Quit tobacco product use

Do not use tobacco products before your procedure.

Quitting smoking before your surgery has many benefits for your health. It will:

  • decrease your risk of breathing problems from anesthesia
  • decrease your risk of getting blood clots in your legs
  • improve your body’s ability to heal

What to bring to the hospital

Bring the following items to the hospital:

  • Your health history and physical exam results.
  • Your health care directive, doctor order or both (if you have any of these documents).
  • Your insurance card, Medicare card (if you have one) and pharmacy card.
  • A photo ID.
  • Your device card if you have an implanted pacemaker or defibrillator.
  • Your glasses so you can fill out, read and sign paperwork.
  • A container for glasses or hearing aids (if you wear them).
  • A credit card, cash or check if you have insurance copays or if you are paying for the surgery yourself.
  • If the member of your care circle who will help you after surgery cannot come with you to the hospital, bring his or her phone number(s). Your health care team will need to call this person to give instructions.
  • A current list of your medicines, how much you take and when you took your last dose (include any prescription medicines, over-the-counter medicines, herbals, vitamins or other supplements).

If you are staying overnight at the hospital, bring:

  • your prescription medicines in their original bottles
  • a change of clothes, such as a robe and slippers
  • comb or brush
  • toothpaste and toothbrush

What not to bring to the hospital

Do not bring any of the following items:

  • Do not bring any valuables.
  • Do not wear jewelry or a watch. 
  • Do not bring credit cards or money unless you need them for copays or payment.

What to wear to surgery

  • Wear a short sleeve or sleeveless shirt. This will make it easier for your health care team to check your blood pressure and start an intravenous (IV) line in your hand or arm.
  • Wear loose-fitting clothing and comfortable shoes.
  • Do not wear contact lenses.
  • Do not wear make-up.
  • Do not wear mascara for 2 days before surgery. 

Source: Phillips Eye Institute, Eye Surgery: What You Need to Know, eye-pei-27858 (5/17)
Reviewed By: Marge Watry, director of patient care and chief nursing officer, Phillips Eye Institute
First Published: 05/10/2010
Last Reviewed: 06/14/2017

For more information
Call 612-775-8800