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.

  • Have your pre-surgery physical exam 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

If you are taking blood thinners such as warfarin (Jantoven®):

  • Have your INR drawn within 2 to 3 days before your surgery. Your doctor can fax the results to Phillips Eye Institute Call Center at 612-775-8931.

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):  

  • be with you at the hospital when you are ready to leave (discharge)
  • listen to and understand your After Visit Summary (discharge instructions for care at home)
  • stay with you for 24 hours after surgery.

If you do not have a responsible adult to help you, your surgery will be 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.

- You will need a responsible adult with you when you leave the hospital (discharge).

Food and liquid directions before surgery

These directions are based on your scheduled arrival time. Not following these directions could mean your procedure will be delayed or canceled.

Alcohol and tobacco: 24 hours

  • Do not drink any alcohol 24 hours before your scheduled arrival time.
  • Do not smoke, vape, use chewing tobacco or use any other tobacco products up to 24 hours before your scheduled arrival time. 

Regular foods: 8 hours

  • Eat your regular foods up to 8 hours before your scheduled arrival time.

Light solid foods: 6 hours

  • You may eat a light meal up to 6 hours before your scheduled arrival time. A light meal is:  
  •  juice or coffee with milk or cream
  • 1 piece of toast or 1 bowl of oatmeal or hot cereal.
  • Do not eat any nuts or nut butters.
  • Do not eat foods that are heavy or high in fat such as meat or fried foods. 

Clear liquids: 2 hours

  • Drink only clear liquids up to 2 hours before your scheduled arrival time:  
  • Drink water, fruit juice without pulp, black coffee, clear pop or tea.
  • Do not have milk, yogurt or energy drinks. 


  • Take your medicines as directed with a small sip of water.

Guidelines for babies

  • 6 hours before the scheduled arrival time
  • you may give formula.
  • 4 hours before the scheduled arrival time
  • you may give breastmilk.

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.
  • 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).

Also bring the following items if you are staying overnight in the hospital:

  • your prescription medicines in their original bottles
  • a change of clothes and pajamas
  • personal care items
  • CPAP machine if you use one

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

  • Do not wear mascara for 2 days before 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.

Source: Phillips Eye Institute, Eye Surgery: What You Need to Know, eye-pei-27858 (5/19)
Reviewed By: Marge Watry, director of patient care and chief nursing officer, Phillips Eye Institute
First Published: 05/10/2010
Last Reviewed: 06/20/2019

For more information
Call 612-775-8800