The LASIK Recovery Process
Laser eye surgery—such as LASIK surgery—is a great option for people who want a lasting, cost-effective vision solution that gives them the freedom to do what they love free of glasses or contacts. However, enjoying these benefits may not be as simple as going in for a procedure and then going right back to your day-to-day routine for everyone. Here are a few things you should know about what to expect with LASIK recovery and what can affect your LASIK recovery time.
How Long is LASIK Recovery?
There are various stages of LASIK recovery time. A lot of people notice significantly enhanced vision immediately following their LASIK eye surgery. Most patients can return to their normal routine in just a few days.
After laser eye surgery, it will be important to use the eye drops prescribed by your eye doctor to maximize the healing process and prevent any infection. For each stage in the LASIK recovery timeline, keep in mind that there are different expectations in terms of visual results, steps in your aftercare, and tips to speed up the healing process.
The First Day After LASIK Surgery
On the first day, you must wear a protective eye covering and be driven home to rest. Wear this covering until the next morning and swap it with any protective sunglasses you received from your doctor. You can shower after the first day, but avoid irritating your eyes with water or soap.
You may experience some eye discomfort the first day after LASIK surgery. Usually this means dryness, blurriness, itchiness, and light sensitivity. However, these symptoms should be alleviated with lubricating eye drops prescribed by your doctor and over-the-counter pain relief medication. If you experience worsening pain, contact your physician.
The First Week After LASIK
Your physician will want to see you at least a couple of days following your laser eye procedure to ensure your LASIK recovery is going smoothly. During the first week and onward of your healing process, you should be using the eye drops and pain medication as often as prescribed.
You will need to avoid touching your eyes, using eye makeup (and remover) and creams, doing yard work, night driving, and exercise. Avoid coming into contact with general eye irritants (e.g. dust, smoke). This will prevent infection and allow the incision to heal.
To maintain the safety of your eyes throughout the healing process, wear UV-protective eyewear or protective goggles outside and during physical activity or home improvement tasks.
After the First Week
The eye discomfort and light issues you may have initially experienced should be gone or at least substantially better. You will be visiting your eye doctor periodically over the next year so they can check on the progress of your eyes.
Although uncommon—if you’re experiencing vision issues after your procedure, your doctor may recommend getting a LASIK enhancement surgery to improve your eyesight further.
Factors That Affect LASIK Recovery Time
There are a few factors that can affect your LASIK recovery time outside of just following your laser eye surgeon’s guidelines. Not using your eye drops as directed, dry eyes, and other vision issues can extend your recovery time after LASIK. Individuals with a more extreme eye prescription may also experience a longer recovery time.
FAQ: Laser Eye Surgery Recovery
Will I Have 20/20 Vision After LASIK?
There’s no guarantee that LASIK surgery will give you perfect vision, but it is highly successful. Most LASIK recipients experience quick, notable results with vision so close to 20/20 that they may no longer depend on corrective lenses.
How Long Do the Effects of Laser Eye Surgery Last?
While your vision will continue to change as part of the aging process, LASIK permanently reshapes your cornea. Most patients enjoy their new vision for years to come.
Will My Activities Be Restricted During LASIK Recovery?
Depending on how quickly you tend to heal, you can typically return to most normal activities in a few days. Your surgeon will go over any restrictions at the time of surgery and following your 1 day post-operative appointment. Some temporary restrictions immediately following surgery may include driving, showering, rubbing your eyes, reading, swimming, exercise, and sports. It is also recommended that you stay away from dirty and dusty environments. These restrictions are only temporary and your doctor will instruct you on when you can resume these activities.
What are the most common LASIK recovery complications?
Some common LASIK recovery complications include irritation, discomfort, and night glares. To minimize any recovery complications, visit your eye doctor for several follow-up visits within the first year of your procedure. These follow-up visits allow your eye doctor to follow your healing process. If you experience any vision issues following your LASIK procedure, we advise you to contact your eye doctor immediately.
Picking an experienced surgeon is important when considering laser eye surgery. At Specialty Eye Institute, we have an excellent team of experienced eye surgeons and our complication rate is extremely low.
Schedule your LASIK consultation to learn more!