Before undergoing a LASIK procedure, many patients want to know what to expect from the recovery process. Fortunately, LASIK is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure that is effective in over 98% of cases. It is extremely safe, effective, and requires a minimal recovery period. In fact, patients are able to walk, move around and see on the very first day.
As with any procedure, there is some discomfort that occurs afterward. However, the discomfort is minimal, and your eyes will begin to heal immediately after the procedure is concluded. In the days and weeks following LASIK, patients report significantly improved vision. However, on rare occasions it can take three to six months for your vision to normalize totally.
The majority of patients see well enough to drive the next day.
On the day of the procedure, you will need someone to drive you home. The same day of the procedure and for several days after, you may have some symptoms such as light sensitivity, blurry vision, and you may see glares or halos around lights. Many patients also find that their eyes are temporarily drier than normal.
In order to protect your eyes as much as possible, your LASIK Surgeon will give you plastic shields for your eyes which you may need to use while sleeping for the first several days. These shields help keep your eyes safe from accidental injury while you’re sleeping.
One of the biggest tips to help patients recover from LASIK is rest. Most patients take only one day off of work after the procedure. Additionally, during the first several hours after returning home, our physicians recommend that you rest and give your eyes time to heal. Following your LASIK surgeon’s instructions and some of the tips below will help make your recovery as smooth as possible.
Blue light can be irritating to your eyes. Avoiding blue light-emitting screens and devices in the hours after your procedure can help minimize irritation. Additionally, if your eyes feel too agitated or itchy, use the eye drops that your LASIK surgeon provides after the procedure.
Avoiding rubbing your eyes after the procedure is one of the most important things you can do to help your recovery. During LASIK there is a small flap created on the surface of the eye and excessive rubbing can cause the flap to wrinkle or dislocate. Should complications occur with the flap, additional treatment may be required so it’s essential to avoid rubbing your eyes in the days after the procedure.
If you go to the gym regularly, you may want to consider taking several days off or engaging in less strenuous exercise to give your body enough time to rest and recover. Even though your body may feel fine, your eyes are still undergoing a healing process, and strenuous exercise may affect your recovery. If you’re a swimmer, make sure you let your surgeon know before LASIK.
Finally, make sure you attend all post-procedure appointments. Patient follow-up is extremely important to ensure that the healing process is occurring correctly. Catching any anomalies early will also help avoid any unlikely complications that may arise later on.
LASIK is a minimally invasive procedure, but there is still a mandatory recovery time before you can resume all aspects of your everyday life. Apart from the medical recommendations like not scratching your eyes or engaging in strenuous exercise, there are some recommendations that will help your recovery.
First, using any sort of makeup like mascara, eyeliner, or shadows around your eyes is not recommended during at least he first week. The fine dust and chemicals can fine their way into your eyes and potentially cause irritation or even infection.
Additionally, swimmers who have LASIK must avoid the pool for 10 – 14 days. Pools have harsh chemicals and lots of germs, both of which could cause long-term damage to your eyes and vision with premature exposure.
If you clean a lot or work wtih hash chemicals, you will want to avoid those activities for two weeks after your LASIK procedure. Even the vapors of these chemicals are caustic enough to cause severe eye irritation. Saunas and steam showers are included in this category. Even though there are no chemicals, these areas create an environment that could interfere with the natural healing process. This will increase the likelihood of scratching and ocular inflammation which could lead to serious complications.
Finally, even if it’s winter out, it is best to wear polarized sun glasses to protect your eyes for the light. Your eyes may be very sensitive in the hours and das after LASIK, so adding any extra layer like glasses to keep them safe is crucial to the healing process.
SMILE is a new type of vision correction procedure that is even less invasive than LASIK. SMILE Makes an even smaller incision in the eye so recovery time is even less. The recovery time is reduced from a couple of weeks to one day and there are zero post-operative restrictions. If you’ve been considering LASIK but are worried about the recovery time, you may want to consider SMILE which could be a better option for you.
If you’re considering LASIK, please set up your free consultation today. Not ready to commit to a consultation just yet? Schedule a 15-minute phone call with a LASIK coordinator to find out if LASIK, PRK or SMILE is right for you.
David Lemieux, BA from Oakland University is a LASIK expert and marketing professional that has worked with Dr. Dan Haddad and the Laser Eye Institute since 2017. David believes in education and cutting through the noise to deliver facts and opinions about LASIK, SMILE, and all things Laser Vision Correction.