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LASIK Recovery Time: What to Expect After LASIK Surgery

LASIK Recovery Time: What to Expect and More

LASIK Recovery Time: What to Expect and More

For many long time glasses and contact lenses users, taking the leap into the world of refractive surgeries like LASIK (Laser-Assisted in Situ Keratomileusis) is a life-changing decision. With the promise of clear vision without the need for glasses or contact lenses, LASIK has become an increasingly popular procedure. But what happens after the laser stops buzzing, and how long does it take to actually see the world in its newfound clarity? In this guide to LASIK recovery, we break down what patients can expect from the moment they leave the procedure room to the weeks and months that follow.

The First 24 Hours Post-LASIK

The immediate aftermath of LASIK is critical for initial healing. Most patients can expect to leave the clinic with their vision significantly improved, but also with some common side effects that typically subside within the next 24 hours.

Vision Fluctuations and Clarity

After the numbing drops wear off, it's normal for your vision to be hazy or blurry. Your eyes will be adjusting, and it may take several hours before you start to notice any improvements.

Rest and Avoiding Screens

LASIK means downtime for your eyes, and the first thing on your to-do list should be rest. This includes avoiding screens, keeping your eyes closed, and adhering to the nap your body is likely begging for post-surgery. This period is a delicate time for your corneas and overusing your eyes could lead to complications or slower healing.

Medications and Eye Drops

Your vision care provider will prescribe a regimen of eye drops to prevent infection, reduce inflammation, and keep your eyes lubricated. It's important to follow the instructions meticulously to ensure a smooth recovery.

Protective Eyewear

You'll receive a pair of protective goggles or shades to wear as you sleep in the first few nights to prevent accidental touching or rubbing of your eyes, especially during sleep.

The First Week After LASIK

The first week is marked by a series of follow-up appointments and a gradual clearing of your vision. Expect some discomfort, which fades day by day.

Follow-Up Appointments

It's typical to have at least one follow-up appointment within 24-48 hours after LASIK. This check-up ensures your eyes are healing correctly and allows your surgeon to make any necessary adjustments to your post-operative care routine.

Vision Restoration

Within a day or two, most patients notice a significant improvement in their vision. It will continue to clear up over the next several days, until you reach peak visual acuity.

Avoiding Major Physical Activities

While light exercise is usually permitted, avoid activities like contact sports that could lead to eye injuries. Your corneas are still healing, and you want to minimize any risks.

Shielding from the Sun

For at least the first week, it's best to avoid direct sunlight or wear UV-protective sunglasses outdoors, as your eyes may be more sensitive to light.

Taking Time Off Work

It's recommended to take a few days off work to rest and recover. Your vision may be clear, but your eyes will still be adjusting and you should avoid any activities that could strain them.

Weeks 2-4 Post-LASIK

The second to fourth weeks are a period of continued healing, during which your eyes might still experience some dryness and fluctuating vision but at a much lesser intensity than in the immediate post-op phase.

Vision Stabilization

Your vision will continue to improve and should stabilize by the end of the third to fourth week. It's common to have some days where your vision may seem slightly better or worse than the previous day, but significant changes should be rare.

Gradual Return to Normal Activities

During this time, you can gradually return to your normal routine with a few exceptions. It's still best to avoid swimming, hot tubs, and any dusty or dirty environments that could potentially irritate your eyes.

Eye Protection While Sleeping

Depending on your surgeon's advice, you might still be wearing protective goggles or shields at night to prevent any unconscious rubbing of your eyes, which can be damaging during this important healing period.

Dry Eye Management

It's not uncommon for LASIK patients to experience dry eyes. Your surgeon may recommend artificial tears or a more advanced dry eye treatment to manage this common side effect.

Months After LASIK

Months after LASIK, you should be back to your normal routine with the benefit of clear vision. However, you are not completely out of the woods.

Final Vision Quality

Your vision may not peak until a few months post-op as the cornea continues to heal and take its final shape. You may need to return to your surgeon for a final refraction to determine if you require any additional vision correction.

Managing Night Vision Issues

Some patients experience glare, halos, or starbursts, especially when driving at night. While these symptoms often diminish over time, you should not hesitate to discuss them with your surgeon if they persist.

Long-Term Eye Health

Your long-term eye health is crucial. Continue to follow your eye care routine, protect your eyes from UV damage, and keep in contact with your vision care team regularly to ensure your eyes remain in optimal health. UELC is committed to making your LASIK eye surgery a success. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and find out if LASIK is right for you.  

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