What to Expect: LASIK Recovery

Many people avoid LASIK because they are afraid of the recovery time or potential side effects. Like any procedure, LASIK requires recovery time, but is much quicker and less intensive than many people think. Knowing a few tips before your procedure can help your LASIK recovery time go smoother than you ever thought possible.

Precautions to Take

Before surgery, you will meet with your doctor to evaluate your medical history and your eyes. Your doctor will recommend you discontinue wearing your contact lenses for anywhere from days to weeks before your evaluation and your surgery. On the day of your surgery, you should eat a light meal, avoid wearing any eye makeup, facial lotions, or bulky hair accessories.

Dry Eyes

Dry eyes are very common in LASIK patients, although most conditions are temporary and mild. Dry eyes after LASIK are caused by inadequate tear production. While meeting with your doctor during your pre-LASIK consultation, you should mention any eye symptoms that could indicate a dry eye problem. Ironically, even excessive tearing can indicate you have dry eyes. Taking Omega-3 fatty acid supplements, eating foods that contain Omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, and drinking plenty of water can keep your eyes hydrated.

Most cases of dry eyes are mild and disappear with time, but be sure to discuss the possibility of dry eyes with your doctor.

How Long is The Recovery Time?

Recovery ranges for many people. Some feel fine after LASIK, while others feel only mild discomfort, including burning or itching. After LASIK, your doctor will recommend you rest. You will not be able to drive, so you should plan on having someone pick you up after surgery. Some people are able to return to work the day after their procedure and others need a few additional days of rest. To ensure you achieve the highest level of recovery:

  • Do not rub your eyes.
  • Do not wear eye makeup or apply skin lotions near your eyes.
  • Do not swim or use a hot tub.
  • Avoid strenuous activity or contact sports.
  • Do not drive at night until you are told it is safe to do so.
  • Contact your eye doctor immediately if you develop new, unusual or worsening symptoms.
  • Use all prescription medicines and artificial tears as directed.

It is recommended you avoid getting water in your eyes, strenuous exercise and contact sports for a week after surgery. Besides a few precautions and restrictions following surgery, recovery time is very quick, especially considering the amazing results that LASIK provides for your eyesight. For your eyesight to reach its full potential and for you to be able to enjoy all of your old activities, healing time may take up to 6 months.

At What Point Should I Follow-up with My Doctor?

Your doctor will most likely schedule a check-up appointment within 48 hours of your surgery to examine your eyes and test your vision. You may also be given medicated eye drops to help prevent infection. If at any point you feel uncomfortable or are experiencing symptoms that your doctor has not discussed with you, you should not hesitate to contact him/her.