Most patients will notice results immediately after their LASIK surgery. However, during the first few days following the procedure it is expected that patients may experience blurry vision or fluctuations in vision. Typically, vision will gradually improve over the course of four weeks after the surgery. For complete visual recovery to occur, it generally takes about three to six months. In that healing phase, patients may also notice halos around lights and their vision dimming in the evening.
How Long Does Surgery Take?
The description of the LASIK surgery sounds complicated, but the actual procedure takes less than ten minutes per eye. A bladeless LASIK usually comes in contact with the eyes for only 20-50 seconds, and the remainder of the procedure is downtime. In total, you will be in the office for almost an hour-and-a-half, depending on the amount of correction time and post-procedure follow-up.
(2 to 7 Days)
Immediately after LASIK surgery, patients may experience these symptoms for a week or so:
- Mild sensitivity right after the LASIK procedure
- Dry eyes or irritation
- Watery eyes
- Blurry vision
LASIK patients tend to notice an immediate improvement with their vision that doesn’t require prescription glasses, but blurry vision may also appear, which is normal since the vision fluctuates right after surgery. For dry eyes, irritation, and sensitivity, the LASIK technician and eye doctor may recommend preservative-free artificial tears and a mild pain reliever. The symptoms are nothing that at-home care won’t take care of, and they should disappear within a week.
(About 6 Months)
After the first week of recovery, you may still notice a change in your vision—that’s completely normal, because in the first three to six months your newly reshaped cornea(s) may still be adjusting. During this stabilization period, you will continue to experience improved vision. Please talk to your optometrist if vision issues persist well into the six-month mark, such as:
- Difficulty driving at night
In some cases, people require a second LASIK procedure to enhance the already modified cornea.
Do’s and Don’ts
To speed up the LASIK recovery time directly after the procedure, the Boulder Eyes/Boulder LASIK staff has quick tips for patients to follow:
- Ask a family member or friend to drive you home
- Wear plastic eye shields to minimize exposure to sunlight
- Right after LASIK surgery, try to keep eyes closed for at least 2–4 hours
- Take prescribed medication, such as mild pain relievers and artificial tears
- Rest your eyes
That means resting your body and eyes for at least 24 hours. It’s important to give yourself the extra recovery time. For your second day, post procedure, keep these “do’s” and “dont’s” in mind for LASIK recovery.
Right after surgery you should be able to:
- Drive during the day
- Work out equipment
- Watch TV
- Use the computer
To encourage a healthy recovery, it’s important NOT TO do the following for the first week after surgery:
- Drive at night
- Rub your eyes
- Turn on the ceiling fan
- Put on makeup or lotions near your eyes
Eye Conditions After Surgery
Having LASIK can change the treatment of future, unrelated conditions, including the treatment of these eye conditions:
- Presbyopia: A condition of the eye in which the lens is unable to focus, presbyopia usually occurs around the age of 40.Getting a LASIK procedure early on in life doesn’t guarantee that presbyopia won’t appear later on. You will still be required to wear reading glasses after LASIK, especially if you have presbyopia. Ask your eye doctor if you can get a modified version of LASIK, like monovision and multifocal LASIK, to reduce the need for reading glasses.
- Cataracts: LASIK has no influence on the development of cataracts (clouding of the lens). However, it can affect the type of intraocular lens power to correct the clouding lens and whether or not you will be glasses-free after the procedure. To improve the results of a cataract surgery, make sure to get a copy of your cornea measurements that were taken after your LASIK treatment.
- Glaucoma: There is no evidence that LASIK increases the risk of glaucoma— however, you should tell your general optometrist about the LASIK procedure, so they are aware of your corneal thickness and are able to determine the best approach for glaucoma treatment.
Contact Your Doctor if You Have Any Questions About LASIK Recovery
Minimal post-procedure symptoms make LASIK a painless and quick recovery. If you have concerns regarding this laser corrective technique, please contact Boulder Eyes/Boulder LASIK for more information. Contact us at (303) 499-2020 to schedule a consultation so we can discuss all of your questions.