Recovering from LASIK Eye Surgery
For many people with astigmatism, nearsightedness (myopia), or farsightedness (hyperopia), LASIK surgery is a safe, effective, and life-changing option for vision correction — and it has minimal recovery time.
What Happens During LASIK?
LASIK is short for laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis. It is the best known and most commonly performed laser refractive surgery. The surgeon uses anesthetic drops to numb your eyes, so you experience little to no discomfort. You may also be given an oral medication to help you stay relaxed. A non-thermal beam of light then reshapes the cornea to help create naturally crisp images without the need for corrective lenses. There are two steps to the procedure. First, one laser creates a small flap on the cornea. Second, another laser changes the cornea’s surface.
The way the cornea is reshaped depends on the type of vision correction needed:
- To correct nearsightedness, the eye surgeon removes pieces of tissue to flatten the cornea.
- To correct farsightedness, a steeper curve is made to the contours of the cornea.
- In cases of astigmatism, irregularities on the cornea’s surface are smoothed out.
The actual laser treatment is incredibly quick, lasting less than a minute. The total procedure typically takes no longer than 15 minutes. Our expert team is trained to use state-of-the-art technology designed to provide customized treatments for each of our patients.
LASIK Eye Surgery Recovery Time
The recovery time for LASIK surgery is typically only a few days. In most cases, patients report clear vision within one to three days of surgery. Some people report being able to see clearly nearly immediately after surgery, but it can take up to a week for others in rare circumstances. Most people are able to return to work and other normal activities, including driving, the following day.
Following the procedure, you’ll be given medicated eye drops to help promote healing and eye health, along with detailed instructions for using the drops. You will also have a follow-up appointment the following day to ensure your recovery is proceeding smoothly and that there are no complications.
Steps for a Successful Recovery
After your surgery, you’ll want to take measures to help protect your eyes so they can heal wholly and without issue. Precautions to take include:
- Use your medicated drops as prescribed.
- Avoid rubbing or squeezing your eyes. Your surgery team will provide protective eye shields that you should wear while sleeping to help prevent rubbing your eyes.
- Refrain from strenuous activity and exercise for at least one week.
- Avoid swimming or hot tubs for at least one week.
- Do not apply eye makeup, creams, or lotions for at least one week.
Side Effects of LASIK
You may experience blurred vision during the recovery period. Burning, watering, a “sand-like” feeling, redness, or swelling are also common in the first 48 to 72 hours, and you may initially experience increased sensitivity to light. Fluctuations in your vision may occur for up to three months following your surgery. A very small percentage of people experience minor side effects after undergoing LASIK, the most common being dry eye. Others have also reported nighttime glare. The vast majority of LASIK cases result in high patient satisfaction and 20/20 vision or better.
Learn if LASIK Is Right for You
Typically, you’ll be considered a candidate for LASIK if you have no underlying eye conditions, like glaucoma, cataracts, or severe dry eye, and if you haven’t experienced a drastic change in your prescription over the past year. LASIK surgery may not be right for your unique needs, and there are other safe and effective alternatives available. Our helpful LASIK self-test can help you determine if you may be a candidate for LASIK or if there’s another treatment option that may be better suited for you.
Then, take the next step and meet with the trusted team of doctors at ICON Eyecare for a free consultation. Our surgeons have decades of combined experience and have helped thousands of patients, including professional athletes, local Denver celebrities and so many others see clearly with LASIK surgery. Request an appointment today at one of our five locations across the Front Range.