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After LASIK

What to Expect After LASIK Eye Surgery

By

Updated January 31, 2012

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

If you are scheduled for LASIK, it's a good idea to know what to expect immediately following your procedure. It is critical that you follow the instructions given to you by your surgeon. Remember that as your eyes begin to heal, what you do after the procedure can affect your final visual outcome.

Immediately Following LASIK

After your LASIK procedure, you will be sent home with specific instructions. You also will need to have someone help you home, so be sure to arrange that in advance. Your surgeon will likely prescribe antibiotic, steroid and/or anti-inflammatory eye drops and over-the-counter artificial tears. It is imperative that you instill these drops, even the over-the-counter artificial tears, exactly as prescribed.

After a LASIK procedure, you may experience mild discomfort, tearing, and light sensitivity for the first 24-48 hours. Most people do not experience pain after undergoing LASIK. Most moderate pain can be managed with over-the-counter non-steriodal anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen. Most surgeons recommend wearing sunglasses frequently for the first week. Your eyes will also appear red for about a week after surgery. Most patients experience small subconjunctival hemorrhages, blood spots on the white part of the eye. This is caused by the suction ring and require no treatment as they go away in about a week.

Tips Following LASIK

After your LASIK surgery procedure, keep the following tips in mind:
  • Keep your eyes closed as much as possible the first evening, your surgeon will likely to tell you to go home and sleep as soon as you can
  • Do not rub or squeeze your eyes for 1-2 weeks
  • Wear sunglasses if light sensitive
  • Avoid soap and water directly in the eye
  • Wear little to no makeup for a few days
  • Avoid contaminated water, such as pools and hot tubs for one week
  • Do not take part in risk activities or rigorous sport activities for at least one week

Post-Operative Appointment

Most surgeons schedule a post-operative follow-up appointment the next day after surgery. This is done to ensure that no complication related to the surgery develop. Your vision will be checked. Your doctor will also use a special slit lamp biomicroscope to examine the front part of the eye to see how healing is progressing. It is very important to keep up all your post-operative appointments so that if a complication does occur, your doctor can treat it before it progresses. An inadvertent finger in the eye while sleeping does not bode well so your doctor may recommend that you wear a protective shield while sleeping anywhere from 3-7 days. You will also be seen by your surgeon or optometrist for a post-operative visit the next day, in one week, one month, three months and six months following surgery.

Weeks Following LASIK

Most people complain of seeing glare, halos or decreased night vision after LASIK surgery during the weeks following a LASIK procedure. This resolves after a month or two. This is normal and should be expected. Do not become concerned if your vision is not as clear as you think it should be. Your vision will be evaluated at each post-operative visit to ensure that you have the best possible result. If it is clear that a residual refractive error, or prescription remains, another enhancement procedure can be performed on most patients. If required, this is performed at around 2 ½ - 3 months after the first procedure.

What You Should Know

It is important to immediately let your surgeon or optometrist know immediately if you have increased redness, discharge, pain, sensitivity to light or decreased vision after the procedure. Most doctors are available after hours for these types of concerns.

One important point to remember is that refractive surgery, such as LASIK, is not perfect. Surgeons do not guarantee that your vision will be perfect or that you will have 100% glasses free vision. LASIK is designed to reduce your dependency on glasses and contact lenses. However, in most cases, if you are a good candidate for the procedure, you will not require glasses or contact lenses after LASIK for most activities.

Source:

Azar, Dimitri T and Douglas D Koch. LASIK - Fundamentals, Surgical Techniques and Complications. Marcel Dekker, 2003.

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