The thought of any surgery causes most people some concern, and a surgery like LASIK that affects a fundamental sense can seem especially stressful. Fortunately, LASIK surgery has become a safe procedure with a high success rate, and the recovery reflects that fact. Although short-term lifestyle changes and a few precautions are necessary, the recovery from LASIK is generally quick and free of complications.
Here’s a primer on what to expect after your LASIK procedure.
Immediately after Surgery
After your laser eye surgery, you will need to plan on very limited activity. You will also need someone to drive you home. Most surgery centers recommend that patients avoid reading and staring at fixed objects to minimize strain on the eyes, so rest is the best thing for the time immediately after your procedure.
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During this period, protecting your eyes is a top concern. Most LASIK patients are given shields to be worn over the eyes, lowering the likelihood of infection or accidental damage. After LASIK, many people experience mild feelings of eye irritation, from itchiness to the sensation of something like an eyelash being stuck in the eye. An eye cover can prevent absent-minded rubbing or other contact.
One Week after Surgery
Most doctors require their LASIK patients to return for a check-up within 48 hours of the procedure. During this check-up, the doctor can examine the eyes and conduct a vision test. Some patients experience temporary visual issues after LASIK, and the check-up is an excellent time to discuss these concerns. In very rare cases, LASIK patients experience blurry vision or other lingering issues that may be indicative of a problem. If you notice issues like light sensitivity or prolonged eye irritation, you should bring it up to your eye doctor immediately.
During the week after surgery, you should continue to avoid contact activities and touching of the eyes. Many people take several days off of work, as blurry vision can persist and contacts should not be worn under any circumstances. To lower the risk of infection, you shouldn’t apply lotion, make-up, or other products near the eye for at least a week.
First Month after Surgery
Even a month after your surgery, you may still have to limit certain activities. You should avoid swimming pools and hot tubs, as well as activities that might force water into the eyes, to lower the risk of infection or damage. After a month, you will be able to participate in contact sports, but caution is recommended, as a bump or blow could still harm the eye at this point. If your job or hobby exposes you to small particles of dust or dirt that might enter your eyes, precautions like goggles are a smart idea. Other visits to the doctor may also be necessary during this time. It is natural for people who have had LASIK to experience mild visual issues that take months to settle. A doctor can verify that healing is progressing and that any problems are normal.
Although the recovery period does require some small changes, LASIK truly offers a quick solution to a lifelong problem. LASIK eye surgery is not the right option for everyone, but for people who are eligible, it provides convenience and life-changing results in return for a brief and uncomplicated recovery period.