What will your improved eyesight be? Will your eyes hurt? Can you return to your favorite activities shortly after your procedure? These are just a few of the common questions people ask when they want to know what to expect with LASIK recovery.
Knowing what to expect with LASIK recovery in the days and months following your procedure, and sticking to a few guidelines, can help your eyes heal to their full potential and help you take the best care of your eyes while they heal. Here’s what to expect with LASIK recovery after 24 hours, one to three months, and three to six months.
24 Hours Post-LASIK
The healing process for LASIK is very quick. Most patients have blurry or hazy vision the first day, but they see improvement over the following days. You’ll need a follow-up appointment in the 24 to 48 hours following your procedure, as well as appointments over the next six months, to ensure your eyes heal properly.
Immediately following your procedure, your eyes will be dry, whether they feel dry or not. Your doctor will prescribe eye drops to help you keep your eyes hydrated and to prevent infection or inflammation. The eye drops may burn, blur your vision, or irritate your eyes, but it is essential to only use the eye drops given to you by your doctor.
Even though your vision may seem satisfactory, you’ll need to arrange a ride to get home post-procedure. While you will be able to see, you’ll be on pain medication and your vision will be impaired, so it’s best to have someone else do the driving.
As soon as you arrive home, you should also take a nap. Your eyes are about to get a little irritated and might be itchy, so it’s best to sleep through this stage of the healing process.
One to Three Months Post-LASIK
Helping with Eye Sensitivity
In the weeks following your procedure, it will be very important to be careful about what comes into contact with your eye. Your eyes are healing from your procedure and will be very sensitive to any contaminants they are exposed to.
Your doctor will provide you with a pair of eye shields and protective sunglasses to keep your eyes safe while you sleep and travel outside. It’s essential to wear your eye shields while you sleep to prevent any unintentionally eye rubbing.
What You Can and Can’t Do
Taking a shower and avoiding the area around your eyes is always a unique challenge. However, if you feel you’re up to the task, it’s okay to take a shower later on in the day following your procedure. Just be careful to keep water, soap, and any other chemicals out of your eyes.
You’ll also need to avoid any contaminated water for at least a week until your eyes heal a little— that includes lakes, rivers, pools, hot tubs, and oceans. If swimming is a passion, wearing goggles in the week after your procedure will help keep your eyes safe.
After one week of recovering from your LASIK procedure, you can begin to exercise again at a lighter pace. If you’re into lifting weights, do not immediately return to free weights. Instead, give your eyes another week and use the machines. For those who enjoy contact sports, wear goggles for at least the first month following your procedure. The last thing you want is someone poking your eye while it’s healing.
Eye makeup is also a no-no during this time. Eyeliner, mascara, application brushes, eye creams, eyeshadow, and concealer can easily enter your eye during the application process with a slip of the hand, causing irritation.
For an easy explanation of when you can return to your regular activities, check out this table from the FDA.
In the first few months following your LASIK procedure, it’s easy to forget your eyes are still healing and slip back into your regular routine. Your eyes may seem like they are fully recovered, but they’re still healing and need the proper time to recover to give you the clear vision you deserve.
Three to Six Months Post-LASIK
The healing process for each patient will vary. While your vision will clear up and the blurriness will likely subside in the weeks following your procedure, your eyes will still be healing for at least six months. It’s essential to schedule appointments and meet with your physician as requested in the months following your procedure to make sure that your eyes are healing properly. Your eye health is not just important to you—it’s important to your doctor and his or her team as well!
With certain eye conditions, it may take a little longer for your eyes to fully heal. If you have severe myopia—nearsightedness—your doctor may suggest an additional pair of eyeglasses in the months following your procedure to relieve strain on your eyes and give them more time to heal. You will likely not need to permanently rely on these frames, but wearing them in the months post-procedure can help with your healing process. Every recovery is different and unique to each patient, but our goal for clearer vision is the same.
The healing process following your LASIK procedure is key for your future with clear vision. To take your first step to better, clearer vision, speak with a professional and learn more about what to expect with LASIK recovery.
At Williamson Eye Institute, we are dedicated to assisting our patients with their vision and eye-related needs throughout the years. To find out more about our services, visit our website or call our office to schedule a personal consultation. You can also find us on Facebook or LinkedIn.