When it comes to considering LASIK surgery, there are many factors to account for. Most folks weigh the cost against how badly it’s needed at the moment. However, we urge you to consider the lasting effects LASIK will have on your life. While the procedure itself is fast - generally around 10 minutes per eye - the recovery time has several stages. Then, after that, the world takes on a whole new light. Read on to learn more about how your life will change after LASIK surgery.
What to Expect While Recovering from LASIK
Immediately after LASIK surgery ...
The first thing our LASIK patients notice is that their vision has substantially improved. Despite this, you’ll still need to find someone else to drive you home as your eyes will be sensitive.
Some patients also report a mild burning, irritation, and/or sensitivity in the hours following their LASIK surgery. To help with the recovery process and to avoid additional stresses on your eyes during this time, we recommend LASIK patients rest in a dark room for about four hours. It’s the perfect excuse for a nap, don’t you think?
The immediate effects of LASIK surgery can be felt for around 6-12 hours. Most of your these effects should subside before your 1-day check up.
A few days after LASIK surgery...
The first day after your surgery, you’ll return for your 1-day follow up visit. This is where your LASIK surgeon will check to make sure nothing has changed since they last saw you. They’ll remind you not to apply pressure to your eyes for four days following your surgery. They’ll also remind you to wear your eye shield for the first 4-5 nights or whenever you’re sleeping.
As your eyes continue to heal, you’ll become accustomed to your new vision. This may mean you experience brief blurry vision, but generally you will see brighter colors and clearer motion from the world around you. Another thing you may notice in the days following your LASIK surgery is how easy your morning and evening routines become.
Lastly, we want to address any dark red spots you may see on the white of your eyes in the days following your LASIK surgery. These spots are similar to bruising you might get on other parts of your body. Also, similar to normal bruising, it’s nothing to worry about and will go away in time.
A few weeks after LASIK surgery...
While you’ll be able to return to sedentary work or school in the days following your procedure, we advise our patients to avoid strenuous activity, such as working out, for at least a week. Similarly, your surgeon may advise you to use antibiotic and steroid eye drops for the first week after LASIK surgery. Lastly, you will also want to avoid swimming.
Your first week after LASIK will conclude with a 1-week follow up appointment with your surgeon. Over the following weeks, however, you may notice sight variations in your vision. We want to assure you this is part of the normal healing process.
A few months after LASIK surgery...
By this time, most LASIK patients become accustomed to their new routines. They no longer worry about remembering to take their contacts out before bed, or how sweat may drip into their eyes while working out. It’s also around this time that, if you experienced a reduction in tear production, that your tear production will return to normal.
In terms of appointments you can expect a 1-month, 3-month, & 6-month follow up appointment with your eye doctor. If anything were to arise concerning your LASIK procedure, it typically would appear between three and six months post-surgery and these appointments provide an excellent time to check in with your eye doctor.
A few years after LASIK surgery…
The last follow up appointment you’ll have for your LASIK procedure will be a 1-year check in. While you won't have any specific appointments to check on your LASIK recovery after that, we strongly recommend you continue to see your eye care provider annually. This way, you'll be able to prevent and detect other vision-related conditions that could impair your LASIK improved vision. Cataracts and glaucoma are just two of such conditions we look out for in our patients.
Beyond appointments, the world is your oyster! We hear many of our patients saying they were able to fully enjoy special trips or time with family that would have been seriously impaired by glasses or forgotten contacts. The physical burden of vision aids will be gone. Additionally, you won’t have to worry about paying for them either. The cost of LASIK is often a pain point for those considering LASIK. However, it is much more cost effective than just 10 years of glasses or contacts and lasts much longer.
How Long Does LASIK Last?
As we’ve discussed earlier, the burden LASIK surgery removes from your life is a wonderful feeling. One concern we often hear, especially from our younger patients that have their surgery in their teens and early 20s, is whether or not their LASIK will last throughout their lifetime.
While it is possible for patients to require undergoing LASIK a second time, it is rare. It is only really in cases involving trauma, such as a pet scratching your eye and displacing the LASIK adjustment, that an update will be necessary. In all but a few cases, yes, LASIK will continue to maintain your clear vision well into your retirement years.
If you’ve been living with glasses or contacts for a while, then you may not realize how big of an impact they have on your life. Pardon the pun, but you can go blind to it. After LASIK, you realize just how much your vision aids were holding you back. We strongly encourage anyone considering LASIK to contact our LASIK center to schedule a consultation. Our veteran surgeons will be happy to go over the immediate and long term benefits of LASIK, and how it can improve your quality of life.">