Recovering From Laser Eye Surgery

What To Expect

After surgery your eyes will be covered with a protective pad and your optometrist will recommended that pads are kept in place for around 24 hours. You might experience some slight discomfort however this is quite normal and will subside over the days following surgery.

Your optometrist will often prescribe painkillers to alleviate some of this discomfort. General recommendations for recovery are similar for both LASIK and PRK surgery but the healing time expected is different.

How Long Does It Take To Recover From Laser Eye Surgery?


Video Transcript

So after the surgery I went home and they gave me some sleeping tablets because the first 24 hours can be a bit sore so it’s best to sleep through I got told, so I just tried to sleep as much as possible. For a few days I was being helped to put drops in because I wasn’t used to putting eye drops in. I stayed in my bedroom with my tinfoil on my windows to keep it really dark and cool in there. Then by sort of day four I had to go back to get my contact lens, the bandages removed, but it took me about a week to get back to normal.


Being Discharged From The Surgery

You will need to prepare for being discharged from surgery in advance by firstly making sure that someone is with them when they leave and/or arranging transport, as it's unlikely you will be able to drive following laser eye surgery.

It's also a good idea to have a pair of sunglasses to hand, as eyes could feel extremely sensitive to the light, especially sunlight. A course of antibiotic and anti-inflammatory eye drops are usually given which help to prevent infection and assist in the healing process.

Preparing Things At Home

laser eye recovery

When the pads are removed your eyesight may remain blurred for a couple of days with LASIK surgery but up to a week with PRK so it's advisable to arrange for someone to stay with you for a few days following the procedure. With LASIK, it takes about a month for vision to stabilise but with PRK it can be between three to six months, as it takes one to 3 months for the epithelium that was wiped away to re-grow.

Either way, it's crucial that the eyes aren't strained or put in any danger during this time. It's best that you avoid sports during this time, as even touching the eyes could cause problems and prolong the healing process.

It may be tempting to rub your eyes, especially as they begin to heal but to ensure your eyes heal properly you must make sure that you resist touching and rubbing your eyes. You could try wearing sunglasses at home to prevent any subconscious acts of rubbing or touching. Sunglasses could also provide additional protection against any dust or debris getting into the eye and prolonging the healing process.

Your optometrist may recommend wearing darkened eye shields and goggles to help the healing process. These will protect your eyes from bright lights during the day and from you subconsciously touching them during sleep. Soap and water must be kept away from the eyes, so have a bath instead of taking showers and try to refrain from shampooing your hair for the first few days.

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What Results Can I Expect?

Laser eye surgery typically yields impressive results, with the vast majority of patients achieving 20/20 vision following the treatment.

This means there is no longer a need for glasses or contact lenses, which can drastically improve self-esteem. Immediately following the removal of the eye pads provided by your surgeon, you may experience blurred vision for a couple of days. You should avoid straining your eyes during this time, so having sunglasses on hand if you are out and about can help with your recovery. The results of your laser eye surgery will depend on factors such as your overall health, the type of vision impairment that is being corrected, and the type of procedure you undergo. LASIK for example has a typically high success rate; analysis from the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery revealed that in 2008, the worldwide satisfaction rate among LASIK patients was 95.4%.

It’s important to note that health conditions such as diabetes can impact the success of your laser eye surgery. Discuss with your surgeon the results you can expect to see during your initial consultation.

Are The Results Permanent?

Research has shown that the results of laser eye surgery are indeed permanent.

Analysis of PRK and LASEK over 14 years and LASIK over eight years has affirmed the permanence of laser eye surgery. However, eyes that have undergone laser corrective surgery are not immune to the natural changes that occur with age. Eyesight is always evolving, which is why it is recommended that patients are at least 21 years of age before undergoing any form of corrective treatment. Although the changes made to the shape of the cornea are permanent, our eyes evolve and change with time, and so the need may once again arise for glasses even following successful treatment. However, studies have shown that this effect is minimal, and that once you surpass the age of 50, your prescription will change by just half a dioptre on average every decade.

Returning To Work And Everyday Activities

Your optometrist will advise you following surgery that you will be able to return to work within two to three days of surgery however this will depend on the nature of the work and surgery undergone. Your optometrist will be able to also give you guidance on when you can realistically look to return to your everyday activities and exercise routine.

Things To Avoid

  • Your eyes are likely to be sensitive to light immediately after your treatment. Wearing a hat and sunglasses for a few days can prevent discomfort and also avoid anything getting into your eyes.
  • Whilst your eyes are healing, you should not rub or touch them, even if they are painful.
  • It is advisable to speak to your consultant to agree when you can resume hobbies such as sporting activities. It is recommended that four weeks should pass before taking part in swimming and contact sports.
  • Ideally, eye makeup should be avoided for around two weeks after surgery, although, if this is not possible, you should refrain for at least the first few days. You are also advised to avoid smoky or dusty environments.

Got Any Further Questions?

Got a whole list of burning questions you want to ask about laser eye surgery and don't know where to start? Try reading our laser eye surgery frequently asked questions section where you can find the answer to everything from "Am I Suitable For Laser Eye Surgery?" to "Is Laser Eye Surgery Permanent?".

Or why not talk with one of our trained advisers who can point you in the right direction by calling us on 020 7424 3130 or arranging a call back by entering a few details at the top of this page.

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