If you’ve decided to join the ranks of Americans who have opted for LASIK eye surgery, congratulations! Over the years, this popular surgery has helped more than 40 million people worldwide. As its popularity has grown, so have the refinements that make it a very successful procedure.
After you have undergone your short surgery, you will need to adhere to proper LASIK aftercare to make sure that you heal well. While nearly all patients can return to regular activity within a day or so after the procedure, you must take some precautions to optimize your healing process. Read on to understand what to expect after LASIK eye surgery.
Your LASIK Aftercare Timeline
You will need to be careful of your eyes for about a month after surgery. This timeline explains what to do during the four weeks while your eyes are healing:
If you can, avoid going into work for 1-2 days after your treatment. You may experience different types of strain that could hinder your healing process if you jump back into computer use and extended reading too soon.
Get your house as clean and as dust-free as possible before LASIK. Dirt and dust can be an eye irritant after surgery and in some cases can be the catalyst for infection. To reduce bacteria count, you will also want to take a shower before your surgery. You’ll need to avoid showering for at least the rest of the day afterward, so you’ll want to take care of that before you arrive on surgery day.
Additionally, discard any open cosmetics that you have. Makeup can be a breeding ground for bacteria, so make sure that you’re using unopened, sterile products when you resume using makeup.
1. The First Six Hours
You may experience some discomfort during this time. It’s important to keep your eyes closed and avoid bright lights. Your doctor may have given you pain medicine and eye drops to help keep your eyes more comfortable and to begin the healing process.
Enlist a friend or family member to drive you home after your LASIK procedure.
2. The First 24 Hours
Avoid straining your eyes. This means limiting reading, watching TV, using your smartphone, playing video games, and looking at your computer screen. Additionally, avoid any strenuous activity. We’ll talk more about patient exercise routines below.
Be careful to avoid getting soap, chemical products, or non-sterile water in your eyes. In general, you just want to be very careful around your eyes, especially during the early post-operative period.
You will likely return to your eye doctor for a follow-up exam to make sure that you are healing well the day after your procedure.
3. The First Two Weeks
If you are healing well, you can be driving, working, and returning to your pre-surgery routine. During this time, you must minimize the risk of infection and irritation to your eyes.
After 48-72 hours, you can go back to using computers and reading. Light use at first is best and work up to regular use again as you feel comfortable.
Light exercise is fine, such as biking or walking, but you must still avoid strenuous activity such as yoga, aerobics, running, or lifting weights if they cause you to squeeze your eyes tightly closed or strain too much. Stay away from areas with dust, smoke, and other irritants.
Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from the UV rays of the sun, and make sure that you use any prescribed eye medications. Don’t use makeup, creams, and lotions near your eyes, and don’t go swimming anywhere that might be contaminated.
4. The First Month
After four weeks of healing, assuming that your follow-up exams have gone well, you can swim, snowboard, play tennis, and do aerobics and yoga. Check with your doctor for weightlifting approval, though. The strain of heavy weightlifting can damage your healing progress.
If you’re a scuba diver, ask your doctor if it’s safe for you to resume your hobby.
Consider using sports goggles as well. Your eyes are on their way to recovery but protecting them until they completely heal is never a bad idea.
Traveling at this point in your recovery should be fine as long as you are not experiencing complications. Makeup use is permitted at this point in your recovery, but good makeup hygiene is essential.
5. Three to Six Months
Your healing should be coming along nicely. If you were severely nearsighted, your healing time might take a bit longer, and you may still be noticing continued improvement in your vision over time.
Under normal circumstances, most patients have returned to their daily routines by this time. Wear sunglasses as a rule, as the UV rays of the UV rays of the sun can be damaging to anyone’s eyes. Be sure to attend all follow-up appointments.
If we have given you a recovery plan, make sure you stick to it and be sure to report any sudden discomfort or anomalies.
If you are experiencing halos, glare, or other visual irregularities, they should gradually clear up by the six-month mark. In some cases, your doctor may recommend an enhancement treatment to sharpen your eyesight, but this is never done until after six months.
Points to Remember
Most people recover fully and experience 20/20 vision (or better!) after their LASIK surgery. It is a very successful treatment for poor vision, and with careful LASIK aftercare, a full recovery and return to normal life is possible for nearly all patients.
Throughout the recovery process, patients must do the following:
- Stick to their recovery plan.
- Protect their eyes as much as possible from dirt, dust, bright light, and bacteria.
- Avoid rubbing their eyes.
- Attend all follow-up visits.
- Use all prescribed medications.
- Closely monitor their vision and report any problems.
If you are a good candidate and understand how LASIK works, taking the plunge should be a rewarding and successful experience. Contact us for a personal consultation to find out how LASIK can change your life.