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A Comprehensive Look at Lasik Eye Surgery Recovery Time

Posted on March 1, 2023

If you wear glasses or contacts, it’s easy to get lured in by the promise of LASIK. Short for “Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileuses,” LASIK offers more permanent vision correction than any other option on the market. It’s no wonder why experts predict that the total number of LASIK procedures completed will hit 1.5 million by the end of this year.

Of course, even with perfect vision on the horizon, many surgery candidates balk at one hurdle: the LASIK eye surgery recovery time.

It’s true that you’ll need a fair amount of time to start seeing with total clarity around the clock, but the recovery isn’t nearly as grueling as you might think. In fact, most patients start enjoying the improvements to their eyesight within days of their procedure!

Wondering what to expect from the recovery process? Let’s take a quick look at the general timeline.

LASIK Eye Surgery Recovery Time

Let’s clear one thing up first: the recovery timeline for LASIK varies from person to person. Even if you’re a good candidate, you may heal differently from other patients who have gone through the procedure. However, there are a few general recovery windows that most patients can expect to fall into.

The good news is that your eyes will begin to recover right after surgery. Your eye surgeon will check for the first signs of healing within 24-48 hours of your procedure. The outer edges of the corneal flap begin to seal themselves within that time.

For most people, you can expect full healing within two to three months after your surgery. During that time, your vision will get clearer and clearer as your eyes continue healing. Within six months after your surgery, you should expect stable vision improvement with no issues like temporary blurring.

What to Expect Right After Surgery

After your LASIK surgery, you may experience mild eye discomfort as the numbing agent wears off. Some patients feel like their eyes itch or burn, and others feel as though something irritating is caught in them. Your eyes may tear up or feel dry.

More than likely, you’ll have blurred or foggy vision. Some patients experience light sensitivity or see haloes or starbursts around light sources. This is especially common at nighttime.

No matter what you see or feel, avoid rubbing your eyes! This can move the flap your surgeon has worked on, causing more sensitivity or requiring additional treatment.

If you’re in pain, your eye doctor may advise you to take OTC pain relievers. They may also give you eye drops to help with feelings of pain or dryness. You should take these medications as described.

From the time you go home to several weeks after your surgery, you’ll have a few restrictions on your activity:

  • Avoid touching or rubbing your eyes
  • Wear sunglasses if you’re outside during the day
  • Wear an eye shield when sleeping
  • Wear protective sports goggles for risky activities
  • Avoid driving at night
  • Avoid swimming
  • Avoid getting shampoo in your eyes when showering
  • Avoid putting lotions and beauty products around your eyes

In addition, your eye doctor may tell you to scrub your eyelashes regularly for a few days after your surgery to remove any debris. Be sure to follow any additional restrictions your doctor discusses with you as well.

What to Expect 24-48 Hours Later

You should expect to see your eye surgeon within 48 hours of your procedure. As we’ve mentioned above, this is when your doctor has a chance to check for signs of healing. It’s also an opportunity for you to ask questions about any side effects you’re experiencing.

Your eye doctor will test your vision at this time. They’ll also look for signs of inflammation or infection.

You should still expect some blurriness for up to a week after your surgery. In the first few days after your surgery, you can return to work, but you shouldn’t play non-contact sports or operate heavy machinery.

What to Expect 1-4 Weeks Later

For the first month after your surgery, you should continue following the activity guidelines we mentioned above. Keep protecting your eyes from anything that could hit or bump them.

In addition, you may still experience side effects like dry eyes, hazy or blurry vision, and starbursts or haloes around lights. You should also expect regular follow-up visits with your eye doctor to check your vision.

What to Expect 2-6 Months Later

During this time, your eye doctor may permit you to return to strenuous activities and contact sports. Most patients start to see increasing visual stability within two months of their procedure. As healing continues toward the six-month mark, this clearer and more stable vision will become much more common.

In addition, most patients start to see a decrease in most of the side effects we’ve mentioned above, including eye dryness.

Again, you should expect regular follow-up visits with your eye doctor. During these visits, your doctor will continue to perform eye exams and check your vision. Most of the time, patients can stop coming in for check-ups at or before the six-month mark, as their vision has usually stabilized.

LASIK Complications That Affect Recovery

Though most patients continue on the standard timeline above, there are a few complications that can affect your recovery.

Though rare, inflammation and infection may make a second procedure necessary. A dislocated corneal flap can also require another procedure.

If you experience serious pain or get hit in the eye, it’s important to tell your eye doctor immediately. The same is true if you notice that side effects like blurriness or light sensitivity grow worse.

Enhance Your Eyesight Today

If you’re hoping for vision improvement, start your journey! Though it takes time to recover from corrective eye surgery, most patients feel that the process is well worth the results.

Here at Eye LASIK Austin, we want to help you feel comfortable with your procedure and its results. We hope the information above on your LASIK eye surgery recovery time helps, but we’re happy to answer any further questions as well. Feel free to contact us for more information or to schedule an appointment today.

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