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A timeline for LASIK surgery recovery

lasik patient recovering in bed after having lasik surgery and giving a thumbs up

LASIK eye surgery is a commitment to vision correction, both before and after the procedure takes place. Whether you are considering LASIK or you are scheduled for the surgery, it’s important to know what to expect — specifically the LASIK surgery recovery.

How long is LASIK recovery? Eyes start healing immediately after LASIK, but you will likely experience blurriness and other fluctuations in your vision following surgery. Your doctor will help guide you through your post-LASIK care.

Of course, there are other short-term and long-term effects to expect in your LASIK recovery time, from red spots to the increased need for eye protection. 

Read on for a timeline of LASIK eye surgery recovery: 

The first day of LASIK

LASIK eye surgery can present immediate effects, including discomfort and light sensitivity, following the procedure. This can be treated with over-the-counter pain relief, as well as any medication your doctor prescribes. Sleep is also typically recommended after surgery.

During LASIK post-op, each of your eyes will be covered with a plastic shield. It’s important to keep these over your eyes until the next morning, at which time you can replace them with the protective sunglasses issued by your doctor.

Be sure to use eye drops correctly during your LASIK recovery, beginning the first week and beyond — or have someone you trust help you with them. 

And speaking of getting help: A trusted friend or family member will be required to drive you home after LASIK surgery.

CONCERNS ABOUT YOUR POST-LASIK RECOVERY? Call your surgeon or contact an eye doctor near you to schedule an appointment.

The first week after LASIK

It’s typical for your eye doctor or LASIK surgeon to see you the day following your surgery. During this first follow-up appointment, your visual acuity will be checked, and your doctor will make sure that your eyes are healing properly. 

Patients are usually cleared to return to work and start driving again the first week post LASIK surgery, but there are certain things that must be avoided during the first week, such as:

  • Eye makeup and eye makeup remover

  • Face soap

  • Dust and smoke

  • Yard work and gardening

SEE RELATED: How soon after LASIK can I resume normal activities?

Six months after LASIK

You may experience symptoms like halos, glare, dry eyes and other visual disturbances during the first few months of LASIK recovery. After six months, these symptoms should go away or be reduced significantly. You should also be able to lighten up on the eye drops at the six-month mark.

To further ensure your eyes are healing correctly, your doctor will see you for regularly scheduled visits to monitor the healing process and your overall vision health for the first six months after LASIK. In most cases, vision will be clear and stable by this time. 

However, if you still experience discomfort, unclear vision or other bothersome side effects 90 days after the procedure, your doctor may recommend a LASIK enhancement procedure, which can make your vision sharper. 

Note: Most surgeons wait three to six months minimum before performing a LASIK enhancement, to allow time for refractive errors to stabilize after the initial LASIK surgery.

SEE RELATED: LASIK Results: What to expect

LASIK aftercare long term

Those who have undergone LASIK eye surgery are more susceptible to eye injuries than those who have not. Be sure to wear eye coverings after surgery as your doctor recommends, and use eye drops and medication as directed.

After recovery, it is critical that LASIK patients continue to protect their eyes appropriately with ultraviolet (UV) protective sunglasses when spending time outdoors, sports glasses or goggles for athletic activities, and protective eyewear for yard work, power tool use or any other activities that could be dangerous for eyes.

CONSIDERING LASIK EYE SURGERY? Find an eye care professional near you to learn more about the process. Read More: What to expect after LASIK: Top 20 FAQs

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