At Lucent Vision in Long Beach California we offer a unique approach to laser eye…
The recovery process after LASIK eye surgery is typically smooth and quick. Nonetheless, success in the healing process will depend on following the instructions of your eye doctor. Although your visual perception will improve within hours after LASIK, you will still benefit from the guidance and care plan of your Lucent Vision team. Having eye surgery can be a scary experience. Not only will we provide you the aftercare tips, medicine, and risk management advice needed for a successful recovery, but we will also be right there with you to provide compassionate care during your recovery timeline. You can always lean on our experience and our desire to show you that we care.
How the Right LASIK Surgeon Can Improve Your Recovery Times and Results
- Dr. Pathak and his surgical care team have guided thousands of LASIK patients through their recovery process. When it comes to postop care, we know what to expect and we are always available in between your follow up appointments.
- Dr. Pathak is a member of the Refractive Surgery Alliance and is regularly updating his knowledge and protocols to maximize wound healing and recovery time. You will benefit from his experience and his willingness to stay up-to-date with the best protocols in laser surgery.
- At Lucent Vision we pay meticulous attention to details from your pre-operative visit, all the way through your last post-operative visit. Minimizing the risk of complications is the best way to accelerate your recovery to clear vision.
Timeline of What to Expect in Your LASIK Recovery
- Following your LASIK procedure, we will place a pair of protective goggles over your eyes to protect your eyes. You will also receive a care package that has all of your medicated eye drops as well as lubricating eye drops.
- Most patients will experience tearing, irritation, and scratchiness over the first few hours. You will also receive an oral medication that will allow you to sleep. Typically, patients will be able to nap for a few hours, and most of their symptoms will be significantly improved upon awakening.
- You will be asked to break from your normal routine and avoid screens such as your phone or computer for this day. The more you keep your eyes closed, the quicker the corneal tissue of your eye can heal.
- Very rarely, patients may choose to take an oral analgesic such as Tylenol or Ibuprofen if they have any pain or headache following the laser procedure.
One Day After LASIK
- Initial Check-Up: Patients generally have their first post-operative appointment to assess immediate recovery and the state of the flap that was created on the cornea.
- Reduced Blurriness: A noticeable reduction in blurriness and foggy vision should be apparent, though final corrected vision is not guaranteed at this stage because the eyes are still healing. At this stage patients typically have very minimal blurred vision that can be noticed as a fuzziness around the edges of images.
- Temporary Symptoms: Mild symptoms like itching, burning sensation, and a feeling of having something in the eye may be present.
- Use of Eye Drops: Introduction of antibiotic and anti-inflammatory eye drops as per the doctor’s prescription. You will also have artificial tears to help lubricate your eyes as needed.
- Eye Shield: Requirement to wear a protective eye shield while sleeping to prevent accidental rubbing or pressure during the first few days of your recovery.
- Limited Activity: Restrictions on physical activities. In general, you will be advised to avoid rubbing the eyes, swimming, strenuous activity, and contact sports. Notably, you can take a shower and wash your face. If you get soap or water in your eyes, don’t fret about it. Just try not to rub the eyes. You can gently dab around your eyes as needed.
Two Days After LASIK
- Improvement in Visual Acuity: Continued clearing of vision, though still not at its final clarity. Some fluctuations are expected.
- Typically, you can return to work on day two. For those who work on a computer, take breaks frequently to avoid eye strain, and continue to use prescribed eye drops. If your job requires working in dirty environments, Dr. Pathak will provide guidance. Likewise, if you need perfect vision (pilot, etc.) Dr. Pathak will provide return to work instructions and vision checks.
- Reduced Sensitivity to Light: Light sensitivity, if present initially, usually starts to diminish but may still require wearing sunglasses indoors.
- Continued Eye Drops: Ongoing use of medicated eye drops to minimize infection risk and control inflammation.
- Halos and Glare: While diminishing, symptoms like halos around lights or glare may still be present. Don’t fret, these will rapidly diminish in the coming days.
- Limited Screen Time: Continued caution advised when it comes to screen time. Using a computer or watching TV should be kept to a minimum to prevent eye strain.
- Reduced Irritation: Lessening of initial signs and symptoms of dryness such as itching or a sensation of having something in the eye.
- No Rubbing Policy: Continued strict instructions to avoid rubbing the eyes to prevent flap displacement.
- Daily Activities: Resumption of non-strenuous daily activities is generally allowed, but any action that risks eye injury or strain is discouraged.
- Hydration and Nutrition: Continuing a balanced diet rich in hydration to support healing.
- Sleep Precautions: Continued use of an eye shield while sleeping to protect the eyes from accidental rubbing or pressure.
One Week After LASIK
- Vision Stabilization: Patients may experience clearer and more stabilized vision compared to the first day.
- Reduced Dependency on Eye Drops: While still important, the frequency of certain eye drops may be reduced.
- Decreased Redness: Any redness or bloodshot appearance starts to diminish.
- Return to Work: By now, almost all patients are cleared to return to work, especially if it doesn’t involve strenuous physical activity.
- Avoid Water Activities: Continued caution against swimming or using hot tubs to prevent infection.
One Month After LASIK
- Near-Final Vision: Vision should be close to the final expected result, although minor fluctuations can still occur.
- Activity Resumption: Patients often can return to strenuous activities and sports, albeit with some precautions like eye protection.
- Reduced Eye Drop Usage: Though medicated eye drops may have been long discontinued, lubricating drops may still be advised to reduce the symptoms of dryness.
- Follow-Up Assessment: A thorough eye examination to assess healing and visual acuity.
Three Months After LASIK
- Stable Vision: Vision should largely be stable and reach a point where it’s consistent for long periods.
- Reduced Dry Eye Symptoms: For many patients, dry eye symptoms begin to decrease or may be completely resolved.
- Finalized Prescription: Any changes in the eyeglass or contact lens prescription (i.e. your refractive error) are usually finalized at this stage. About 99% of our patients will hit their target after their first LASIK procedure. An assessment of your prescription is essentially a way for us to continue to track our results.
- Annual Follow-ups: Initial planning for long-term, usually annual, follow-ups.
Five Years After LASIK
- Long-Term Stability: Vision should be stable and clear unless affected by natural aging (late 40’s or early 50’s) or other health conditions.
- Retreatment Assessment: A small minority of patients may require or opt for a retreatment for further vision correction.
- Long-Term Monitoring: Continued annual check-ups for vision and ocular health. Remember that your general eye health extends beyond just seeing clearly. Don’t skip these.
Your Role in Aiding Your LASIK Recovery
Follow Your LASIK Surgeon’s Instructions
- Take your medicated eye drops according to the provided instructions.
- Don’t miss your follow up appointments with your vision care team.
- Avoid the temptation to touch or rub your eyes early in the recovery process.
- Don’t hesitate to contact our team if you have any questions or concerns. Our team is available around the clock, and we want you to have all the support that you need.
Nutrition for Faster Healing
- Staying hydrated may limit some of the uncomfortable symptoms that can be associated with your healing process.
- Eat a healthy and balanced diet and get plenty of rest.
- Try to avoid alcoholic beverages on the day of your procedure.
Enjoying Your New Vision After LASIK
Congratulations on your new vision! After you have recovered from your LASIK surgery, you will be able to do so many things without your glasses or contacts, such as:
- Spend time with your loved ones
- Play sports
- Go for a hike
- Watch TV or movies
You stand to gain so many benefits from LASIK surgery. Although there are many important aspects to the recovery process, at Lucent Vision we have guided thousands of patients from a world of blurry vision to clear vision. We know what to expect, and even more importantly, we will be there to s
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Frequently Asked Questions about LASIK Recovery and Aftercare
Does the Food and Drug Administration approve the LASIK procedure?
The FDA approved the LASIK procedure in 1999 after more than a decade of research and development performed by multiple ophthalmologists and engineers. In the last quarter century, we have seen significant improvements to the original LASIK procedure. Millions of people have benefited from the procedure, and it remains the most frequently performed vision correction surgery in the United States.
What’s the difference between LASIK and other procedures like PRK or evo ICL?
Refractive errors such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism can contribute to blurry vision. There are multiple different forms of vision correction surgery that can be done to correct refractive errors. PRK, or photorefractive keratectomy, is a similar procedure to LASIK and uses much of the same technology. During LASIK a small flap is created on the cornea, and then a laser is used to re-shape the cornea. In contrast, with PRK no flap is created on the cornea. Instead, the surface skin of the cornea is gently removed and the same re-shaping laser is applied the underlying layers of the cornea. Though LASIK patients may have a faster recovery, in the long run both LASIK and PRK patients achieve essentially the same outcomes. If you are not a good candidate for LASIK (for example you may not have enough corneal tissue) then PRK could be a safe alternative.
There is an alternative to LASIK procedures known as the EVO ICL, or implantable collamer lens. This procedure involves the use of a corrective lens that is implanted inside of the eye just in front of the natural lens. There are some patients who may not be a good candidate for either LASIK or PRK, but they may qualify for the EVO ICL procedure. During your LASIK consultation our team can discuss these different options with you.
How does LASIK cost compare to other vision correction procedures?
LASIK compares very favorably to other vision correction procedures, and is often the best option for visual freedom with a quick recovery. The cost of LASIK may vary based on the experience level of the LASIK surgeon as well as the quality of care at the vision correction center that you choose. The cost of PRK is typically very similar to the cost of LASIK. On the other hand, the cost of the EVO ICL may be significantly higher than laser vision correction procedures due to the fact that the implantable lens is an expensive technology.
What does the LASIK recovery plan entail regarding physical activities and contact sports?
We will counsel you not to touch your eyes and to avoid contact sports for at least a week after your LASIK procedure. We also recommend against swimming in pools, hot tubs, or the natural bodies of water for at least a couple of weeks from the date of your vision correction procedure. If you still wish to participate in contact sports a few weeks after your LASIK procedure, it may be advisable to wear protective eyewear.
How do I manage post-LASIK pain and photophobia?
Most patients find that their eyes are sensitive to light in the first week after their LASIK procedure. Wearing sunglasses during this time can be beneficial to treat your light sensitivity. Most LASIK patients do not feel pain after their procedure, but rather they may feel some irritation or scratchiness. You will be provided with artificial tears in your postoperative care package, and these artificial tears can be very soothing for these symptoms.
Can I use cosmetics like eye makeup and lotions post-surgery?
We recommend avoiding chemical substances such as eye makeup and lotions around the eyes for at least the first three days after your LASIK procedure.
Can I engage in water activities or use smartphones and video games during recovery?
We advise avoiding water activities for at least two weeks after your LASIK procedure. On the day of your surgery, we recommend avoiding smartphones, televisions, and computers. You can begin using these screens on the day after your procedure. Nonetheless, make sure that you give yourself plenty of breaks when using screens because your eyes will become tired very quickly in the early weeks following your procedure.
When can I expect a follow-up appointment and watchful waiting post-LASIK?
You will have a postoperative appointment on the first day after your procedure, one week after your procedure, one month after your procedure, and three months after your procedure. Sometimes complete healing of the cornea can take a few months. Occasionally, you may need other follow-up appointments outside of these time frames.
Is there any association between LASIK and xeroderma or severe dry eyes?
Laser vision correction procedures have been associated with a temporary change in your tear production system. This dryness of the eyes will usually last about 6 weeks from the time of your procedure, and then your tear production system is able to slowly return to its normal function. Patients with pre-existing severe dry eyes may not be good candidates for the procedure.
Is it common to suffer from macular degeneration or require cataract surgery after LASIK?
Macular degeneration and cataracts are causes of vision loss that are typically found in people who are over the age of 60. Both of these diseases have associations with aging, and sometimes also with family history. It is important to note that there is no association between having LASIK and developing either of these diseases. Nor does having LASIK prevent the development of cataracts or macular degeneration later in life.
Are there any risks associated with LASIK, and how does Lucent Vision manage them?
Much like any surgical procedure, LASIK has its own unique set of risks. At Lucent Vision we use the newest diagnostic imaging and testing during your initial eye examination to determine if you are even a good candidate for the procedure. We further reduce your risks be using the most advanced lasers for flap creation. You will receive medicated eye drops with a proven protocol to reduce your risks in the timeframe immediately following your LASIK. We also remain vigilant for any complications during your post-operative visits.
What can I expect after my LASIK surgery at Lucent Vision?
At Lucent Vision your LASIK surgery will be performed by a 5-star team that is committed to delivering you the benefits of clear vision in a personalized manner. We will be your caring and compassionate guides throughout your journey to better vision. You can expect a quick recovery and return to normal activity following your procedure. But even more, you will enjoy the benefits of a better quality of life for years to come.
Can LASIK help me avoid wearing reading glasses in the future?
Most people begin to have age-related changes to their natural lens around the age of forty. The natural lens starts to become stiffer and less flexible around this age, and the result is difficulty with seeing near objects. Often, people will require reading glasses to better see near objects, such as their smartphone. This age-related problem with near vision is called presbyopia, and it is, unfortunately a natural part of the aging process. LASIK does not prevent the occurrence of presbyopia. Due to advancements in technology, we can now safely treat presbyopia with a procedure known as Refractive Lens Exchange to deliver the benefits of clear vision at all ranges of vision from near to far distances.
Can I get LASIK if I wear contacts or suffer from severe myopia?
If you are tired of wearing contacts or if you suffer from severe myopia, LASIK may be a great option for you. We have successfully given thousands of patients freedom from their contact lenses. The only way to tell if you are a candidate is to talk to us about a free consultation. After evaluating your eyes, we will be able to discuss your best options for vision correction surgery.