Laser eye surgery recovery will vary from patient to patient and will depend on the patient’s age, the issue the patient had with their vision, as well as the intensity of the laser upon the eye, and many other factors.
Generally, if you have undergone LASIK eye surgery, you will begin to see improvements in your vision within a day or two after treatment. LASEK eye surgery may take a while longer due to the nature of the procedure, however, to see a full recovery from laser eye surgery, it’s best to remember that this may take up to 6 months.
Luckily, both treatments are minimally invasive, meaning even if you opt for LASEK, you can be back to work within a week post-surgery. Despite this though, there are certain important things you need to remember for the recovery process.
Post–Surgery Recovery: Dealing With Discomfort
It’s important to arrange transportation from the clinic as you will not be allowed to drive yourself. You will be sent away with instructions from the surgeon regarding medications to prevent inflammation and infection, as well as an emphasis on rest for the days following treatment.
You will experience discomfort a couple of hours after the procedure – this is normal. Remember that although it is minimally invasive, it is still a surgery and there will be a degree of irritation; this may include weeping or a grain-like feeling within the eye, however, this will subside after a course of medication and rest.
It is recommended to wear an eye patch for the first few days post-treatment, particularly while sleeping. This is to avoid any potential eye rubbing that you may do during slumber.
You will also be quite sensitive to light, so remember your sunglasses!
For LASIK, you will be required to go back to the clinic for your first aftercare appointment. This will differ if you have had LASEK treatment, where you will have a bandage contact lens placed upon the eye and your first aftercare appointment will be 4-5 days following your surgery.
It is not recommended that you wear the contact lenses you had before treatment even if your vision is blurry as this will not aid your eyes healing.
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Activities You Can Do After Laser Eye Surgery
It is normal for most patients to be able to drive and return to work relatively quickly after laser eye surgery. Here is a list of activities with the expected laser eye surgery recovery time for each one:
- Driving: 1-2 days depending on the type of laser eye surgery and your recovery time. Ensure that your surgeon has given you the go-ahead before getting back behind the wheel.
- Showering: 2 days. Choose a bath instead of a shower before this time to avoid getting your eyes wet.
- Wearing eye make-up: 1 week or longer.
- Swimming: 2-3 weeks, but wear goggles when you do return to the pool.
- Aerobic exercise: 3 days. Racquet sports and football should be avoided for a further week or two, and high-impact activities like boxing should not be resumed for at least a month following laser eye surgery.
Do You Need To Take Time Off Work?
You will need to take the day of your surgery off from work and after your procedure it is usually recommended you take some time off, however, the length of time will vary from person to person. Your surgeon will assess your recovery rate to give you a more accurate and personal time scale but as a rough guide, we suggest you allow at least 24-48 hours, however, some people need up to a week off work to adjust to their new eyesight.
Looking After Your Eyes After The Surgery
Your surgery recovery time will be quickest if you take some simple steps to look after your eyes:
- Wear the shields provided by your surgeon while sleeping for the first three nights following surgery.
- Take care to avoid getting water, soap, or other products in your eyes for the first week. It is also important to avoid swimming pools or saunas for two weeks after undergoing LASIK surgery.
- Avoid dusty environments and do not rub your eyes or wear make-up. While most individuals do not experience discomfort after undergoing LASIK, your eyes may feel slightly tender or itchy in the days immediately after your procedure.
- Your eyes may be especially sensitive to light. Wear dark glasses to protect them from bright sunshine for at least 12 months after the procedure.
What To Expect In The Long Term
It can take up to 6 months to be fully recovered from your treatment. In that time, you will have attended several aftercare appointments. You may experience some blurriness at some stages, but please know that this is normal – it will take some time for your eyes to settle after surgery, so you must go to your aftercare appointments, not only for peace of mind but to ensure your lifetime guarantee maintains validity.
These checks are vital to ensure your recovery is going as expected; particularly after the surgery, your vision should not be neglected!
You will of course need to return to work within this time. If you work in an office, it is advised that you ensure that your eyes are well lubricated with drops, drink plenty of water and take the required breaks to keep dry eyes at bay.
If you work on a construction site, for example, it is advised that you wear safety goggles to avoid the risk of dust and debris.
If it is a particularly sunny day, or you work within a sunny environment, it is advised that you wear sunglasses with 100% UV protection for the first few weeks of recovery and thereafter.
To avoid complications, it is recommended that you avoid any high-impact tasks, however, should this be something that you have planned, speak to your optometrist who will advise you on the best course of action for this.
The recovery can vary from a few days to a few weeks, depending on the particular treatment that you will have had, however throughout a couple of months, you will see the full potential of your treatment.