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Recovering from LASIK: What You Need to Know

More than 150 million people in the United States use some form of vision correction to see clearly. For most adults, getting clear vision means wearing eyeglasses all day or for certain activities; for many others, it means wearing prescription contact lenses most waking hours. 

But each year in the U.S., hundreds of thousands of Americans decide to take a more lasting approach to vision correction with LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis) eye surgery. 

Using advanced laser technology, LASIK eye surgery can be used to permanently reverse myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), astigmatisms (blurred vision), and presbyopia (poor close-up vision). 

Here at Vision Corner, optometrist and LASIK specialist Sophia Barnes, OD, works with the best LASIK surgeons in the Houston area to ensure your operation and your postsurgical recovery go as smoothly as possible. Here’s what you can expect as you heal. 

Right after laser eye surgery

LASIK patients are focused on just one thing following laser eye surgery: seeing the world with clear vision. Luckily, that happens within 24 to 48 hours of surgery for most people.   

Rest your eyes

Immediately following the procedure, however, your vision will be blurry or hazy — much like opening your eyes underwater. For the first few hours after surgery, keep your eyes closed and resting as much as possible.

And for the first 24 hours, avoid activities that can strain your eyes, including reading, working on the computer, staring at your phone, or watching TV.  

Don’t rub your eyes

After the anesthesia wears off, you may feel like you have something in your eye(s), or you may experience a burning or itching sensation. This is normal, and the feeling usually subsides within the first six hours of recovery. Avoid rubbing your eyes. 

Protect your eyes

For the first few hours of recovery as well as during your first night’s sleep, wear the protective eye shield(s) provided by your surgeon. Remove your eye shields after two to four hours to use the lubricating drops provided by your surgeon. 

Continue to use the drops as directed to keep your eyes comfortably moist as they recover from surgery. If you go outdoors at any point during your initial recovery, wear sunglasses.  

Monitor your eyes 

Although you should avoid strenuous activity for the first week of recovery, you can return to your normal routine the day after your surgery. You’ll have your first postoperative eye check 24 to 48 hours after surgery.  

During the first week of recovery, you may experience watery eyes, puffy eyelids, sensitivity to light, and/or halos around your vision at night. These symptoms should diminish within a week. If you ever experience severe eye pain, call Dr. Barnes immediately.

First month of LASIK recovery

Much of the healing process following laser eye surgery takes place during the first month of recovery. For the first week, it’s very important that you don’t rub your eyes or do anything else that may irritate the sensitive corneal flap and disrupt your healing process.     

Avoid eye infections

While you’ll be able to shower the day after your procedure, keep shampoo and soap out of your eyes for the first week. You should also avoid wearing eye makeup and eye creams during the first week of recovery. 

To further reduce your risk of infection, avoid relaxing or swimming in water that may contain chemicals or pathogens, including pools, hot tubs, lakes, rivers, and the ocean.  

Ease back into exercise

By week two of your recovery, you should be able to resume your normal exercise routine. If you swim, be sure to wear goggles in the pool; if you lift weights, start with weight machines and gradually return to free weights.

If you play a contact sport, you should avoid getting in the game for at least four weeks. When Dr. Barnes gives you the go-ahead to resume your favorite team sport, always wear protective goggles when you play. 

Long-term healing after LASIK

While most LASIK patients feel completely recovered after just one or two weeks, your eyes will continue to heal at the cellular level for three to six months following your procedure. 

During this time, you’ll have regular follow-up visits with Dr. Barnes so she can ensure your eyes are healing as they should and check the progress of your vision. A short recovery and excellent results are the norm for the vast majority of Dr. Barnes’ LASIK patients. 

If you’d like to learn more about LASIK eye surgery, the team at Vision Corner can help. Call our Houston office at 713-623-2000 to speak with someone today, or click online to schedule a visit with Dr. Barnes any time. 

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