LASIK eye surgery is one of the most common eye surgeries that help people suffering from refractive errors such as nearsightedness and farsightedness reduce dependence on eyeglasses or contact lenses. Many patients experience improved vision immediately after the surgery. There are no bandages or stitches required after LASIK surgery. It is a minimally-invasive surgery with no pain or scars. Post-surgery you may feel mild discomfort, that too for the first few hours. If you are planning to undergo LASIK eye surgery and wondering what is the recovery period and what precautions must be taken, you will find this post useful.
What happens during the LASIK surgery?
LASIK surgery is performed under local anaesthesia. The eye surgeon reshapes the cornea to improve your vision. During surgery, the cornea flap is painlessly removed and the corneal tissue is reshaped. The flap is again placed back in place. At the end of the surgery, an eye shield is placed on the operated eye to protect it. The surgery is performed under 20 minutes for each eye but preoperative and post-operative procedures may take a few hours.
The recovery time after LASIK eye surgery usually takes 6 weeks to 9 months. It varies from one patient to another. Your eye surgeon will closely monitor your progress at your follow-up appointments. For many patients, resuming normal activities is not an issue. However, there are a few things that need to be kept in mind:
- Getting back in the driver’s seat: Though an outpatient procedure, you cannot drive on the day of surgery. You will have to arrange for someone to drive you home. After the surgery, you will be asked to come for follow-up appointments. Till then, you should not drive at all. Once your doctor gives you a go-ahead, you can drive. It is, however, recommended, that at least in the first few days, you should stick to driving short distances. Be careful while driving at night.
- Avoid screen time: You should completely avoid smartphones, computers, e-readers, TV and other screens at least 24 hours after surgery. At home, you should avoid sitting in rooms with bright lights. As part of the standard aftercare routine, you should take two days off from work. . You should also avoid reading a book as it would strain your eyes. The more you are away from digital screens, the quicker and smoother your recovery will go. Before you start using electronic devices again, it’s recommended that you gradually ease back into using them. Exposure to digital screens can cause the eyes to dry so, keep lubricating the eyes with eye drops prescribed by your doctor.
- Skip swimming for a few days: It is generally recommended swimming is safe after 3-4 weeks of LASIK eye surgery. Bacteria present in water can cause allergies. Even after 3 to 4 weeks, wear protective swimming goggles to protect the eyes. As your eyes are more prone to irritation and allergies for a few weeks after the LASIK surgery, it is, therefore, advisable to avoid swimming, sauna, steam room, jacuzzi and hotbed as they are sources of infection.
- Refrain from strenuous exercise: LASIK eye surgery is beneficial for sports persons and athletes, as it helps them to see better. But when you are recovering from LASIK eye surgery, your eyes are a little more sensitive than usual. It is, therefore, necessary to avoid strenuous exercises and contact sports. Refrain from exercising and playing a sport for a while. Getting sweat under the lenses of the eyes can result in complications that prolong the recovery time. At least for a week, you should not engage in strenuous exercise or sport. If you wish to return to strenuous activities, take your eye surgeon’s permission.
- Be careful with travelling: LASIK eye surgery might impact your travel plans. For the day of the treatment, it’s advised not to travel. When going back home from the eye hospital, make sure you avoid crowded public transport. It’s best to postpone your long travel plans that may entail long flying hours. Following your follow-up appointment and your doctor tells you that you are suitable to fly. As the airplane cabin is very dry, lubricating your eyes with eye drops can help keep your eyes moist and comfortable.
- No eye makeup for the first week: It’s important not to wear any makeup for the first 24 hours. This includes concealer and foundation and eye makeup such as eye shadow, eyeliner and mascara. If face makeup gets into the eyes, they increase the risk of infection or complication. You can use face makeup after your follow-up appointment with the eye doctor. Even if the eye doctor says you can use face makeup, make sure that it does not get very close to your eye.
- Alcohol and surgery do not go well together: Avoid drinking alcohol the day before the surgery and for 24 hours afterwards. Drinking alcohol can make you feel dehydrated, which may add to complications. Avoid alcohol for the first few days after the surgery. If your eye doctor gives you a go-ahead to drink, limit consumption to one or two drinks maximum. But remember to stay hydrated to avoid the dehydrating effect of alcohol.
Precautions for the first 24 hours
- For the first few hours, your vision can be a little foggy or blurry. Keep your eyes closed and well-rested during this time.
- Avoid activities that are strenuous.
- To prevent eye strain, avoid all screens. Anything that requires intensive use of your eyes should be avoided.
- It’s advised to take a bath instead of a shower. Prevent soap and water from entering your eyes.
- Stick to your eye drop routine.
- Avoid rubbing your eyes and get relief using the lubricant drops instead.
- Avoid alcohol.
The day after surgery
- The day after your treatment, visit the eye hospital for a follow-up appointment. Your eye surgeon will check everything is going smoothly. He or she will tell you whether you can resume day-to-day activities.
- Do not drive to the eye hospital. Arrange someone to take you to the hospital. You can take a taxi but avoid taking crowded public transport.
- Watch TV if the eye doctor allows you to. Use the lubricating eye drops provided to prevent dry eyes. If you are planning to step out, wear the proper eyewear.
- You can take a shower but avoid soap from entering the eyes.
- By now, your eye has regained much of its strength. You can engage in light exercises such as walking, jogging and stationary cycling.
- While exercising, make sure that the sweat doesn’t get into your eyes. Also, avoid rubbing or touching the eyes.
- If your eye doctor has cleared you for driving, take extra care especially when driving at night. Your doctor may prescribe temporary glasses for the first few months as the vision settles down.
- Now, you can engage in sports such as swimming, tennis, squash and biking. It is advisable to wear appropriate eyewear.
- Avoid high-impact sports where your eyes are at the risk of getting hurt.
- You can wear eye makeup. Make sure that you don’t share makeup with somebody else.
- If you are unsure about certain activities, ask your eye doctor.
After 3 months
- If you are experiencing dry eye symptoms, tell your eye doctor so that you can manage them with eye drops.
- Keep all the follow-up appointments with your eye doctor.
Some problems that you may face after LASIK surgery :
- Dry eyes: Of all the temporary effects of LASIK, dry eye is the most common. This is one of the reasons most patients are prescribed lubricating eye drops. If you experience dry eye symptoms, inform your eye doctor. To manage your dry eyes symptoms, avoid sitting in an air-conditioned room or using a screen for prolonged periods of time.
- Light sensitivity: Many patients experience light sensitivity and this normally reduces within one or two days. Avoid harsh lighting. Wear sunglasses if you are planning to step out.
- Blurred vision: You may experience blurred vision after the procedure, but this goes away as your vision gets stable.
- Halos and starbursts: You may see halos and starbursts especially in low-light conditions and at night. If you are driving at night, be careful about halos and starbursts around lights. These halos and starbursts disappear over the first few weeks.
If you are looking for LASIK eye treatment in Kolkata, visit Disha Eye Hospitals. The hospital has the Wavelight Allegretto AG (German) technology for LASIK surgery. This state-of-the-art technology screens out risk cases. We, at Disha Eye Hospital, provide LASIK eye surgery at affordable cost. Besides LASIK, we offer a range of refractive surgeries. We also offer treatment for cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, corneal diseases and glaucoma treatment in Kolkata at affordable cost.