There’s a lot to look forward to post-LASIK, but don’t expect all of the changes to happen overnight. Following your procedure, your eyes will need time to stabilize. What’s more, you’ll need to take precautions in order to soothe your eyes and protect them from infection.
Most people experience some form of eye irritation after LASIK. Once their vision has stabilized, most report a significant improvement in their vision. To get the best results, you’ll need to visit your doctor regularly for checkups and follow their advice closely to avoid damaging or infecting your eye.
Once LASIK Surgery Is Completed
It’s perfectly normal for your eyes to feel irritated once your LASIK surgery has been completed. This can include uncomfortable sensations such as:
- The sensation of something stuck in your eye
Patients also report increased watery eyes after getting LASIK. You can also expect to experience blurry or hazy vision afterward. Some people may even experience mild pain following the procedure, but this is no cause for alarm. Your doctor will more than likely recommend a mild over-the-counter pain reliever such as Tylenol to treat your symptoms.
You may experience other uncomfortable sensations that affect your vision. For example, it’s not uncommon for patients to experience increased sensitivity to light after the procedure, as well as glares, starbursts, and halos around lights. It’s also common for patients’ eyes to appear red or bloodshot shortly afterward.
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How To Treat the Short-Term Side Effects of LASIK
All of these side effects are normal and should begin to improve a few days after your surgery. Keep some lubricating eye drops on hand to help combat any symptoms of dry eye such as redness, itchiness, or other irritation. Make sure to have some Tylenol or other mild pain reliever on hand in case you experience any minor pain.
It’s best to take a few days off from work after getting LASIK surgery. Side effects that can impede your vision, such as sensitivity to light and glare, can affect your ability to perform daily activities. It’s better to avoid any possible problems or accidents by staying home until the side effects have had a chance to subside and for your vision to return to normal.
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When to Contact Your Doctor
You will be seeing your doctor on a regular basis for at least the first six months to gauge your progress and the effectiveness of your LASIK procedure. However, you should see them as soon as possible if your initial side effects don’t subside after a couple of days. This is especially true if side effects such as pain and sensitivity begin to worsen rather than improve.
What Kind of Results Can I Expect from LASIK?
People get LASIK surgery in order to improve their vision. For many, the idea of not having to wear glasses or contacts is an exciting prospect. Whether it’s because you don’t like the hassle of keeping up with prescription glasses and sunglasses, the cost of contacts, or you simply don’t like the way they make you look, LASIK may be the solution you’re looking for.
According to the Journal of Cataract & Refractive Surgery, 90% of patients report 20/20 vision or better and 99% report better than 20/40 vision after undergoing LASIK surgery. Additionally, patients report a 96% satisfaction rate, which is the highest of any elective medical procedure.
Keep in mind that results will vary depending on why you needed LASIK, as well as other factors involving your vision. Patients with low-grade nearsightedness tend to have the best results. The results for patients with more significant cases of nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism are harder to predict.
Visiting Your Doctor After LASIK Surgery
You’ll want to see your doctor within 48 hours following your surgery so they can evaluate how the procedure went. They will make sure to:
- Remove the eye shield
- Perform a vision test
- Perform an eye exam
You will want to see them regularly for at least six months so they can gauge your progress.
Your doctor may prescribe or recommend eye drops to help reduce the risk of inflammation and infection. They may also recommend over-the-counter eye drops to aid in lubricating the eye. You should refrain from wearing contacts until your doctor says it’s okay, even if you have blurry vision. Avoid playing non-contact sports for one to three days after surgery.
To avoid infection, don’t use any creams, lotions, or makeup around your eye. Your doctor will let you know when you can start using these products again. They may also recommend that you scrub your eyelashes after your surgery with a cloth and warm water. Avoid swimming, hot tubs, and whirlpools for the first couple of months after surgery.
Avoid contact sports for at least the first month following surgery. You want to protect your eyes by avoiding anything that may cause them to become damaged.
Changes in Vision After Lasik Surgery
It will take some time for your vision to be at its best after LASIK surgery. Prepare for the fact that there will be some fluctuation for the first few months. For example, problems such as difficulty driving at night, halos, and glare are to be expected during this period. Those who experience persistent symptoms will need to wait until they can qualify for reoperation.
It should also be noted that while your distance vision may improve after LASIK, pre-existing issues like halos and glare are unlikely to. LASIK surgery is designed to help people improve their distance vision. While the FDA hasn’t made a conclusive statement on the effectiveness of the procedure, countless people have testified to its results.
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It’s common to experience some eye irritation in some form or another following LASIK surgery. Most patients report significant improvement in their vision once their vision stabilizes. For the best results, you will need to visit your doctor regularly so they can see how your vision is progressing. Be sure to follow their advice to the letter to avoid infections or other damage.