When you hear the word ‘surgery’, you usually think of an invasive procedure that’s going to involve a lot of pain and a lengthy recovery time, but laser eye surgery is different.
Of course, as with any treatment, a period of recovery will be required and you do need to take it easy in order to help your body repair itself. But the procedure itself and the recovery are far more straightforward than you might imagine.
Read on to take a closer look at what happens after laser eye surgery, and find out what you should do after your treatment to aid your recovery.
What to expect after laser eye surgery
As with any kind of surgery, the body’s immediate response is inflammatory swelling. The brain senses the disruption in normal procedures and sends white blood cells to the area to aid the healing process.
Your cornea could swell slightly, which may cause your eyesight to seem a little foggy or blurry in the few hours after surgery. Don’t worry, this fades in time, and in most cases the swelling will have subsided and any blurring disappeared after 24 hours. However, this does mean that you can’t legally drive in the 24 hours after your surgery, so you will need to arrange some help getting back from the clinic. We recommend asking a friend or family member to offer support.
How to maximise recovery from laser eye surgery
Once you’re at home, it’s a good idea to spend a day or two letting your body recover. As we’ve mentioned, laser eye surgery is nowhere near as invasive as most other surgeries, but your body can always do with a little help.
Take the load off your feet, rest up and relax. However, it’s not the time to catch up on any box sets or finish that novel you’ve been getting into. To promote a speedy recovery, it’s recommended that you avoid anything which could strain your eyes, including TVs, smart phones and computers, for at least 24 hours.
The day after your surgery, you’ll need to return to the clinic for the first of several post surgery appointments. This is a chance for the surgeon to assess how the operation went after the swelling has gone down. They’ll ask you some questions about how your vision is improving and make sure there are no complications with the healing process. Your surgeon will also let you know if you’re all clear to drive, and will advise you on when you can go back to work.
As with all surgical procedures, there are some potential risks of laser eye surgery, so that’s why here at Optegra we offer laser eye surgery aftercare to assess how your recovery is going. One of the best things you can do to aid your recovery from laser eye surgery is to listen to any advice your surgeon gives you. They will also let you know if any further treatment is needed.
The days and weeks after treatment
After your laser eye treatment, you may experience some glare or halo effects in your vision. This is a common side effect of laser eye surgery, which typically reduces significantly in the first month after treatment and continues to improve over a three month period.
Another common side effect is dry eyes, which should return to normal once your eyes have started to heal. It’s advised to keep your eyes well lubricated, and your surgeon will give you eye drops to help with this.
If you experience any pain or redness, or don’t feel that your eyesight is improving, then you should come back into the clinic for another check-up. If you feel it’s an emergency, you can also call our out of hours phoneline for advice. There is always someone on hand to help at Optegra.
Going back to work
Not everyone can afford to take too much time off work – we understand that. However, some people are under the impression that you can return to work the day after, or even on the day of surgery. We strongly recommend against this, especially if you work with screens.
You really need to avoid straining your eyes, so we recommend taking at least a couple of days off to let your eyes recover. When you do go back to work, try to take regular breaks from looking at a screen, and avoid exposure to air conditioning if possible, as it can dry your eyes and disrupt healing.
Other things to avoid after laser eye surgery
In the weeks after surgery, try to avoid strenuous exercise or impact, which can dislodge the healing cornea. You should also refrain from wearing eye make up for at least a week and try to avoid getting soap or shampoo near your eyes. Avoid rubbing your eyes too, even if they feel itchy.
Your eyes should have recovered well after a few weeks, and within the first couple of months you should start to notice significant improvement in your vision. You’ll have a couple more check ups at three and six months to make sure everything is on track.