At Optegra, we are proud to offer a well-rounded laser eye surgery aftercare programme to all our patients to ensure that every individual makes a speedy recovery.
Each laser eye surgery treatment has different recovery periods; however, the following guidance will give you a broad understanding of the post-op laser eye surgery process.
Immediately after LASIK, LASEK, SMILE, or PRESBYOND laser eye surgery, the level of vision can vary greatly between individuals. However, some general observations can be made:
Immediate Post-Surgery Vision: Immediately after the surgery, your vision is likely to be slightly blurry. This is normal due to the procedure itself and the protective shields or bandages that are often placed over the eyes.
First Few Hours: In the hours following the surgery, many patients report a gradual improvement in vision, but it’s common for the vision to fluctuate.
Sensitivity and Mild Discomfort: It’s normal to experience some discomfort, light sensitivity, and a gritty sensation in the eyes during the first day. These symptoms can temporarily affect vision clarity.
Wearing sunglasses during this initial recovery period may be helpful, as they can shield the eyes, which are usually a little bit sensitive to light, and protect against harmful UV rays, which is important during the healing process.
The healing process indeed begins immediately after the surgery. The corneal tissue starts to heal, and the eye begins to adjust to its new shape.
After your treatment, you will be required to stay in the eye health clinic or hospital until you feel completely comfortable making your way home. As with any kind of surgery, the body’s immediate response is inflammatory swelling. Your cornea could swell slightly, which may cause your eyesight to seem a little foggy or blurry in the few hours after surgery. This fades over time, and in most cases, the swelling will have subsided and any blurring will have disappeared after 24 hours.
However, this does mean that you can’t legally drive in the 24 hours after your surgery, so make sure you have organised transport (avoiding public transport) or have a family member or friend with you to help you get home.
Try to avoid having a shower immediately following your treatment and during the first day of your recovery. We also advise not going into work for 1-2 days after your treatment, especially following LASIK, ReLEx SMILE, or LASEK, to give your eyes the best chance to fully heal.
No matter where you work, your eyes will be exposed to different types of strain, so if you do need to venture outside, try to stay close to home, just in case you feel any discomfort.
During the first few days of your aftercare, you may be required to attend a follow-up exam. During this appointment, the ophthalmic surgeon will review your eye health and determine if you will be able to drive and use gadgets, such as mobile phones and tablets. 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 set to drive and will advise you on when you can go back to work.
Two days into your recovery after laser eye surgery, the level of visual clarity can vary from person to person. However, there are some common experiences that many patients have:
Improved Vision: By the second day, many patients experience a noticeable improvement in their vision compared to the first day post-surgery. For some, vision may already be quite clear, while for others, it may still be a bit blurry.
Continued Healing: The cornea is still healing at this stage, and as it heals, vision may continue to improve. The healing process varies in speed among individuals.
Postoperative Symptoms: Patients might still experience some common postoperative symptoms, such as mild discomfort, light sensitivity, glare, halos around lights, or dry eyes. These symptoms typically diminish over time but can temporarily affect vision clarity.
Individual Variations: It’s important to remember that individual healing rates and responses to surgery can vary widely. Some patients might have near-perfect vision by the second day, while others may take longer to reach their best vision.
During the first week, it is crucial that you reduce the chances of exposing your eyes to irritation. For instance, do not wear any eye make-up, apply any products around your eyes, or get soap or water in your eyes. Try to avoid being around smoke or people who smoke. This is also the case for dust, as this can increase the temptation and chances of rubbing your eyes. Rubbing your eyes during the first stages of aftercare can cause severe discomfort and increase the risk of complications.
Optometrists also advise you to avoid alcohol consumption for one week after your surgery, as alcohol can interfere with your body’s healing process and cause dehydration in your eyes.
After day three, your eyes will have recovered enough for you to start exercising again, such as going on the treadmill or going on a bike ride. However, we advise waiting at least a week before practicing yoga and aerobic exercises. If you lift weights, we advise waiting at least two weeks before continuing with your exercise routine.
After a month, your eyes will be well on the road to recovery and will have adjusted enough for you to enjoy sports such as tennis, football, swimming, cricket, and snowboarding.
Here’s what patients can expect a month and more into their laser eye surgery recovery:
After a month, the cornea continues to heal and stabilize. Vision improvement generally continues, and many of the temporary post-surgery symptoms start to diminish.
For most patients, vision stabilises within the first three months. However, some may experience fluctuations for a bit longer.
If you are planning on travelling or going on holiday soon after your laser eye surgery, please check with your treating surgeon about when this would be possible.
As with any type of surgery, there are always potential side effects. Following surgery, you may experience one or more of these side effects, or you may not experience any at all. Everyone is different. So, let’s take a look at some of the possible side effects of laser eye surgery in further detail:
Halo effect: Some people experience a mild halo effect or a glare around bright lights, especially at night, once they have had laser eye treatment. In most cases, this will reduce significantly within the first month after treatment. After roughly three months, you should not have any issues with this whatsoever, but any lasting effects can usually be managed with the help of your ophthalmic surgeon.
Hazy vision: It is not uncommon to experience slightly reduced sharpness of vision or hazy vision, often likened to “soft focus,” for the first few weeks following treatment, especially in low-light environments.
Dry eyes: Some people experience some dryness in their eyes after laser eye treatment. You will be provided with eye drops in order to manage any discomfort. Your eyes will return to their pre-surgery state once they begin to heal.
Temporary discomfort: You should expect temporary discomfort for the first few days after treatment, especially if you have had LASEK surgery. This might include symptoms such as light sensitivity and mild irritation, and patients often find wearing sunglasses when outside helpful.
At Optegra, our world-renowned surgeons have executed tens of thousands of successful laser eye surgery procedures. If you have any concerns, we’re always on hand to help and advise.
A lot of people overlook the importance of getting proper aftercare following laser eye surgery. However, it is crucial to recognise that your eyes are going to be sensitive following treatment, and you need to protect them to reduce the risk of complications. In order to ensure you get great results from your surgery, it’s important to listen to the advice of your ophthalmic surgeon.
At Optegra, we offer patients a follow-up appointment the day after surgery to check on their progress, which is a great opportunity to speak to their surgeon about any questions or concerns they may have. After that, you’ll have routine checks throughout the following year, and you can always contact us if you have further queries. This helps to ensure that any problems are picked up early and can be addressed as soon as possible.
Our Laser Eye Surgery Recovery Tips
Here are our top tips to help ensure that your experience following laser eye surgery goes as smoothly as possible:
Make sure you’ve got the help you need. Ask a friend or family member to pick you up from the clinic after your treatment, and let someone know if you need any help with everyday tasks in the days following your surgery. Read our blog on driving after laser eye surgery for more information.
Avoid dusty environments. It is important to avoid dust as much as possible for at least a week after having a laser eye treatment. Your eyes will be healing during this period, and if they come into contact with dirt, it may cause an infection.
Take care when showering. You need to be extremely careful when washing your face or your hair after having laser eye surgery. Avoid taking a shower until the day after your treatment, and take care not to get soap or other products near your eyes.
Wear sunglasses. Your eyes may feel more sensitive to light straight after you’ve had laser eye surgery, so wearing sunglasses for a few days after treatment may help you feel more comfortable.
Use eye drops. Antibiotic eye drops can help prevent infections from occurring. Anti-inflammatory drops help with any post-surgery inflammation. At Optegra, our experienced ophthalmic surgeons will provide you with eye drops to use after your laser eye treatment. Follow their instructions carefully and use them as directed.
What NOT To Do After Laser Eye Surgery
Wear eye make-up. You should not wear any eye make-up or any products around your eyes for at least a week after the surgery.
Rub your eyes. This is especially important if you have had LASIK eye treatment, as rubbing your eyes can interfere with the flap created during the surgery.
Smoke or be around smokers: If smoke gets into your eye, it will increase the chances of you rubbing your eyes, and it can cause real discomfort.
The Optegra Aftercare Approach
Here at Optegra, we pride ourselves on offering comprehensive aftercare to make sure we get the very best results for each patient. We also ensure that you see the same ophthalmic surgeon from your very first consultation right through to your treatment and aftercare, so you can rest assured that your aftercare will be provided by someone who really understands your needs.
If you have any other questions or concerns regarding your recovery, there’s no need to wait for your next appointment; just give us a call, and we’ll make sure you get the support you need.
What Next? Contact us to discuss your laser eye surgery requirements.
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