What to Expect in the First 24 Hours After LASIK
Written by Shannon Wong on July 26, 2021
In LASIK surgery, the surgeon creates a flap via a computer-guided laser on the clear tissue of the cornea. Once reshaping of the corneal tissue is complete, the surgeon puts the flap back in place. After LASIK surgery, you can say goodbye to eyeglasses and contact lenses. Even though you can see clearly, it’s important to take some precautions for a short period. The top eye specialists at Austin Eye discuss what to expect in the first 24 hours after your LASIK surgery.
LASIK recovery is very fast. Significant, but not complete, healing takes place within three days.
Patients generally come out of the procedure with somewhat blurry vision. As the haziness lifts, they realize how much their vision has improved. The numbing effects of the topical anesthetic wear off about 30 minutes after surgery.
Patients cannot drive themselves home after LASIK surgery. Not only may their vision prove blurry, but they could still feel the effects of medications given prior to surgery.
Expect burning and itching afterward, or the feeling of a foreign object in the eye. The surgeon will recommend appropriate pain medication. Do not rub the eye as this could dislodge the flap. A dislodged flap results in pain and excessive tearing.
The surgeon will normally schedule a return visit within 48 hours to examine the eyes and perform a vision test.
Avoid any strenuous activity for the rest of the day. Many patients are fatigued after the procedure. Close your eyes for two to four hours once you get home. Napping is fine. When outdoors, wear sunglasses. Protective goggles are used for sleeping for the first week or so.
Most people can resume normal activities the following day. Non-contact sports are usually fine within a few days, but four weeks may pass before the surgeon approves participating in contact sports. Swimming is also out for several weeks.
Keep Eyes Moist
Use the lubricating eyedrops provided by your eye surgeon to keep your eyes moist.
No Makeup or Lotion
Do not use any makeup or lotion around the eye for at least two weeks. This helps prevent infection.
Temporary Side Effects
You may experience some temporary side effects post-LASIK surgery. These should last just a few days, and include:
- Dry eyes
- Halos around lights
- Light sensitivity
- Red eyes
While a certain amount of discomfort is normal in the first 24 hours after LASIK surgery, serious pain is not. Patients suffering severe eye pain after LASIK should contact their surgeon immediately.
If you would like more information about LASIK surgery and whether you are a candidate for the procedure, contact the dedicated eye care specialists at Austin Eye by our office at (512) 250-2020 to schedule a consultation.