Tips for a Smooth LASIK Recovery
LASIK is currently one of the most advanced, effective vision correction procedures in the industry. The operation is life-changing for any patient who undergoes the procedure. The potential to free ourselves from eyeglasses or contact lenses alone has driven countless patients to their local eye specialists. With the recent advances in technology, LASIK is becoming even more widespread, efficient, and affordable. In fact, the price has gone down exponentially in the past few years. As for safety concerns, serious complications only occur in under 1% of surgeries. The chances of anything going wrong are so astronomically low that the need to worry is nearly non-existent. Furthermore, the procedure is fast – 10 to 15 minutes per eye – leaving little room for anything to go awry.
Precautions to Take
If you’re invested in a quick recovery time after the procedure, there are a few steps you may take beforehand. First off, you’ll meet with your eye doctor before the surgery to discuss your medical history, current vision impairments, and overall eye health. Your doctor may recommend that you discontinue contact lenses for the foreseeable future – at least a few days to weeks before the procedure.
On the day of the surgery, it’s important just to eat a light meal, avoid wearing any makeup around the eyes, forego facial lotions, and skip the hair accessories. Doing so will help to ensure the operation runs smoothly from start to finish.
How Long is the Recovery Period?
This is a common question that many patients ask their doctor before the procedure. The only reasonable answer is simply that recovery varies from patient to patient. Some patients feel perfectly fine the moment the operation is complete, while others feel slight discomfort. After your LASIK procedure, your doctor will recommend a bit of rest. You won’t be able to drive, so it’s important to plan ahead and have a friend or family member pick you up from the hospital. Some patients are ready to return to work the very day after the operation, while others need a few days to rest.
As is the case with any surgery, the recovery afterward can be as difficult or as easy as you make it. If you follow the directions of your doctor, use your prescription medications as intended, and take it easy for a bit, you’ll be back to normal promptly.
- Protect Your Eyes – This may seem obvious, but you’ve just had a laser pointed at your cornea. It’s important not to rub your eyes, and wearing eye protection can certainly help. Your doctor may provide protective eyewear, such as glasses or goggles; your eyewear should be worn in the shower, too.
- Rest – This is important. You may have an active lifestyle. You may constantly be on the go. After surgery, take it easy. Just rest for a bit and relax with some time off from work. Avoid strenuous activities or contact sports.
- Take Baths – If possible, take a bath instead of a shower. Keep your head above the water and avoid pouring water over your head. Do not get soap or shampoo in your eyes whatsoever.
- Prescription Medications – Your doctor will most likely prescribe pain medications and artificial tears or eye drops to bolster your recovery. These medications are designed to prevent infection, which can be common after surgery when proper precautions are not taken. Read the directions of each medication and use accordingly.
To break down the complete recovery:
- Do not rub your eyes
- Avoid eye makeup and skin lotions
- Do not swim
- Forego strenuous activity
- Do not drive at night
- Contact your doctor promptly if any new or worsening symptoms occur
- Use your prescription medications and artificial tears
Following Up With Your Doctor
There are many reasons to keep up with your doctor after surgery, with the most obvious being your follow-up examination. Your doctor will most likely schedule a follow-up exam within 48 hours of the conclusion of your procedure. At this appointment, your specialist will inspect your eyes and test your vision. You may also receive medicated eye drops to help promote recovery and prevent infection.
You should be notified of any potential side effects of the operation, and have medication to prepare for any discomfort. However, if at any point prior to your follow-up exam you feel extreme discomfort, pain, or worsening symptoms, contact your doctor immediately.