Laser Eye Surgery Aftercare – Whats Involved?

If you are thinking about having laser eye surgery then it is important to know what your commitments are to after-care appointments following the procedure. Aftercare appointments will vary slightly depending on whether you have had Lasik or Lasek eye surgery but the typical appointments you will have are as follows:
1-day post-op, 1-week post-op, 1-month post-op, 3 months post-op, 6 months post-op, 12 months post-op.
If everything is still fine 12 months after surgery will be most likely discharged and advised to have the usual recommended 2 yearly eye examinations. Most aftercare appointments will be quick and easy and are really just to check that your vision is settling down and that your eyes are healing as they should be. You should always attend for additional aftercare appointments if you are worried about your vision or are in any discomfort.
The following lists the most common questions people have about the laser eye surgery recovery period:
When can I drive following laser eye surgery?

  • Lasik: Most people can drive 24 – 48 hours after Lasik surgery. You will be advised if you are within the driving standards at your 1-day post-op aftercare.
  • Lasek: Your vision generally takes longer to settle down following Lasek and it may be up to 1 week following Lasek surgery that you will be able to drive. Check at your aftercare appointment if you meet the required driving standards.

What should I expect straight after laser eye surgery?

  • Lasik: Following Lasik eye surgery you are only likely to be in mild discomfort. Although this varies from one individual to another, most people report gritty, watery and light-sensitive eyes. These symptoms normally improve dramatically over the first 24 hours and a large percentage of people feel fully recovered the next day. It is advisable to wear sunglasses for the first 24 hours as your eyes will be light sensitive. You will be prescribed antibiotic and anti-inflammatory eyes drops by your surgeon and it is important to follow the instructions provided. You will need to wear protective goggles overnight to prevent you from rubbing your eyes. You are likely to be advised not to shower for a few days following surgery as it is important that you do not get any soap in your eyes. Most people can go back to work 2-3 days after surgery but this is dependent on the type of employment you have. The Lasik recovery is generally much quicker than the Lasek recovery.
  • Lasek: Following Lasek, you will be wearing a bandage contact lens (normally for about 3-4 days) to help protect your eyes. This will just feel like a normal contact lens and you will sleep with it in overnight. You are likely to be in moderate pain following Lasek (worse than Lasik) but this normally subsides over the first 24-48 hours. Your surgeon will prescribe you with antibiotic and anti-inflammatory eye drops. Your vision may be a little blurred as your eyes settle down over the first week. Most people can return to work 1 week after Lasek and the same is normally true of driving. This may be sooner or later depending on how quickly your eyes heal. Higher prescriptions take longer to settle down.

What should I not do after laser eye surgery?
The following are things you should avoid after having laser eye surgery:

  • Environment: It is a good idea to avoid smoky, dusty environments for at least the first week following surgery. This may result in discomfort and also will increase your chances of rubbing your eyes.
  • Rubbing your eyes: It is important not to rub your eyes following laser eye surgery until they have fully healed. It is especially important if you have had Lasik eye surgery as it may interfere with the healing of the flap.
  • Sports: You should avoid sport after surgery. You can read more about this in a previous post I have written: laser eye surgery and sport.
  • Eye make-up: Avoid all eye makeup for at least 1 week following laser eye surgery. Check at your aftercare when you are allowed to start wearing it again.
  • Work: You will need around 24-48 hours off work following Lasik surgery but about 1 week following Lasek.
  • Holidays: Do not plan or book anything important such as holiday within 10 days of having laser eye surgery to ensure your eyes are fully healed. It would be very frustrating if you had to cancel it.

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