One of the most commonly asked questions about LASIK is how long the recovery period is following surgery. For most people, LASIK eye surgery recovery time is very fast—you’ll likely be able to return to normal activities within a day or two.
Right after surgery, your vision will already be much clearer, but the full healing period takes three to six months, during which your vision will continue to improve.
Here is what you can expect immediately after LASIK surgery, in the first few days and weeks, and after three months.
The Immediate Aftermath
Right after LASIK surgery, you may experience:
- A burning sensation in the eye
- Itching of the eye
- A feeling that there is something in your eye
- Watery, tearing eyes
- Hazy or blurry vision
- Light sensitivity
- Dry eyes
When you get home after surgery, rest your eyes for two to four hours and avoid any strenuous activity. Your eye doctor will give you instructions about what and how much pain reliever to take if you experience eye discomfort. They will also likely give you lubricating eye drops to help with dryness.
To protect your healing eyes, you should wear sunglasses when outside and eye shields while you sleep.
Immediately following the procedure, your vision will be foggy, but it will improve within hours.
The First Few Days
Your doctor will want to see you 24-48 hours after your procedure to test your vision and examine your eyes. You may be prescribed more eye drops to prevent infection or inflammation.
One day after surgery, you can return to your normal routine—most people can return to work. However, you should avoid wearing contact lenses and rubbing or touching your eyes for at least a week.
During the first few days, you may experience halos around lights, tearing eyes, puffy eyelids, and light sensitivity. These symptoms should diminish within a week.
Once a week has passed since surgery, you can start exercising again. Be sure to wear goggles if you go swimming.
If you experience severe pain at any time, contact your doctor immediately.
Weeks Two to Four
For the first several weeks after surgery, it is common for people to experience:
- Some blurred vision
- Changes in vision
- Dry eyes
- Visual glares or halos around lights
If you play sports, wear sports goggles for at least a month.
Months One to Three
It usually takes two to three months for the eye to heal after LASIK, and your vision will get clearer as it heals. A majority of people will have 20/20 vision three months after surgery.
After Three Months
Often, you will have follow-up visits with your doctor up to six months after LASIK. During these visits, your doctor will check:
- How your vision has improved
- How your eyes are healing
- Whether you are experiencing any side effects
If you’ve experienced side effects like dry eyes or visual disturbances, they will likely disappear within the first few months after surgery.
In most cases, your vision will be clear and stable around six months after surgery. If you’re still experiencing vision issues at this time, your doctor may recommend that you undergo another laser surgery procedure called an enhancement to finetune your eyesight.
Factors That Affect Recovery
Everyone’s ability to heal is different. Your age, overall health, and any pre-existing conditions can affect how quickly your eyes heal after LASIK. Younger people tend to heal faster than older people.
Additionally, if you have a high prescription, it may take longer for your eyes to recover. The more significant the vision correction, the more time your eyes may need to adjust.
Advanced LASIK procedures like Wavefront LASIK or Bladeless LASIK may result in faster recovery times compared to traditional LASIK procedures. These advanced techniques provide a more precise and customized approach to vision correction.
Following the LASIK after-care instructions given by your surgeon is key to a smooth recovery. Using prescribed eye drops, avoiding rubbing and touching your eyes, and wearing protective eyewear can all contribute to a faster recovery.
Common LASIK Myths
“LASIK provides instant perfect vision.”
Generally, it takes two to three months after surgery for your eyes to heal, and it may take up to six months for your vision to be clear and stable. It’s normal to experience blurred vision and other visual disturbances in the weeks following your procedure.
“Recovery is painful and lengthy.”
LASIK is typically painless. During the procedure, you may feel a few moments of pressure, but numbing drops are given to prevent discomfort, and the entire process is over quickly. To manage mild symptoms like burning and itching sensations in your eye after surgery, you can take an over-the-counter pain reliever.
Most people can drive and return to work the day after surgery.
Tips for Optimal Recovery
Preparing for Your LASIK Procedure
Before your procedure, it’s important to discuss your expectations after surgery with your doctor. For example, if you have severe myopia, it may take longer for your eyes to adjust after surgery, and you may have to wear glasses for part of your recovery period. You should also be aware of any medications you’ll need to take after surgery, including eye drops.
Following Post-Op Care Guidelines
Following your doctor’s instructions after surgery is the best way to have a smooth, quick recovery. This can include things like refraining from exercising for a week or more, rubbing your eyes, wearing makeup or eye creams, etc.
Be sure to visit your doctor for recommended follow-up appointments.
Seek Medical Attention for Concerning Symptoms
If you experience severe eye pain, vision loss, or any other abnormal symptoms, seek medical attention right away.
Experience Your Clearest Vision at Toledo LASIK
If you’re looking to improve your vision and reduce your dependence on glasses and contact lenses, visit Toledo LASIK to find the vision correction procedure for you. Our highly experienced eye surgeons can perform leading-edge techniques like Wavefront LASIK and Bladeless LASIK. You can receive LASIK even if you have astigmatism, but if you are not a candidate for LASIK, we provide alternative surgeries like SMILE and PRK.