After LASIK Eye Surgery

What to Expect After LASIK Eye Surgery

Doctors and patient for laser surgery
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If you are scheduled for LASIK, it's a good idea to know what to expect immediately following your procedure. It is critical that you follow the instructions given to you by your surgeon.

Remember that as your eyes begin to heal, what you do after the procedure can affect your final visual outcome.

Immediately Following LASIK

After your LASIK procedure, you will be sent home with specific instructions.

You also will need to have someone help you home, so be sure to arrange that in advance.

Your surgeon likely will prescribe antibiotic, steroid and/or anti-inflammatory eye drops and over-the-counter artificial tears. It is imperative that you instill these drops, even the over-the-counter artificial tears, exactly as prescribed.

Pain After LASIK

While most people do not experience pain after undergoing a LASIK procedure, you may have mild discomfort, tearing, and light sensitivity for the first 24 to 48 hours.

Most moderate pain can be managed with over-the-counter non-steriodal anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen. Most surgeons recommend wearing sunglasses frequently for the first week. Your eyes will also appear red for about a week after surgery.

Most patients experience small subconjunctival hemorrhages, blood spots on the white part of the eye. This is caused by the suction ring and requires no treatment as they go away in about a week.

Tips Following LASIK

After your LASIK surgery procedure, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Keep your eyes closed as much as possible the first evening, your surgeon likely will tell you to go home and sleep as soon as you can.
  • Do not rub or squeeze your eyes for one to two weeks.
  • Wear sunglasses if light sensitive.
  • Avoid soap and water directly in the eye.
  • Wear little to no makeup for a few days.
  • Avoid contaminated water, such as pools and hot tubs for one week.
  • Do not take part in risky activities or rigorous sport activities for at least one week.

Post-Operative Appointments

Most surgeons schedule a post-operative follow-up appointment the next day after surgery. This is done to ensure that no complications related to the surgery develop.

Your vision will be checked. Your doctor also will use a special slit lamp biomicroscope to examine the front part of the eye to see how healing is progressing.

It is very important to keep all your post-operative appointments so that if a complication does occur, your doctor can treat it before it progresses.

An inadvertent finger in the eye while sleeping does not bode well, so your doctor may recommend that you wear a protective shield while sleeping anywhere from three to seven days.

You also will be seen by your surgeon or optometrist for a post-operative visit the next day, in one week, one month, three months and six months following surgery.

Weeks Following LASIK

Most people complain of seeing glares, halos or decreased night vision after LASIK surgery during the weeks following a LASIK procedure.

This is normal and should be expected, and should resolve after a month or two. 

Do not become concerned if your vision is not as clear as you think it should be. Your vision will be evaluated at each post-operative visit to ensure that you have the best possible result.

If it is clear that a residual refractive error, or prescription remains, another enhancement procedure can be performed on most patients. If required, this is performed at around two and one-half to three months after the first procedure.

What You Should Know

It is important to immediately let your surgeon or optometrist know immediately if you have increased redness, discharge, pain, sensitivity to light or decreased vision after the procedure.

Most doctors are available after hours for these types of concerns.

One important point to remember is that refractive surgery, such as LASIK, is not perfect. Surgeons do not guarantee that your vision will be perfect or that you will have 100% glasses-free vision.

LASIK is designed to reduce your dependency on glasses and contact lenses. However, in most cases, if you are a good candidate for the procedure, you will not require glasses or contact lenses after LASIK for most activities.


Azar, Dimitri T and Douglas D Koch. LASIK - Fundamentals, Surgical Techniques and Complications. Marcel Dekker, 2003.

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