What side effects can I expect after LASIK?

Considering options. Caiaimage/Chris Ryan

Question: What side effects can I expect after LASIK?

Answer: Certain side effects are normal after undergoing LASIK, as they are part of the healing process. Most of these side effects are usually temporary and are treated with the medications prescribed by your surgeon. They usually begin to lessen just days following your procedure.

Most patients will experience a sandy, gritty feeling in the eyes the first few days following a LASIK procedure.

Some may also have blurred vision, mild pain and tearing for the first 48 to 72 hours. Some patients state that they are slightly light sensitive for a few days.

During the first few weeks, patients usually complain about halos or glare when driving at night. Your eyes may also feel dry for the first couple of months after LASIK. However, most of these side effects resolve quickly and are to be expected.

It is important to understand the difference between side effects and complications of LASIK. LASIK complications can happen to your eyes or vision during surgery or even after surgery. While these complications are rare, it is important to know that they could possibly occur:

  • Possible lost vision:
    Occasionally, some patients will see a deterioration in their best corrected vision. You may not see as well after the surgery as you did with eyeglasses or contact lenses before.
  • Severe dry eye syndrome:
    Some patients lose the ability to produce sufficient tears after undergoing LASIK, resulting in a condition referred to as dry eye syndrome.
  • Need for further procedures:
    Some patients may require a "touch up" procedure after having LASIK to further correct their vision. Changes may occur during the healing process that require further correction.
  • Need for reading glasses:
    People usually require reading glasses as they age, a condition referred to as presbyopia. Unfortunately, LASIK cannot correct presbyopia.


    New York-Presbyterian, The University Hospital of Columbia and Cornell. Corrective Vision Surgery. Mar 2008.

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