Woman without glasses looking into the distance


What to expect after laser eye surgery

The recovery period and experience are different for SMILE, LASIK, and PRK/LASEK. It is helpful to ask an eye care provider before the operation to explain the individual recovery plan. This also helps to understand what to expect after surgery and to recognize possible complications.

In general, with some rest, restraining from some activities, such as swimming or contact sports and using your prescribed eye drops, the healing process is successful and without complications.

Woman with yellow shirt on surgical bed

Woman is prepared for laser eye surgery

First Steps After Surgery

Most doctors will recommend that you follow these instructions after surgery to support the healing process:

  • Use alternative transportation after surgery
  • Try to take a long nap to keep the eyes closed and rested
  • Resist the urge to rub the eyes if they feel itchy
  • Ask the doctor for eye drops or an over-the-counter mild pain reliever by feeling any discomfort or slight pain 
  • Explain the symptoms to the doctor during check-up after the laser eye surgery

While the improved vision should be notable on the same day as the surgery, it is normal for sight to be a bit hazy and light-sensitive within the first 24 hours.

Patient with eyes opened

Rest your eyes as much as possible right after surgery

Tips for Optimal Healing

Although the recovery process after laser eye surgery is usually quick and without major complications, there are a few things to keep in mind for optimal healing. Please note: The recovery time might differ slightly for every patient.

  • Depending on the surgery, the doctor may recommend taking a couple of days off work.
  • It is recommended to sleep with the patch you received after surgery for some time to avoid scratching the eye while sleeping.
  • Taking a break from sport or high-intensity activities is helpful for the recovery process. 
  • Creams and makeup should be avoided for some time after surgery. The duration of this precaution also depends on the treatment method.
  • Swimming and sauna should be avoided for some time after surgery.

Any discomfort from surgery usually subsides within the first few days. It is necessary to consult with a doctor about the recommendations specific for your surgery and lifestyle.

Woman at an eye examination

The first check-up usually takes place the day after the surgery

Post-Treatment Check-Ups

The first post-operative check-up will typically be a day or two after surgery. At this appointment, the doctor will examine the eye to see how it is healing.

Depending on how the eye begins to heal, eye drops might be given to prevent infection or to improve eye lubrication. After this initial check-up, the doctor will recommend setting up another follow-up visit, either the following week or month, to check on the vision and healing process.

Consider donating your old glasses

Donate Your Glasses

After a successful Laser Vision Correction, your old prescription glasses are no longer needed. Instead of letting them collect dust on the shelf or throwing them away, consider donating old glasses.

285 million people in the world have impaired vision and not everyone has equal access to proper health care. Consider donating your old glasses to organizations in your neighborhood or region that deliver them to the less fortunate.

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