Happy young female. Laughing.

Introduction

At the Conlon Eye Institute, we are committed to helping you achieve optimal vision through LASIK and PRK surgery. To ensure the best possible outcome from laser surgery and a smooth recovery, we have compiled a list of 14 expert tips that will help you easily sail through the post-operative phase. These tips are based on our extensive experience and the latest research in refractive surgery.

Following these expert tips can greatly reduce or minimize potential LASIK surgery complications. Adhering to these guidelines can enhance your chances of a successful procedure and a smooth recovery. It is important to note that while these tips can help mitigate risks, each individual’s experience may vary. Consulting with your eye surgeon and following their instructions is crucial for optimal results.

1. Understand the Recovery Timeline

LASIK Recovery Timeline

  • First 24 hours: Keep your eyes closed as much as possible, and avoid any activity that may strain your eyes.
  • 48-72 hours: You may notice a significant improvement in vision, but avoid strenuous activities and bright screens.
  • 1-2 weeks: Most patients can return to work and regular activities but continue to avoid contact sports and swimming.

PRK Recovery Timeline

  • First week: Keep your eyes closed as much as possible and avoid any activity that may strain your eyes.
  • 1-2 weeks: Vision may be blurry but gradually improve. Avoid strenuous activities and bright screens.
  • 2-4 weeks: Most patients can return to work and regular activities but continue to avoid contact sports and swimming.

2. Follow Your Eye Doctor’s Instructions at Conlon Eye Institute

At Conlon Eye Institute, our team of skilled eye surgeons is dedicated to providing personalized care and support throughout your LASIK or PRK journey. To ensure laser eye surgery and a smooth recovery, it is essential to strictly adhere to the post-operative care instructions provided by your eye surgeon at our facility.

These instructions have been carefully crafted to promote optimal healing and minimize the risk of complications.

Prescribed Medications

After your procedure at Conlon Eye Institute, our eye surgeon may prescribe medications to aid your recovery process. These medications may include pain relievers, anti-inflammatory drugs, or antibiotics to prevent infection of the corneal tissue.

Taking these medications as your eye surgeon directs and completing the full course of prescribed antibiotics is crucial to successful recovery.

Eye Drops

Your eye surgeon at Conlon Eye Institute will provide guidelines on using eye drops after your LASIK or PRK surgery. These guidelines typically include:

  • Preservative-free artificial tears alleviate dryness and keep your eyes lubricated during healing.
  • Anti-inflammatory eye drops: To reduce inflammation and promote healing.
  • Antibiotic eye drops: To prevent infections during the recovery phase.

It is essential to follow the specific dosing and administration schedule your eye surgeon provides for each type of eye drop. This will help ensure your eyes remain comfortable and infection-free throughout recovery.

Sunglasses in golden light.

3. Protect Your Eyes from Bright Light

At Conlon Eye Institute, we understand the importance of safeguarding your eyes during recovery following LASIK or PRK surgery. Protecting your eyes from bright light and harmful UV rays is crucial to full recovery, ensuring a smooth healing experience and minimizing potential complications.

Sunglasses with 100% UV Protection

When outdoors, wearing sunglasses that offer 100% UV protection is essential. These are labelled as “UV400”, indicating they can block out rays with wavelengths up to 400 nanometers. This provides coverage across the full spectrum of UV-A and UV-B, precisely what you need.

This will shield your eyes from the damaging effects of ultraviolet (UV) rays, which can cause discomfort and light sensitivity and hinder healing. Additionally, sunglasses with polarized lenses can help reduce glare, enhancing your visual comfort during recovery.

At Conlon Eye Institute, we recommend investing in high-quality sunglasses that meet the following criteria:

  • Offer 100% UVA and UVB protection
  • Feature polarized lenses to minimize glare
  • Fit comfortably and securely on your face

Wearing sunglasses with these characteristics will protect your eyes during healing, decrease light sensitivity and contribute to your long-term eye health.

Use Eye Shields While Sleeping

To prevent accidental rubbing or pressure on your eyes during sleep, using the provided eye shields for at least one to about a week following LASIK or PRK surgery is crucial. These shields are designed to protect your eyes from inadvertent contact, which could dislodge the corneal flap (in LASIK) or hinder the healing process (in PRK).

To use the eye shields effectively, follow these steps:

  1. Clean the eye shields with a mild soap solution and rinse them thoroughly with water.
  2. Dry the eye shields with a clean, lint-free cloth.
  3. Place the eye shields over your eyes before going to sleep, ensuring they fit securely and comfortably.
  4. Use the provided medical tape to secure the eye shields in place.

By diligently protecting your eyes from bright light and potential disturbances during sleep, you can promote a seamless recovery and achieve optimal results from your LASIK or PRK procedure at Conlon Eye Institute. Our team is dedicated to providing comprehensive guidance and support to ensure your eye health and comfort throughout recovery.

Clean "white room".

4. Maintain a Clean Environment

During the recovery process following LASIK or PRK surgery, it is crucial to maintain a clean environment to minimize the risk of infection and irritation. At Conlon Eye Institute, we advise patients to take the following measures to ensure their surroundings are conducive to healing:

  • Keep your living spaces clean and free of dust and allergens.
  • Avoid areas with excessive smoke, pollution, or strong odours.
  • Use an air purifier to help filter airborne particles and improve air quality.
  • Change your bed linens and pillowcases frequently to minimize exposure to dust and allergens.

By taking these steps, you can create a comfortable and hygienic environment that will support your recovery and minimize potential complications.

Young non-white person rubbing eye.

5. Avoid Rubbing Your Eyes

After undergoing LASIK or PRK surgery, avoiding rubbing your eyes for at least two weeks is essential. Rubbing your eyes during this period can cause the following issues:

  • Dislodging the corneal flap (in LASIK)
  • Slowing down the healing process (in PRK)
  • Increasing the risk of infection

To prevent inadvertent rubbing, try the following strategies:

  • Use preservative-free artificial tears to alleviate dryness and irritation.
  • Wear the provided eye shields while sleeping.
  • Contact your eye surgeon for guidance if you experience persistent itching or discomfort.

Water bottles lined up.

6. Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated is an essential aspect of the recovery process after LASIK or PRK surgery. Proper hydration benefits your overall health and can help alleviate dry eye symptoms commonly experienced during healing. To ensure you stay hydrated during your recovery time, consider the following tips:

  • Aim to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily.
  • Carry a water bottle with you to ensure you always have access to water.
  • Limit your consumption of dehydrating beverages like alcohol, coffee, and soda.
  • Incorporate water-rich foods, such as fruits and vegetables, into your diet.

Staying well-hydrated will help your body and eyes recover more efficiently and effectively after your LASIK or PRK procedure.

Young lady putting drops in eyes.

7. Use Artificial Tears

Dry eye symptoms are common following LASIK and PRK surgery. To alleviate dryness and maintain eye comfort during recovery, your eye doctor at Conlon Eye Institute may recommend using preservative-free artificial tears. These lubricating eye drops help keep your eyes moist, reducing irritation and promoting healing. To get the most benefit from artificial tears, follow these guidelines:

  • Use only the preservative-free artificial tears recommended by your eye doctor.
  • Apply the eye drops as directed, typically 4 to 6 times a day or as needed for comfort.
  • Avoid eye drops containing preservatives, as they may cause further irritation.

Young woman relaxing.

8. Get Adequate Rest

Getting sufficient sleep is crucial to healing after LASIK or PRK surgery. Adequate rest allows your eyes to recuperate and promotes faster recovery. At Conlon Eye Institute, we recommend the following to ensure you get the rest you need:

  • Aim for at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night during recovery.
  • Establish a consistent sleep schedule, going to bed and waking up at the same time each day.
  • Create a comfortable sleep environment by keeping your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet.

Young woman weight lifting.

9. Avoid Strenuous Activities

In the first week after LASIK or PRK surgery, avoiding activities that may strain your eyes or increase the risk of injury is essential. At Conlon Eye Institute, we advise patients to refrain from the following activities during this period:

  • Heavy lifting or intense exercise
  • Contact sports or activities with a high risk of eye injury
  • Swimming or submerging your head underwater

Avoiding these activities can minimize potential complications and promote a smooth healing process.

Young pain a desktop computer, rubbing eyes.

10. Limit Screen Time

Excessive screen time can cause eye strain and discomfort, particularly in the first few hours and days after LASIK or PRK surgery. To less eye pain and ensure a comfortable recovery, consider the following tips to reduce screen time:

  • Take frequent breaks from screens by following the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
  • Adjust your screen settings, such as brightness and text size, to reduce eye strain.
  • Use blue light-filtering features or screen protectors on your devices.

Following these guidelines, you can protect your eyes during recovery and ensure optimal results from your LASIK surgery or PRK procedure.

Couple in Hot Tub.

11. Refrain from Swimming and Hot Tubs

During the recovery process after LASIK or PRK surgery, it is essential to avoid swimming in pools, hot tubs, or open water bodies for at least two weeks. Submerging your head underwater can expose your eyes to bacteria and chemicals that may increase the risk of infection or irritation. At Conlon Eye Institute, we recommend the following precautions:

  • Wait at least two weeks after LASIK surgery or PRK surgery before swimming in pools or hot tubs.
  • Avoid swimming in lakes, rivers, or the ocean for at least one month after surgery to minimize the risk of infection.
  • Wear goggles to protect your eyes from waterborne irritants and bacteria when you resume swimming.

Adhering to these guidelines can ensure a safe and comfortable recovery from your LASIK or PRK procedure.

Lady in front of fan.

12. Protect Your Eyes from Wind and Dust

Wind and dust can irritate your eyes during the recovery phase following LASIK or PRK surgery. To safeguard your eyes from these environmental factors, consider taking the following steps:

  • Wear wraparound sunglasses to shield your eyes from wind and debris when outdoors.
  • Close windows and use air conditioning or air purifiers in your home to minimize dust exposure.
  • Avoid outdoor activities in windy or dusty conditions during the first week of recovery.

Protecting your eyes from wind and dust can help prevent complications and promote a smooth healing process.

Progress Sign.

13. Monitor Your Progress and Report Concerns

At Conlon Eye Institute, our team is committed to providing the highest quality care throughout your LASIK eye surgery or PRK recovery journey. To ensure your eyes are healing properly, monitoring your progress and reporting any concerns or unusual symptoms to your eye doctor is important. Common issues to watch for include:

  • Increased pain or discomfort
  • A sudden decrease in vision
  • Signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, or discharge

If you experience any of these symptoms or have concerns about your recovery from refractive errors, do not hesitate to contact our team at Conlon Eye Institute. We are here to support you and provide the guidance you need to achieve the best possible outcome from your refractive surgery.

Following these expert tips and recommendations, you can enjoy a seamless recovery from LASIK eye surgery or PRK surgery at Conlon Eye Institute. Our skilled eye surgeons and dedicated team are here to support you every step of the way, ensuring you receive the highest quality care and achieve the best possible results from your procedure.

Sand timer.

14. Be Patient with Your Vision

During the initial recovery phase after LASIK or PRK surgery, it is normal for your vision to fluctuate. At Conlon Eye Institute, we encourage patients to be patient with blurry vision as it stabilizes over time. It may take several weeks for your eyes to adjust and achieve optimal vision fully. To manage your expectations, keep in mind the following:

  • Visual fluctuations during the first few days or weeks are normal and should gradually improve.
  • It may take up to three months for your vision to stabilize completely, although most patients experience significant improvements within the first month.
  • Attend all scheduled follow-up appointments so your eye doctor can monitor your progress and address concerns.

By being patient and allowing your vision to stabilize naturally, you can enjoy the full benefits of your LASIK or PRK procedure.

Conclusion

By following these 14 expert tips for a smooth recovery from LASIK and PRK surgery, you can maximize the success of your procedure and enjoy improved vision with minimal complications. At Conlon Eye Institute, we are dedicated to providing you with the highest quality care and support throughout your refractive surgery journey.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions or concerns during your recovery process. Our experienced eye surgeons and dedicated staff are here to ensure you achieve the best possible outcome from your LASIK or PRK eye surgery.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: How long does recovering from LASIK or PRK surgery take?

A: The recovery time varies between patients and the type of surgery. Most patients can resume daily activities for LASIK within 24 to 48 hours, while vision stabilizes over several weeks. PRK recovery typically takes longer, with noticeable improvements in vision occurring within one week and full stabilization over one to three months.

Q2: Can I drive immediately after LASIK or PRK surgery?

A: No, you should not drive immediately after the procedure. You will need someone to drive you home after the surgery. Most patients can resume driving for LASIK within a day or two, while PRK patients may need to wait up to a week or longer, depending on their vision stabilization.

Q3: Are there any restrictions on physical activities after LASIK or PRK surgery?

A: You should avoid strenuous activities, heavy lifting, and contact sports for at least one week after surgery. Swimming and submerging your head underwater should be avoided for at least two weeks for LASIK and one month for PRK.

Q4: Can I wear makeup after LASIK or PRK surgery?

A: You should avoid wearing eye makeup for at least one week after surgery to minimize the risk of infection and irritation. Consult with your eye doctor before resuming makeup products around your eyes.

Q5: Can I experience dry eye symptoms after LASIK or PRK surgery

A: Dry eye symptoms are common following LASIK and PRK surgery. As your eye doctor recommends, preservative-free artificial tears can help alleviate dryness and keep your eyes lubricated during recovery.

Q6: How soon can I return to work after LASIK or PRK surgery?

A: Most LASIK patients can return to work within 1 to 2 days, while PRK patients may require up to a week or longer, depending on their vision stabilization and the nature of their job.

Q7: Are there any long-term side effects of LASIK or PRK surgery?

A: LASIK and PRK have a low risk of long-term side effects. However, some patients may experience dry eye symptoms, glare, halos, or starbursts. It’s essential to discuss any concerns with your eye doctor during the consultation process.

Q8: Can my vision worsen after LASIK or PRK surgery?

A: While LASIK and PRK surgery are designed to improve vision, factors such as age, eye health, and lifestyle can influence vision changes over time. Regular eye exams and maintaining eye health can help ensure lasting results.

Q9: Is it normal to experience light sensitivity after LASIK or PRK surgery?

A: Yes, light sensitivity is common during the initial recovery phase. Wearing 100% UV protection sunglasses can help protect your eyes from bright light and alleviate discomfort.

Q10: Can I undergo LASIK or PRK surgery more than once?

A: In some cases, patients may require an enhancement procedure to fine-tune their vision after the initial surgery. Your eye doctor will evaluate your individual needs and determine if additional treatment is necessary.

Photo graph of Dr. Conlon operating with loops on.

Dr. M. Ronan Conlon started his career in the field of ophthalmology at the same time as the development of refractive eye surgery in Canada. In 1996, he brought laser technology to Canada from Germany, which allowed him to perform laser eye surgery before it was available in the United States. With the establishment of the Conlon Eye Institute, Dr. Conlon has performed more than 40,000 refractive procedures and has advanced his expertise in LASIK and refractive cataract surgery.

The information on this page should not be used in place of information provided by a doctor or specialist. To learn more, read our Privacy Policy and Editorial Policy pages.

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