Your eyes receive and process visual data to translate the world you see around you. This makes their position on the body perfect. Although the eyes being in the front and centre of your face also exposes them to different harmful elements and other potential disasters.
However, the eyes have powerful healing and defence mechanisms that help protect them. For example, the eyes use an adjustable shield to guide against debris and light, and the transparent layer of antibacterial fluid fights against infection. The eyes can also regenerate quickly, which ensures rapid healing.
These properties make the eyes incredibly resilient, but you may have to undergo a procedure like laser eye surgery for correction when you have any refractive error.
Laser eye surgery is minimally invasive, which means your eye can heal quickly after the procedure. Many patients have improved vision immediately after laser eye surgery and can return to their daily activities within 24 hours. Some patients also achieve up to 80% recovery within the first week of their surgery.
Laser eye surgery is safe, but like any other surgical procedure, it has some risks which you must consider before undergoing surgery. Knowing what to expect during the laser eye surgery recovery process also helps in your preparation to ensure everything goes smoothly.
Dealing with discomfort after laser eye surgery
Some degree of pain is common after any surgery, and part of this is true for laser eye surgery. Laser eye surgery, unlike other surgical procedures, is minimally invasive and lasts for a short while.
Post-surgery, most patients experience little or no signs of the surgery besides improved vision. There is mild discomfort for a few hours following laser eye surgery for many people. Your eyes may also feel a bit stingy or watery, but this is hardly noticeable, and it subsides quickly. You can manage this discomfort with eye drops.
Although pain or soreness is not common after Presbyond Laser Blended Vision, ReLEx Smile, and Lasik, patients may feel discomfort after LASEK/PRK.
Recovering and adaption to your vision after Presbyond Laser Blended Vision
Presbyond Laser Blended Vision is slightly different from other laser treatments, which applies to the recovery process. The length of recovery after this procedure varies between patients but usually depend on how fast the brain adapts to your new way of seeing.
Blended Vision is quite different from mono-vision as it doesn’t involve the eyes adjusting to two focal points but creates a smoother blended zone and provides more visual depth. This is important because the brain can adapt faster to seeing things with a more natural visual field.
Many patients adapt to their new vision within weeks, which is commonly the case if you undergo a comprehensive screening process and are certified suitable for the procedure.
About 98% of people can tolerate Presbyond Laser Blended Vision, unlike only 60% who can tolerate blended vision.
In rare cases, some patients experience a difference in their distance or near vision, but the visual confusion gets reversed using a simple pair of temporary glasses. Using the balancing glasses does not affect recovery, and you won’t need them for long.
The feeling gradually reverses after a while, usually between six weeks to nine months and, in a few cases, 12 months. Your eye surgeon will assess your progress during aftercare appointments and ensure you are adapting well to your new vision.
Working and managing recovery
Different from other eye surgical procedures that take weeks, months and even years to recover and get on with your life, many patients that undergo laser eye surgery can be back at work within 24 hours after treatment.
Depending on different factors such as expected recovery rate, the particular treatment, whether you have the procedure in the morning, afternoon or evening, you can take two days off work – the day of the surgery and next.
This often applies to ReLEx Smile, LASIK, and Presbyond Laser Blended Vision. LASEK/PRK recovery may last a little longer, but you can return to work after seven days.
Although returning to work is not an issue for many patients, you have to bear some things in mind when your return to work.
If you’re working with a screen, ensure you lubricate your eyes with artificial tears, especially when using a computer or working in an air-conditioned environment. Blinking your eyes when looking at a computer screen is also important.
If you work at a construction site, take extra care to prevent debris and dust from entering your eyes. Opt for safety glasses and other preventive measures to avoid irritation and complications.
If you work outdoors in a sunny environment, wear sunglasses with 100% UV protection for the first couple of weeks post-surgery.
Driving after laser eye surgery
Your vision is important while driving, so many people feel it may take some time before you can drive following laser eye surgery. Like most patients after laser eye surgery, you can drive within 24 – 48 hours after laser eye surgery. The difference for most persons is driving without glasses.
The exact time you can drive after laser eye surgery will depend on your treatment. The average time before you can drive is similar for all laser eye surgeries, except PRK. Your surgeon will inform you if your vision meets the standard driving requirement during your post-surgery consultation.
After your first aftercare appointment, you will likely be free to drive, but you may have to drive only short distances for the first few days. While driving, beware of halos and starbursts around light.
These side effects are common during recovery. These side effects are mild for some people, but others do not experience them. In the first 24 hours following laser eye surgery, it is best to rest and take the back seat while going home.
This means you have to arrange for a taxi home or ask a loved one to drive you home after the procedure, then bring you back the next day.
Using devices after laser eye surgery
After laser eye surgery, there is a strict no-device period. This includes TVs, smartphones, tablets, desktop computers and e-readers. Reading after your laser eye surgery is not also advisable.
The no-screen period doesn’t last over 24 hours after the procedure. But, the farther away you remain from your devices, the smoother and quicker your recovery will be, so you can use your devices.
A whole day away from your laptop or phone may seem difficult to accomplish, but you can take time off to be in a quiet and relaxing environment, away from screens and harsh lights. After the 24-hour wait, there are some things to keep in mind before using your devices frequently, especially if you are always on a computer.
Staring at a screen can make your eyes, so opt for short periods using screens and apply lubricating drops at frequent intervals. The general recommendation is to limit screen time as much as you can.
Bathing and exercising after laser eye surgery
The freedom to engage in exercise and sports is a major reason for many people undergoing laser eye surgery. However, some people are apprehensive about staying away from their favourite sports for too long after laser eye surgery.
After laser eye surgery, you need to stay away from playing sports and exercising for a while, but the period of abstinence from these activities may not be as long as you expect.
During recovery after laser eye surgery, your eyes go through the natural inflammatory process during healing. This makes your eyes a little more sensitive, and your body helps by sending all the resources it needs for healing.
In the acute phase of your recovery, you need to refrain from strenuous activities and prevent debris, dust, sweat and other substances from entering your eyes and disrupting the healing process.
Experts recommend taking a bath instead of a shower in the first 24 hours after your surgery. You also have to avoid steam rooms, saunas and Jacuzzi. Staying away from sports and exercising in the first three days post-surgery is necessary.
You can engage in light activities like stretching and walking within this period, and then you can resume activities like lifting small weights, jogging and stationary cycling.
Since your cornea will still be recovering in the first couple of weeks, you have to prevent sweat from entering your eyes. In the second week of recovery, the tissues in your cornea would have healed further, so you can participate in sports such as swimming, skiing, tennis and squash.
You have to avoid high-impact sports such as martial arts, sumo wrestling, booking and water skiing for at least a month. Your eye surgeon will inform you of the exact requirement.
Travelling after laser eye surgery
Before travelling or taking the tube after your treatment, there are some recommendations to follow. Consider avoiding travelling at least on the day of your travelling. The ideal requirement is staying indoors.
Many people have a good vision and healed flap within a few hours. However, you need to avoid moving about for long.
Tubes have a high level of microorganisms and dust, so you should avoid using tubes for the first couple of days. If you have to travel after your surgery, you can do so after your first appointment. However, your eyes will be sensitive and the cabin dry, so you need lubricating eye drops.
Wearing makeup after laser eye surgery
You may have to avoid makeup for a week after your treatment, but this doesn’t include basic makeup like concealer, foundation, blush and lipstick, besides the first 24 hours. The makeup restriction for seven days applies to makeup around the eyes like eyeliner, mascara and eye shadow.
Drinking after laser eye surgery
Taking alcohol following laser eye surgery is not advisable. It is best to avoid alcohol about 24 hours before your surgery and 24 hours afterwards.
Recovery timeline and aftercare
Recovery after laser eye surgery is quick with less discomfort. You can return to your regular activities by the next day, but for better recovery and to ensure your vision stabilises, you have to visit your clinic for 12 months following your treatment.
Most clinics include aftercare appointments in the cost of treatment, but others don’t. Ensure you check that the cost of your aftercare is covered.
Your first aftercare appointment will be the next day following surgery, then between 3 to 4 weeks, three months and 12 months. The optometrist will carry out tests to check your vision and ask questions to determine your healing process during the appointments.
The complete recovery after laser eye surgery takes about 3 – 6 months, but this is the time it takes for your vision to be 100%. In the first few days, your vision will improve considerably. The recovery time below will give you an idea of when you can resume normal and particular activities.
The first 24 hours
- You will notice an improvement in vision immediately after the procedure
- In the first few hours, you will experience a slightly blurry or foggy vision, so it’s best to keep your eyes closed
- Leaving the clinic should be with a taxi or arrange transportation with a friend or family member
- You can resume light activities, but be careful to avoid ant activities that will make you poke or touch your eyes
- Avoids screens to prevent eye strains and enhance recovery
- Take a bath instead of a shower to avoid irritation from water and soap
- Avoid rubbing your eyes even when they itch or feel dry
- Avoid alcohol
The following day
- You will visit the clinic for your first post-operation appointment. During this appointment, the surgeon will check if you are healing properly and inform you if you can resume your activities
- You can use a screen or read provided you use lubricating eye drops to prevent your eyes from drying out
- You can resume work, but ensure you use the right safety protective eye-wear
- Flying is possible, but use lubricating eye drops
- Take a shower but be cautious to avoid
- You may experience starburst and halos around lights at night,but they will reduce as the swelling in your cornea reduces
- Have a beer or glass of wine
- Your cornea must have regained its strength, so you can engage in light exercises like jogging.
- Try to prevent sweat from entering your eyes, touching or rubbing your eyes
- You can wear makeup and perfume
- Fluctuations and blurriness may occur as your eyes continue to heal. Your surgeon may prescribe temporary glasses until your refraction settles down
- Besides avoiding strenuous activities, you can return to your normal activities
- Any lingering effects of night glares will subside, and you will undergo an assessment at 3 – 4 weeks and three months post-surgery
- You can engage in sports like tennis, squash, sailing, football and scuba diving
- You still need to avoid high-impact sports such as boxing, martial arts, and extreme sports until about a month
- Wear eye makeup but still, need to apply caution
3 – 6 months
- Some persons experience dry for some months, but it can be managed with eye drops
- You may still have some restrictions, such as avoiding sunbeds in the first six months
- You will have an aftercare appointment in the third month and your final check after 12 months
Side effects of laser eye surgery
The surgeon will remove your corneal tissue from your eye during laser eye surgery. This triggers a healing process in the body, leading to natural swelling and inflammation. The result of this reaction is mild and temporary effects on vision.
The swelling is not visible to the naked eyes, and if side effects occur, they will subside after a few weeks. Common side effects following laser eye surgery include:
- Dry eyes
Dry eyes are the most common side effect of laser eye surgery, so patients require lubricating eye drops. Keeping your eyes lubricated is important, especially when you feel eye irritation or mild discomfort. Dry eyes resolve within 3 – 6 months, but some people may experience it for up to 12 months.
- Light sensitivity
You may experience sensitivity to light after laser eye surgery. It usually resolves in the first 12 -24 hours after surgery. In this period, avoid harsh and overly bright lights. You can wear sunglasses to protect your eyes.
- Fluctuating vision
Blurred vision immediately after laser eye surgery is common but reduces as your vision stabilise. Fluctuating vision usually lasts for the first week after laser eye surgery.
- Halos and starbursts
Starbursts and haloes are a type of glare that appear at night and in low-light environments. Halos are glowing rings that appear around lights, while starbursts are stars similar to glare. These side effects result from swelling after surgery, so every patient experiences it to some degree.
You can visit Optimal Vision today or call us on 020 7183 3725 to get more information about laser eye surgery.