How Long is the Recovery Process, and What Should I Expect?
Like any kind of surgical procedure, Laser Eye Surgery can instil fear in any prospective patient. But this is largely a fear of the unknown – a fear accompanied by an abundance of questions and concerns, from “Does Laser Eye Surgery hurt?” to “How long is the recovery process?”.
The good news is, here at London Vision Clinic, there is always a friendly professional on hand to answer these questions (and any more you might have) at every step of the way. But we also understand that it can be useful to learn as much as possible before your initial consultation. That’s why we provide a wide range of resources to help you gain the information you need.
In this article, we’ll be taking a look at the recovery process following Laser Eye Surgery and highlighting everything you can expect on your journey to clear vision.
So, let’s start briefly with the procedure itself.
What to Expect from the Procedure
Perhaps the most daunting part of Laser Eye Surgery (and any kind of surgery for that matter) is the anticipation of the procedure itself. This can be made worse when patients discover that they will be awake during the procedure. But, we’re happy to tell you, the procedure itself is extremely quick and completely painless.
In fact, depending on the procedure you have, you could be in the recovery room in just a matter of minutes!
So, what about the recovery process itself? Well, you’ll be glad to hear that your recovery will probably be much speedier than you think, too.
Laser Eye Surgery Recovery
Many patients are surprised to discover that their vision is already significantly improved as soon as they open their eyes after the procedure. But while you may be able to read the clock for the first time in years, your eyes will still require a bit more time to recover fully.
A typical recovery process (based on a LASIK procedure) for many of our patients will look something like this:
- Immediately after the procedure, you will be taken to a dimly lit recovery room where you can relax for a while. It is recommended that you keep your eyes closed as much as possible in the 24 hours after your procedure to prevent dust or other foreign objects from irritating them.
- We always recommend that you ask a friend or family member to help you get home. You will be advised to avoid public transport for safety and hygiene reasons.
- You will take the rest of the day off work and avoid screens such as computers and phones. We also advise that you avoid alcohol, make-up, showers and anything else that could irritate your eyes for at least the first 24 hours.
- The next day, you will attend your first aftercare appointment with your surgeon. At this meeting, your surgeon will assess your progress and usually sign off on your return to work and advise on when you can return to other routine practices such as driving (over 95% of LASIK patients are up to the legal driving standard on the first day after surgery.).
- Your vision will continue to improve as the swelling subsides and your eyes continue to heal. Most patients experience optimum vision within a few weeks after their surgery.
What else to expect during Laser Eye Surgery recovery
While your eyes will likely recover fairly quickly after your procedure, there are some side effects you should be aware of.
Most patients will experience dry eyes in the days and weeks following their surgery. This is a common side effect of Laser Eye Surgery and is generally nothing to worry about. You will be provided with lubricating eye drops before leaving the clinic on the day of your surgery. Your surgeon will advise on how often these should be used.
You may also experience some discomfort, watery eyes, or grittiness in your eyes. This can often be resolved with the use of eyedrops and painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen. However, if you are concerned, you will be given your surgeon’s telephone number – so you can get in touch right away!
Another common side effect following Laser Eye Surgery is the appearance of halos and starbursts around light sources. These forms of nighttime glare occur as a result of swelling in your eye – but don’t be alarmed.
This swelling is a completely normal part of the eye’s healing process and glare should subside as the swelling goes down. In the meantime, you may be advised to wear sunglasses and avoid driving at night.
What if I don’t have a typical recovery?
While the majority of patients will have a fast and smooth recovery after Laser Eye Surgery, it is important to remember that everyone – and their eyes – are different.
The reality is that the speed of your recovery can depend on a number of things, including:
- Your age
- Overall health
- The treatment received
- The quality of the clinic/surgeon
Getting the last of these right can go a long way to ensuring you have as smooth a recovery as possible.
At a high-quality clinic, you will receive the highest standard of preparation and care. This includes a rigorous screening program designed to accurately determine your eligibility for treatment. This comprehensive evaluation stage also allows your surgeon to create a personalised treatment plan that will give you the best chance of a smooth recovery.
You will also be certain that your surgeon will be using the most up-to-date technology and methods. For example, at London Vision Clinic, we were the first Laser Eye Surgery clinic in the UK to offer PRESBYOND® Laser Blended Vision and the innovative ReLEx SMILE – both co-invented by our founder, Professor Dan Reinstein.
Finally, you will have peace of mind knowing that you are receiving the very best aftercare. With regular follow-up appointments included in the cost of your surgery and personal access to your surgeon, we are able to keep a close eye on your recovery. And to top it off, we have some of the best results and stats in the world for Laser Eye Surgery treatment.
For more information about Laser Eye Surgery recovery, take a look at our comprehensive guide..