What are the Common Side Effects of Laser Eye Surgery?
Since the conception of Laser Eye Surgery almost four decades ago, countless developments and innovations have helped to make the procedure less invasive and more effective. Patients today experience shorter recovery times and are able to receive treatment for much higher prescriptions than in the past.
But those aren’t the only selling point of Laser Eye Surgery. Despite dealing with an incredibly complex organ – our eyes – the procedure is rarely associated with serious complications or side effects. In fact, in most cases, patients are able to return to their normal routine in just a day or two!
Nonetheless, as with any kind of surgery, it is important that every patient is fully aware of the potential side effects before making their final decision.
For people who have been wearing glasses or contact lenses for as long as they can remember – or those who have recently noticed a decline in their quality of vision due to presbyopia – the results of Laser Eye Surgery can be joyous and overwhelming. But, like most experiences in life, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. After having Laser Eye Surgery, some people will also experience side effects.
The good news is, such side effects are mild, temporary, and perfectly natural responses that are part of the body’s own healing process.
Below, we will walk you through three of the most common side effects of Laser Eye Surgery. Being aware of the potential side effects will help to ensure your recovery goes as smoothly as possible!
The 3 Most Common Side Effects of Laser Eye Surgery:
Immediately after the procedure, you will experience increased sensitivity to light. Once your procedure is complete, your surgeon will ask you to keep your eyes closed as much as possible. You will be given some time to recover in a low-lit recovery room where you can sit back and relax.
Don’t worry – light sensitivity is completely normal and usually settles within 12-24 hours.
However, everyone’s eyes are different. This may mean that your eyes take longer or don’t take quite as long to settle after your treatment. For some patients, increased sensitivity to light may persist for up to a few weeks. For most patients though, light sensitivity is a minor side effect which some may not notice at all. It can largely be managed by simply wearing a pair of sunglasses on the day of the surgery itself!
Halos and Starbursts
Another common side effect associated with Laser Eye Surgery is night glare. This may come in the appearance of ‘halos’ (rings around light sources) and/or starbursts (dispersed and star-like glare).
Halos and starbursts occur as a result of swelling in the eye after Laser Eye Surgery. This might sound a bit nasty but, again, this is a completely normal part of the body’s response to treatment. During the adjustment period following your procedure, you may notice halos and starbursts around light sources both at night and during the day.
Like most Laser Eye Surgery side effects, the occurrence of night glare is usually short-lived. The majority of patients will notice an improvement in just a couple of weeks, though in rare cases, it may persist for a few months.
The vast majority of patients will experience dry eyes after Laser Eye Surgery treatment. That’s why, at London Vision Clinic, we provide all our patients with lubricating eye drops as part of their recovery plan. These “artificial tears” help to relieve any discomfort caused by dry eyes and help to accelerate recovery.
While eye dryness is usually mild, some people may be at an increased risk of experiencing persistent dry eyes after Laser Eye Surgery. Our screening process and pre-operative assessments help us to determine if this is the case. We are then able to account for this in your treatment plan, which will be discussed with you, in detail, before the procedure.
Your surgeon will also advise you on activities that you should avoid or reduce to minimise the severity of dry eyes. For example, for at least 24 hours after your treatment, you should avoid alcohol and using screens (e.g., phones, television, tablets). Nonetheless, the majority of people are back to using their devices and able to celebrate with a glass of bubbly within a couple of days!