What causes night-time side effects after Laser Eye Surgery? And can they be treated?

Night glare is often described as a side effect of Laser Eye Surgery. The fact is that all Laser Eye Surgery patients will experience some kind of night glare following their treatment; however, in many ways, this is not so much a side effect as a key part of the eyes’ healing process.

Night glare symptoms, such as halos and starbursts, are a result of the swelling in the cornea that occurs after Laser Eye Surgery. While this may sound alarming, this swelling is actually triggered by the body to accelerate the eyes’ recovery.

Therefore, this so-called side effect will occur in all patients – regardless of their original prescription, age, experience, or treatment method used.

In the video below, expert Laser Eye Surgeon, Mr Glenn Carp, explains the effects of night glare after Laser Eye Surgery…

Youtube video link

As Mr Glenn Carp explains, it typically takes approximately three months for this swelling to settle. For most patients, this will also be the point at which night glare symptoms subside; however, if some residual night vision glare persists after this time, testing may be performed to determine how this can be resolved.

Common causes of night-time side effects after Laser Eye Surgery

Side effects of Laser Eye Surgery are fairly uncommon and, when they do occur, are usually minor. However, while most patients are able to continue with their lives as normal within just a few days, some may experience more noticeable effects.

Of those patients who develop these more noticeable side effects, problems such as halos and starbursts at night are among the most common. These visual disturbances can be more likely to occur for a number of reasons.

First of all, if the laser treatment did not sufficiently alter the shape of the eye during the first procedure, the patient may still have a little long- or short-sightedness remaining. Likewise, minor astigmatism may still be present. In most cases, a follow-up procedure or wearing glasses at night can help.

The severity of night glare can also be influenced by the size of the pupils. For example, our pupils naturally dilate in low light conditions in order to allow more light into the eye. However, if a patient’s pupils dilate beyond the area of the cornea that has been treated, glare may occur.

In many cases, this can be prevented with a thorough assessment before your surgery. This will involve measuring your dilated pupil size in order to determine the area of the cornea that will require treatment. At this point, your clinic will be able to advise whether to not they can effectively treat a large enough area with the laser. If treatment is not possible, they would disqualify you from Laser Eye Surgery treatment.

Glare and halos may also occur if laser treatment was off-centre during your procedure (off-centred ablation). This is a less common cause of night glare which can be avoided by choosing a high-quality clinic and a properly qualified and experienced surgeon.

Prevention and Management

While night glare is one of the most common side effects associated with Laser Eye Surgery, in most cases, this can be prevented with the help of a rigorous assessment prior to surgery. This process allows your surgeon to gather the necessary measurements and information to develop a treatment plan tailored specifically to your eyes.

The importance of this stage in your Laser Eye Surgery journey cannot be overstated. Choosing a clinic with access to the most up-to-date technology and expertise can also help to make sure the risk of night glare is minimised. For example, Wavefront technology – which comes as standard in our LASIK treatment – may significantly reduce the risk of glare, halos, and night vision difficulties.

If you have already had treatment and are experiencing halos and starbursts at night related to your pupil size – don’t fret. There are some techniques that can help to reduce the disturbance caused by night glare.

Some people find that medicated eye drops, which prevent the pupils from fully dilating, can be helpful. What’s more, for those who have trouble driving at night, simply keeping the overhead light on inside the car can stop the pupils from dilating so much. This can minimise the intensity of glare from outside light sources.

If you’ve already had Laser Eye Surgery and you have glare and halos at night because of your pupil size, don’t fret—there are a few techniques that can help.

If you have any more questions with regard to night glare or other Laser Eye Surgery side effects, get in touch with a member of our team – we are happy to help! Interested in Laser Eye Surgery treatment? Book a consultation today.