Posted by: Clear Vision Cataract & LASIK Center

LASIK Recovery

Modern laser vision correction options such as LASIK, SMILE, and PRK utilize precise lasers to alter the shape of the eye, which corrects refractive errors such as nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), and astigmatism. The entire procedures generally take about 10 minutes per eye, while the laser is typically in use for just a few seconds. Most people who come to our office for their initial LASIK or SMILE screening evaluation have some questions, but perhaps the most common is regarding the recovery period from LASIK or SMILE.

Does LASIK hurt?

Fears of laser vision correction discomfort are very common! Rest assured, that with our new, modern lasers, pain is not part of the laser vision procedure itself. To ensure you are comfortable, we start by offering everyone a low dose of a mild sedative called Valium, and also place a numbing eyedrop solution on the eye. In addtion, while you will be lightly and briefly (<20 seconds) connected to the laser by a contact lens, the vacuum pressure holding your eye still is so low that you will not feel anything more than a light touch. In addition to being a comfortable treatment, with the Visumax laser you will not experience dimming of vision. At Clear Vision Center, we are equally committed to safety, excellent visual outcomes and patient comfort.

Is LASIK, SMILE, or PRK recovery painful or uncomfortable?

Some discomfort in the recovery period is to be expected with any medical procedure, and laser vision correction is no different. Typically this is described as a mild irritation or burning sensation lasting 3-4 hours. The good news is that the discomfort following any laser vision proceedure is typically so mild that only a mild analgesic such as Tylenol or ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) is required for a few hours or less. You will not need opioids for pain control after laser vision correction. After LASIK or SMILE, most people notice their eyes feel some discomfort for only a few hours. After PRK, the discomfort will last for a few more days than with LASIK. To help you through the PRK healing process, we will temporarily place a bandage contact lens for a few days.

What is the vision recovery like after LASIK, PRK or SMILE?

Immediately following LASIK or SMILE, most people notice an immediate improvement in vision. However, it is still normal to experience blurry vision, halos, or fluctuating vision for a few days or longer. While the vision isn’t immediately crisp, most are able to function well enough to drive and work within 24 hours. We recommend taking two days off to allow your eyes ample time to heal from the procedure, restrict strenuous activity or working in dirty environments for one week, and swimming for up to one month. Most are seeing normal or near-normal after one week, although some may take longer depending on the procedure and healing.

What are the restrictions after LASIK, PRK, or SMILE?

Following any procedure, the body (and eyes in this case) need ample time to heal. To minimize the risk of complications, we require all our patients to avoid certain activities for the first week. Restrictions may vary by procedure, but typically we recommend avoiding lifting, bending, or straining for one week. We also recommend avoiding dusty or dirty environments, performing yard work, or intense bouts of exercise for one week. Typically we recommend avoiding swimming pools, lakes, and hot tubs for one month as well. With SMILE or PRK, which do not involve a corneal flap, we shorten these restrictions by about 50%. Be sure to talk to Dr. Vrabec our LASIK, SMILE, and PRK surgeon with specific questions at your consultation!

Ready for the next steps?

We understand that having vision correction a big decision. That’s why we offer complimentary consultations for those even just thinking about being free of glasses and contacts. At this visit, we will ensure you are a candidate for vision correction, and will answer all of your questions. Our unique approach combines the most modern laser and procedure technology with a personalized recommendation. This will leave you feeling confident that if you are a candidate, you’ll get the best results and overal experience. For more information, check out our YouTube video that reviews your Vision Correction Options