ADL Health

Health Care & Fitness Advice

Your Laser Eye Surgery Recovery Timeline

One of the most common questions that patients ask their consultant concerning laser eye surgery is what happens during the recovery process. In truth, this will differ slightly between each patient depending on their age, the condition of their eyes, and their overall health. However, experience and feedback from those who have had laser eye surgery provide a general timeline that a laser eye surgery patient can expect to follow as they recover.

Immediately After Opening Eyes

Many laser eye surgery patients are amazed that the second they open their eyes they can see an immediate improvement in their vision. Some even become emotional at seeing clearly without glasses or contact lenses for the first time in years. That being said, there may be some minor fogginess which is why you should never drive yourself following laser eye surgery. In most cases, vision becomes completely clear within a few hours.

First 24 hours

Following laser eye surgery you will be given prescription medication. This is usually eye drops to ward off infection and painkillers to deal with any discomfort you experience as the anaesthesia wears off. That discomfort can be in the form of itching, burning, or that you have a tiny bit of sand in your eye.

Dryness in the eyes is also very common following laser eye surgery and that is why you may also be prescribed eye drops to lubricate your eye. Other advice which should help you recover in these early stages is to sit or lie with your eyes closed for a few hours.

Other symptoms which you may experience include sensitivity to light, excess tearing, eyelids becoming puffy, red/bloodshot eyes and seeing starbursts or halos in your field of vision. These are to be expected and most should have gone within a week.

In this early period is advisable to wear an eye shield when lying down and especially whilst sleeping as this prevents you from rubbing your eyes, either with your hands or against your pillow when asleep.

Day 2 to Day 7

The laser eye surgery will likely ask you to revisit them on day 2 so the consultant can check your recovery and ensure that your eyes are healing as expected. They will also test your vision so that a record of your improvement can be recorded. At this visit, you should tell your consultant if you have experienced any severe or unusual symptoms.

In most cases, assuming your vision is clear, and your discomfort levels are receding, you should be able to return to work, and also drive. However, activities that require lifting or straining should be avoided.

Week 2 to Week 4

By week 2 any discomfort should have receded completely. You should also no longer have to wear your eye mask when sleeping. Other precautions which you should take for at least a couple of weeks include:

  • Avoid reading for long periods
  • Avoid staring at computer screens for long periods
  • Avoid makeup around the eyes
  • No swimming
  • Avoid dusty areas
  • Always wear sunglass when outdoors
  • Avoid contact sports until after your 1-month check-up

Month 2 to Month 6

Your vision should stabilise during this period although you may still see the occasional starbursts or halos. Ensure you attend your follow-up appointments with your surgeon to ensure all is well.

Beyond 6 Months

Your vision should be fine now, although you should still have an annual eye check as normal.