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In addition to being one of the safest elective medical procedures available today, the recovery time for LASIK is short — in fact, most patients return to work the very next day and experience improved vision within a few hours of the procedure.

At King LASIK, our team uses the latest technology to ensure that your recovery time is as short as possible after receiving life-changing vision correction. While every eye is unique and will heal a bit differently, here is what your LASIK recovery will generally look like.

What to Expect During LASIK Recovery

Immediately After LASIK Eye Surgery

Numbing drops are applied to your eyes before you undergo your LASIK procedure, ensuring that your surgery is virtually painless. These drops wear off about 20-30 minutes after surgery. At this point, it’s common to experience an extremely mild itching or burning sensation. These are only temporary and shouldn’t last for long, and it’s very important to resist the urge to rub your eyes.

This is because during laser eye surgery, a flap is made in your cornea, the transparent, outer part of your eye, in order to reach the tissue below. After your vision is corrected by our cool, excimer laser, the corneal flap is carefully replaced by your eye surgeon. This corneal flap can be displaced if you rub your eyes too soon. You will be given post-operative instructions – including an eye drop routine to follow — to minimize discomfort and promote quick healing after your procedure.

It’s very important that you arrange transportation home, because you won’t be able to drive immediately after LASIK. Your surgeon will give you a pair of sunglasses or eye shields due to your temporarily increased sensitivity to light immediately after LASIK. It’s also recommended that you rest for the remainder of the day — your eyes will be very sensitive in the hours following your procedure.

The First Few Weeks After Laser Eye Surgery

The first week after your LASIK eye surgery is critical for your healing process. That’s why we at King LASIK ask that you come back the next day for your first follow-up appointment, and within the following week for your second.

It’s normal to feel the sensation like there’s something in your eye for the first few days following LASIK. In the event that you do get an eyelash or dust particles in your eye in the first few days after your procedure, flush your eye with artificial tears and contact your surgeon if the problem persists.

Common Questions About LASIK Recovery Time

At King LASIK, we are often asked questions about LASIK recovery time. Here are answers to some of the most common questions we receive:

When Will I Be Able to See After LASIK?

Many people who undergo LASIK experience improved vision right after surgery, however, healing time can differ for every patient. If you have a higher prescription, for example, the improvement in your vision may be more noticeable right away.

Many patients can resume daily activities like working and driving the day after undergoing LASIK, while others may take two to five days to recover. However, it may take a few months for your vision to fully stabilize, and it’s normal to experience slight fluctuations in your vision for several weeks after your LASIK procedure.

When Can I Read, Watch TV, and Play Video Games After LASIK?

Our LASIK surgeons recommend waiting at least 24 hours after your procedure to read, watch television, play video games, or even use your smartphone or tablet. All of these activities involve focusing on a fixated point for long periods of time and can strain your eyes and seriously affect your healing process in its early stages.

Even though most patients go back to work the day after LASIK, it’s important to take things slowly and ease yourself back into work involving long periods of screen time. Staring at a computer monitor decreases your blink rate and can lead to eye fatigue.

If your job involves heavy computer use, it may be a good idea to take an extra day off after LASIK and give your eyes a rest. When you return to work, be sure to keep your eye drops handy to reduce irritation and take frequent breaks to rest your eyes.

How Long Until I Can Shower After LASIK?

We recommend that you wait at least 24 hours after your LASIK procedure to shower. Make sure to avoid getting soap and water anywhere near your eyes for at least a week.

Can I Go on Vacation After LASIK?

Many patients have travel plans soon after undergoing LASIK, but we recommend that you avoid air travel for the first week following your procedure, especially since your second follow-up appointment is generally scheduled for the first week after your surgery.

Although LASIK doesn’t cause your eyes to be affected by altitude pressurization in airplanes any differently than normal, the air in airplane cabins is extremely dry. If you’re flying right after your LASIK procedure, be sure to bring extra eye drops, keep your eyes closed, and avoid activities that involve staring, such as reading or watching an in-flight movie.

Can I Exercise after LASIK?

At King LASIK, our eye surgeons recommend that you wait a few days after LASIK to resume light exercise. Make sure you avoid getting sweat in your eyes and wait at least two weeks before engaging in heavy exercise.

When Can I Swim after LASIK?

Your LASIK surgeon will recommend staying clear of swimming pools, hot tubs, ponds, rivers, lakes, and oceans for at least a week after your procedure. The chlorine in swimming pools and hot tubs, as well as potential contaminants in outdoor water sources, can irritate your eyes and affect your healing process.

When Can I Wear Makeup After LASIK?

In addition to not wearing any makeup on the day of your procedure, it’s best to wait at least a week after LASIK before wearing eyeliner, eyeshadow, and mascara. Even if the products themselves are hypoallergenic, applying and removing these products too soon after undergoing LASIK could cause severe irritation, and possibly infection.

A good rule of thumb is to not use any of these items before your follow-up appointment, at which point it’s likely that you’ll be cleared to wear makeup again by your LASIK surgeon.

What is the Average Recovery Time for LASIK Eye Surgery?

Every patient heals a bit differently, and your LASIK eye surgeon will be able to answer questions specific to you and the health of your eyes.

If you have any questions or wish to schedule your free LASIK consultation, contact King LASIK today!