Lasik eye surgery permanently changes the shape of the cornea (the clear covering on the front of the eye). It is done to improve vision and reduce the need for glasses or contact lenses.
What to Expect at Home
After you have surgery, an eye shield or patch will be placed over the eye. It will protect the flap and help prevent rubbing or pressure on the eye until it has healed (most often overnight).
Right after the surgery, you may have burning, itching, or a feeling that something is in the eye. This most often goes away within 6 hours.
Vision is often blurry or hazy the day of surgery. The blurriness starts to go away by the next day.
At the first doctor visit after surgery:
- The eye shield is removed.
- The doctor examines your eye and tests your vision.
- You will receive eye drops to help prevent infection and inflammation.
DO NOT drive until you have be cleared by your doctor and your vision has improved enough to do so safely.
You may be prescribed a mild pain reliever and a sedative to help your relax. It is very important not to rub the eye after surgery, so that the flap does not dislodge or move. Keep your eye closed as much as possible for the first 6 hours.
You will need to avoid the following for 2 to 4 weeks after surgery:
- Hot tubs and whirlpool
- Contact sports
- Lotions and creams around the eyes
- Eye makeup
Your health care provider will give you specific instructions on how to care for your eye.
When to Call the Doctor
Call the provider right away if you have severe pain or any of the post-surgery symptoms worsen before your scheduled follow-up appointment. The first follow-up is most often scheduled for 24 to 48 hours after surgery.
Laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis - discharge; Laser vision correction - discharge; LASIK - discharge; Myopia - Lasik discharge; Nearsightedness - Lasik discharge
American Academy of Ophthalmology Refractive Management/Intervention Panel. Preferred practice pattern guidelines. Refractive errors & refractive surgery. San Francisco, CA: American Academy of Ophthalmology; 2013. Available at: www.aao.org/ppp. Accessed March 14, 2016.
Garg S, McColgin AZ, Steinert RF. LASIK. In: Tasman W, Jaeger EA, eds. Duane's Clinical Ophthalmology. 2013 ed. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins: 2013:vol 6, chap 49.
Sierra PB, Hardten DR, Davis EA. LASIK. In: Yanoff M, Duker JS, eds. Ophthalmology. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 3.5.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration. What should I expect before, during, and after surgery? Updated June 2014. Available at: www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/ProductsandMedicalProcedures/SurgeryandLifeSupport/LASIK/ucm061270.htm. Accessed March 14, 2016.
Yanoff M, Cameron D. Diseases of the visual system. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 423.
Update Date 3/15/2016
Updated by: Franklin W. Lusby, MD, ophthalmologist, Lusby Vision Institute, La Jolla, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.