Have you been thinking about getting LASIK surgery in Houston? For most people with refractive vision disorders, LASIK (short for Laser-Assisted-In-Situ Keratomileusis) surgery provides a safe, effective alternative to wearing corrective glasses or contact lenses. The ophthalmologists at Berkeley Eye Center have performed thousands of successful procedures over the past 20 years, and one of the most common concerns our patients have is what to expect from the LASIK surgery recovery process. This is understandable. Here’s a short timeline of what to expect:
Immediately Following LASIK Surgery
LASIK surgery is an out-patient procedure that takes about 30 minutes to complete.
Immediately following the procedure, your vision will probably be hazy or blurry. The effects of the numbing eye drops used during surgery will begin to wear off after 20 – 30 minutes. Your eye may burn, itch or feel like there is something in it. Both eyes may tear or water. You may feel discomfort or mild pain; this is usually treated with a mild pain reliever. In addition, you may experience sensitivity to light, glare, starbursts or halos around lights, or the whites of your eye may look red or bloodshot.
These symptoms should improve considerably within the first few days after surgery. You should contact your doctor immediately if you suffer severe pain, or if your vision or other symptoms get worse instead of getting better. In some instances, it may take up to six months after the procedure for your vision to stabilize.
Timeline for the Rest of the LASIK Recovery Process
It’s recommended that you see your eye doctor within the first 24 to 48 hours after surgery and at regular intervals after that for at least the first six months. Follow-up appointments are critical to your full recovery and should not be neglected. During your first visit, the doctor will examine your eyes and perform a vision test. You may be prescribed special eye drops to help prevent infection and/or inflammation along with artificial tears to help lubricate the eye. It’s important to keep your eyes lubricated for the first few weeks to three months after your LASIK surgery.
Most patients see significant improvements in their vision within the first two days during the LASIK surgery recovery process.
The doctor will probably recommend that you wear your eye pads for the first five nights after the surgery. This can be increased to 10 nights if you sleep with children or pets in your bed.
You should be able to return to work the next day or within the next few days after the procedure.
Avoid dust, smoke, yard or garden work, and eye make-up for the first week after the procedure to lower the chance of any foreign objects getting into your eye. To prevent the eye from becoming infected, you may need to wait a couple of weeks after surgery before using lotions, creams, or make-up around the eye.
Getting Back to Your Active Lifestyle
Normally, you will be ready to return to non-contact sports (running, jogging, bicycling) three days after the procedure. However, it may be several weeks to a couple of months before the doctor will okay swimming, hot tubs, whirlpool baths or contact sports. No matter what type of sport you participate in, you should always wear protective eyewear.
3 to 6 months – Full LASIK Surgery Recovery
Although most people feel back to normal by the day after surgery, it may take three to six months for your vision to reach its full potential and your eyes to completely heal after the surgery.
It’s important to your recovery to follow all the doctor’s instructions in the LASIK recovery process and to contact your eye doctor immediately if you develop any new, unusual or worsening symptoms.
Frequently Asked Questions About LASIK Surgery
There is no exact age limit for LASIK, but the best age to have LASIK surgery is usually when you’re between 20 and 40 years old. This is the age when your vision is usually most stable, so it’s less likely that you’ll need a second or “touch-up” procedure later on.
The best way to find out if you are a candidate for LASIK surgery is to consult with a qualified eye doctor or surgeon who will perform a thorough examination and determine if you meet the criteria.
PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) is very similar to LASIK, but there are a few key differences. With PRK, the surgeon removes the surface layer of the cornea (the epithelium) before performing the laser procedure. With LASIK, this layer is lifted up and out of the way before the laser surgery is performed.
Most insurance plans do not cover LASIK surgery because it is considered an elective procedure. However, there are a few medical and vision plans that will pay for the procedure, and many plans offer a discount. You should check with your insurance provider to see if they offer any coverage for LASIK surgery.
Leaders in Houston Laser Eye Surgery
Berkeley Eye Center provides our patients with affordable, superior eye care and unmatched customer service. As leaders in the field of refractive surgery, our surgeons continue to set the standard in the field of LASIK. We offer our patients the latest technology and techniques delivered by exceptionally qualified surgeons.
If you are considering LASIK, please call Berkeley Eye Center to schedule an consultation with one of our Houston eye doctors. With 25 clinics and optical locations located throughout the greater Houston area, there’s bound to be a Berkeley Eye Center near you.