LASIK is an outpatient procedure. It is done under local anesthesia in a surgeon's office or a same-day surgery center. The operation on one eye takes about 10 to 15 minutes. The entire process usually takes less than 2 hours, including preparation time, care right after the surgery and paperwork.
After surgery, you may wear a patch or contact lens on the eye and get a prescription for pain medicine. Someone must drive you home and then back to the surgeon's office the next day. During this second visit, the surgeon will examine your eye and prescribe eyedrops to prevent infection and reduce inflammation. More follow-up visits are required, usually the next week and then throughout the first year after surgery.
- You will feel irritation and scratchiness in the eye on the day of surgery. Your eyes may water a lot.
- Recovery is usually quick, with only mild discomfort. You may return to your normal activities within a few days.
- Dry-eye symptoms are common but usually temporary.
- You may need to wear an eye shield for a few days after surgery.
- Your vision may be hazy or blurry for a few days or a week after surgery. Do not drive until your vision has cleared.
- Your doctor may prescribe eyedrops to reduce inflammation and the risk of infection. You may need to use them for several months after surgery.
- For 2 weeks after surgery, avoid vigorous sports, eye makeup and activities that may get water in the eye. The surgeon may recommend that you shower before the surgery and then avoid showering for a day or two afterward to keep from getting water in the eye.
LASIK usually requires very little recovery time. Most people who have the surgery see quite well the next day. There is little or no pain after LASIK, unlike photorefractive keratectomy (PRK).
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