Your cornea is a fast healing tissue and as such, the expected laser eye surgery recovery time is relatively short. Your eyes will start healing as soon as the procedure has been completed and the corneal flap has been replaced. That being said, most people will be able to resume normal activities as little as 24 hours after surgery and most patients notice the improvement in their vision straight away.
Activities after laser eye surgery
It is normal for most patients to be able to drive and return to work relatively quickly after laser eye surgery. Here is a list of activities with the expected laser eye surgery recovery time for each one:
- Driving: 1-2 days depending on the type of laser eye surgery and your individual recovery time. Ensure that your surgeon has given you the go-ahead before getting back behind the wheel.
- Showering: 2 days. Choose a bath instead of a shower before this time to avoid getting your eyes wet.
- Wearing eye make-up: 1 week or longer.
- Swimming: 2-3 weeks, but wear goggles when you do return to the pool.
- Aerobic exercise: 3 days. Racquet sports and football should be avoided for a further week or two, and high-impact activities like boxing should not be resumed for at least a month following laser eye surgery.
Looking after your eyes following laser eye surgery
Your laser eye surgery recovery time will be quickest if you take some simple steps to look after your eyes:
- Wear the eye shields provided by your surgeon while sleeping for the first three nights following surgery.
- Take care to avoid getting water, soap or other products in your eyes for the first week.
- Avoid dusty environments and do not rub your eyes or wear make-up.
- Your eyes may be especially sensitive to light. Wear dark glasses to protect them from bright sunshine for at least 12 months after the procedure.
While you can expect to be able to carry out daily tasks with ease after the first few hours, it will take your eyes some time to recover fully, and some patients may experience episodes of blurred vision up to a few months following laser eye surgery. In most cases, these symptoms will not be intrusive; although these fluctuations can occur as part of a longer laser eye surgery recovery period, it is unlikely that they will have a significant impact on your day-to-day activities.
Six months post-surgery
Symptoms such as halos, glare, starbursts and dry eye may still be present up to 6 months post-surgery, but these symptoms are a normal part of the expected laser eye surgery recovery time and should decrease over time. In the unlikely event that symptoms are still present at 6 months after laser eye surgery, you should discuss these further with your surgeon to determine if any further treatment is required. In very rare cases (less than 1 in 1,000), further surgery may be required in order to adjust a patient’s eyesight.