Lasik Surgery Post-Op – What to Expect.

By: Thomas Hunter

One critical factor after your Lasik procedure is the healing of the hinged corneal flap that is created to allow the laser to reshape the inner corneal surface. What is required is the eventual healing and re-bonding of the flap to the outer surface of the cornea. This is a great area of concern for most patients as they picture their corneal flap 'flapping in the breeze.' It's comforting to realize, however that even complete corneal transplants ultimately heal, such is the healing power of the eye.

The normal healing period for the post-Lasik patient is six-months, by that time, in the vast majority of cases, any problems you were having with your vision will have disappeared or dissipated to the nearly unnoticeable stage. Some things do take longer however. Complete healing of the corneal flap may take up to two-years, but the fact that it is not completely healed should not be a concern nor should it cause a vision problem.

After your Lasik procedure you will most likely be scheduled for a minimum of five follow-up visits -- the first one will be within 24-hours of your surgery. It is very important that you make it to all of these appointments so that your healing process can be monitored and any adjustments can be made to your post-op treatment.

You will, in most cases be required to use eye drops for the first two-to-four weeks after your procedure. These will help alleviate any discomfort you feel in your eyes during this initial healing period. Some discomfort (not pain) is normal as are:

• Watery eyes and a runny nose
• Sensitivity to bright light
• Redness and minor swelling of the eye
• A dry feeling in your eyes
• Slightly blurred vision

Other post-op tips are:

• You might need to take an OTC medicine that does NOT contain aspirin, like Tylenol or Advil, for minor discomfort.
• Make an effort to protect your eyes from bright light or sunlight (sunglasses) and water.
• Rest your eyes as much as possible and try to get some extra sleep for at least the first two or three days after your procedure.
• You will be given a mask (an eye shield) to wear -- use it for the first two-hours after your procedure and then while you sleep for the next three-or-four days.
• Avoid all water sports and water related activities (hot tubs, whirlpools, swimming, etc.) for the first two weeks.
• Don't go scuba diving for at least six weeks.

Complications. Your risk of complications after Lasik surgery and the possible need for touch-up surgery depends on a number of factors. One such factor is the state of your pre-operative vision; the worse your eyes were going into a Lasik procedure that greater the chance that a) you will not be completely satisfied with the results and b) your surgery will result in some complications. As an example, if you needed reading glasses before your surgery, you may still need them post-op and if you had a small amount of astigmatism before your results might not seem be satisfactory. Touch-up surgery is not highly unusual and it is usually covered by the cost of the Lasik treatment program but it's still an additional surgery that it would be nice not to have.

One guarantee about surgery is that there are no guarantees. Fact of the matter is everyone heals differently, some of us are lucky enough to have amazing healing powers while some of us are rather slow getting our health back after a sickness or a surgery.

A thorough pre-op evaluation and complete honesty between the perspective patient and the Lasik counselor can eliminate problems for both parties. Not everyone should have Lasik! Some of the determining factors that should eliminate a perspective Lasik patient are:

• Refractive instability indicated by requiring a new vision prescription within the year prior to your evaluation.
• Age! Someone who is between 19 and 24 years old is a bad risk for a trouble-free Lasik procedure.
• If you are pregnant or breast feeding any unnecessary surgery is unwise.
• If you have a disease such as HIV, herpes, diabetes eye surgery could lead to disastrous results.
• Eye conditions such as large pupils and thin corneas also spell trouble.


This information is not presented by a medical practitioner and is for educational and informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read. This statement has not been evaluated by the FDA and is not intended to “diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease".

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