LASIK is eye surgery that permanently changes the shape of the cornea (the clear covering on the front of the eye) in order to improve vision and reduce a person's dependency on glasses or contact lenses.
What to Expect at Home
An eye shield or patch will be placed over the eye to protect the flap and to help prevent rubbing or pressure on the eye until it has had enough time to heal (usually overnight).
Right after the surgery, you may have burning, itching, or a feeling that something is in the eye. This usually doesn't last for more than 6 hours.
The day of surgery, vision generally is blurry or hazy, but by the next day the blurriness improves.
At the first doctor visit after the surgery, the eye shield will be removed and the doctor will examine your eye and test your vision. You will receive eye drops to help prevent infection and inflammation. Do not drive until your vision has improved enough to safely do so.
The doctor may prescribe a mild pain reliever medication. It is very important NOT to rub the eye after LASIK, so that the flap does not dislodge or move.
Other things to avoid include swimming, hot tubs, whirlpools, contact sports, lotions, creams, and eye makeup for 2 - 4 weeks after surgery. The doctor will give you specific instructions.
When to Call the Doctor
Call the doctor immediately if you have severe pain or any of the symptoms worsen before your scheduled follow-up appointment (24 - 48 hours after surgery).
Yanoff M, Cameron D. Diseases of the visual system. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds.Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 431.
Wilkinson PS, Davis EA, Hardten DR. LASIK. In: Yanoff M, Duker JS, eds.Ophthalmology. 3rd ed. St. Louis, Mo: Mosby Elsevier; 2008:chap 3.5. verified as current
American Academy of Ophthalmology Refractive Management/Intervention Panel. Preferred Practice Pattern Guidelines. Refractive Errors & Refractive Surgery. 2007. Accessed May
Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington; and Franklin W. Lusby, MD, Ophthalmologist, Lusby Vision Institute, La Jolla, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.