After The Procedure
Upon arrival home
Take it easy for the remainder of the day. The medications will make you tired.
You may eat or drink normally, but do not drink more than one or two glasses of any alcoholic beverage.
Keep your eyes closed for at least 3-4 hours except to eat or use the restroom. Keeping them closed as much as possible for the first 6-12 hours following the procedure will speed healing of the ocular surface and restore your vision faster.
Common symptoms you may experience
About 30-90 minutes following your procedure, you may experience some discomfort as the anaesthetic drops begin to wear off, including burning, stinging, and tearing, similar to that experienced when cutting an onion. The symptoms may range from moderate to severe. Please take the medication provided or an over-the-counter pain reliever such as Tylenol or aspirin to reduce discomfort.
Other temporary symptoms may include light sensitivity, watery eyes, runny nose, foreign body sensation, eye irritation, and eye redness. Frequent use of lubricating drops will help with these minor irritations.
Vision will usually appear particularly blurry for 4-6 hours, and then begin to improve. The vision is generally somewhat blurry for 6-12 hours following the procedure. For the first few months you may notice visual fluctuations, particularly when driving and using the computer. It is important to remember that your distance vision will clear first and your reading vision last, unless you are over the age of 40. In patients over 40, reading glasses are usually needed to read small print unless correction using monovision was performed.
Night glare is also more apparent during the first couple weeks of your recovery. Star-bursting and halos around lights usually occur in patients with more severe degrees of myopia and large pupils. Night glare usually resolves or returns to the pre-procedural level over 3-12 months.
Your eyes may feel dry for months. Use artificial tears to alleviate this. Our optometrists will recommend the brand best for you.
You may notice red spots in the whites of your eyes. These will disappear with time.
If you choose to have only one eye treated at a time, you may feel a little off-balance after your first eye is treated. Your depth perception may be a little off as well. Be careful performing tasks such as pouring hot coffee, hammering a nail, or driving.
Infection is a possibility, although the risk is minimal if post-operative medications are taken and instructions are followed. Symptoms of an infection may include increased pain, redness, blurred vision, and discharge. Do not hesitate to contact our office if you feel your eye is not healing correctly or any problem arises.
Cool compresses may be applied to the eyelids after the first day to relieve swelling or sensitivity. Avoid getting water in the eye(s).
No swimming, hot tubs, or whirlpools for 7 days.
Showers and baths are fine, but keep your eyes closed to avoid getting water or shampoo in them. Wait to take a shower until after you have been seen by our optometrist for your first post-op visit. When you take a shower, you may wash your hair and face. Keep your eyes closed while the water is on your face. When drying your eyelids, gently dab them without applying any pressure on the eyes.
Do not sleep with your pets in your bed for the first 24 hours after the surgery. Laundered bed linens should be placed on your bed.
Avoid a dusty/dirty environment for one week. It is preferable that you do not smoke since it will irritate your eyes. If possible, avoid areas with a high concentration of smoke or fumes for one week.
Watching television and reading are permitted.
Do not drive until you have been authorized to do so by our optometrist.
It is best to wait for at least 1-3 days before returning to work to allow your ocular surface tissue to completely heal.
You may return to your normal exercise routine after 5 days and once you feel comfortable. However, do not return to high-impact sports, such as boxing, until authorized to do so. Although it is always recommended that you wear protective eyewear for racquetball and contact sports, you must wear eye protection for these types of activities for 6 months. We strongly recommend that you always wear protective goggles when participating in any sport or activity which might result in an injury to your eye. You may resume your regular exercise routine the day after the procedure, however, as a precaution, use a sweatband for the first week. You may do light weights. Do not power lift for the first week.
Wear ultraviolet sunglasses when outdoors.
If in doubt about activities you can or cannot do, please call our staff. After one week, there are usually no restrictions, but always check with our optometrist.
Follow-up care after your laser procedure
First Day and First Week
The optometrist will give you a schedule for your follow-up appointments. The purpose of these initial follow-ups is to ensure normal healing of your corneal surface and to detect any evidence of infection. Please bring your eye drops and your instruction sheets to your first post-op visit.
First Month, Three Months, and Six Months
Less frequent follow-up appointments will be scheduled to ensure proper healing, to measure visual progress, and to check eye pressure.
Do not rub the eyes for at least 6 months following your surgery. You may gently pat the eyelids with a clean facial tissue with the eyes closed.
If your eyes itch, notify our office during the post-operative period visit and a medication will be prescribed.
Keep glasses, goggles, or clear plastic shields securely taped over your treated eye(s) until seen in the office the day after surgery (except to instill drops). Tape shields or goggles when asleep. The clear plastic protective shield(s) or goggles must be taped in place when napping during the day and at bedtime for 1 week. If you sleep on your stomach you will need to wear the goggles for 4 weeks. The shields should rest against the bones of the brow and cheek and not the eyelids.
Do not wear eye make-up for 5 days. When resuming the wearing of eye cosmetics (mascara, eyeliner) please purchase new products and discard the old cosmetics used prior to surgery. When removing eye make-up in the first 6 months after surgery, do so without placing pressure on the eye. If you need further instruction, please ask a member of the staff.
You will receive a post-op bag the day of surgery that will include the following items: Sunglasses, shields, tear samples, and steroid drops. Use the drops as instructed below, or as instructed by the optometrist or eye surgeon. Note that patients will be given only a few of the medications below, not all.
Dose: One drop, four times a day for one week.
Purpose: Prevent infection. Allergic reactions rarely develop. Symptoms include increased redness, itchiness, and swelling.
A prescription for Vigamox or Zymar will be given to you prior to surgery. Please have the
prescription filled at your pharmacy prior to surgery. Please bring the bottle of eye drops with you to
the office the day of your surgery.
Dose: One drop, four times a day for one week.
Purpose: Anti-inflammatory to help the eye heal quickly. Be sure to shake the bottle before instillation.
Dose: One drop, four times a day
Purpose: Initially to reduce redness, swelling, and light sensitivity. Promotes normal healing.
Dose: One drop, four times a day.
Purpose: For pain
Dose: Every two hours, or as needed.
Purpose: To alleviate symptoms of dryness and burning. It also promotes speedy recovery of the eye.
Dose: Twice a day.
Purpose: To help with dry eyes that can occur after refractive surgery.
When putting in eye drops
- Do not use anything in the treated eye(s) except the above medications, unless otherwise directed.
- Wash your hands before putting in the drops.
- Shake all bottles before each use.
- Pull down your lower lid and place the drop in the pocket of the eyelid, holding the bottle top away from the eye.
- You may experience a medicinal taste in the back of your throat after putting in drops. This is normal.
- To avoid contamination of the eye drops, do not touch the tip of the bottle to the eye.
- Wait at least one to two minutes between drops. The order that the drops are put in does not matter.
- Do not stop or change the frequency of any medication unless specifically instructed to do so by your optometrist or eye surgeon. Failure to follow directions may influence the outcome of your surgery. Misuse may result in damage to the cornea or a change in your refractive condition.