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Tips for Recovering From Refractive Eye Surgery

Every year, more than 700,000 people have Lasik surgery and other types of corneal laser refractive surgery, helping them see more clearly without glasses or contact lenses. Corneal refractive surgery (like Lasik, LASEK, and PRK) is a safe, effective technique for correcting vision problems like nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism, all of which can cause distorted or blurry vision.

If you’re considering refractive surgery for your vision issues, you’re probably wondering what to expect once your surgery is over. At Advanced Lasik, Randa Garrana, MD, and her team want you to feel comfortable and confident during every phase of treatment. Here’s a quick overview of what to expect during your post op recovery, and a few tips to make recovery comfortable and uneventful.

First: A quick review of the surgery itself

Corneal refractive surgery uses a special laser to reshape the cornea, the clear outer covering of the eye. When you see objects, light enters your eye through the pupil at the center of your eye. But first, it passes through the clear cornea.

In perfect (or nearly perfect) vision, the cornea is almost perfectly round, and light that enters the cornea bends (or refracts) in a way that allows the light rays to reach the light-sensitive retina in an “even” or balanced way. The retina transmits light data to your brain via the optical nerve, and your brain interprets the data so we see clear images.

However, if your cornea is misshapen — even by a relatively small amount — the light bends in a different way when it enters your eye. As a result, the images you wind up seeing are blurry, fuzzy, or distorted in other ways.

Corneal refractive surgery begins with a very detailed map of your corneas, then it uses that map to direct the laser to remove very tiny, precise layers of tissue so your cornea is more round in shape. The differences between Lasik, LASEK, and PRK mainly have to do with how the techniques treat the top layer of corneal tissue in order to reach and reshape the lower layers.

Each type of surgery offers specific benefits, depending on your corneal shape, thickness, and other variables.

11 tips for a speedy recovery

Corneal refractive surgery is performed on an outpatient basis with regular follow-up visits to check your progress. These 11 tips will help you understand what to expect during recovery, as well as what you can do to stay comfortable.

  1. Itching, burning, and redness are typical for one to two days
  2. Glare and halos are common in the first week
  3. Do NOT rub or touch your eyes
  4. Use lubricating drops to combat dry eye
  5. Wear sunglasses whenever you’re outside or in bright light
  6. Rest your eyes as much as possible early on
  7. Don’t use eye makeup or eye creams for the first week
  8. Avoid bathtubs, hot tubs, and pools for at least a week
  9. Avoid sports (including weightlifting) and strenuous exercise for a week
  10. Don’t skip your follow-up visits 
  11. If you have severe pain, call the office immediately

It’s also worth noting that every person heals differently, so your recovery can vary a bit, depending on your own healing responses and other factors. In every case, Dr. Garrana and her team will be on hand to answer questions and address concerns, so you feel confident about your results.

Enjoy clearer vision

Laser refractive surgery has helped millions of people see more clearly. If you’re ready to learn how surgery could improve your vision, call our Long Beach, California, practice, or book an appointment online.

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