The Side Effects of LASIK: What Patients Should Know

By Francis Clark M.D. on May 03, 2018

Laser eye surgeryMore and more people are undergoing LASIK to improve their vision and reduce their dependence on corrective lenses. The surgery is safe and effective, though patients will experience some minor side effects as they recovery from the procedure.

Side effects are a natural part of the healing process. The team at our Philadelphia, PA laser eye surgery center would like to consider some of the most common side effects below so you have realistic expectations about LASIK and the post-op healing process.

Light Sensitivity

After LASIK, patients will notice that their eyes are very sensitive to bright lights. This means sunlight as well as strong artificial lights. The light sensitivity will be most pronounced in the first days after the procedure.

To manage light sensitivity, patients are encouraged to wear sunglasses and a hat with a brim whenever they are outdoors. This can help reduce the amount of light sensitivity they experience. This should be a regular practice as this can help protect the eyes from sun damage.

Mild Soreness and Discomfort

After undergoing LASIK, patients may notice that their eyes feel sore or uncomfortable. This is a temporary discomfort, and it tends to last for a few hours before dissipating.

Patients should rest their eyes after surgery to help the pain pass faster. Over-the-counter pain relievers can be taken to help reduce pain if needed.

Dry Eye

All LASIK patients will experience varying degrees of dry eye as they recovery. The dry eye can last for several weeks, though the condition becomes less pronounced the further the healing process progresses.

To manage dry eye, patients should use liquid tears when their eyes feel dry. This will lubricate the eyes and provide relief. It’s also a good idea for patients to avoid dusty, arid, smoky, or pollen-filled environments for a little bit after surgery just to avoid triggering a dry eye attack.

Itchy or Irritated Eyes

LASIK patients will often experience itchy or irritated eyes after they have undergone surgery. Most people describe this sensation as grittiness, as if there is a foreign object in the eye. It’s natural to feel this, and the most pronounced grittiness passes after a day or so. Itchiness or irritation can last a few days afterward.

Since LASIK patients should not rub their eyes after surgery, the best option for managing these side effects is to use lubricating eye drops. They’ll help soothe the irritation.

Glare, Halos, and Double Vision

As the eyes are recovering from surgery, patients may notice some glare, halos, or double vision. These visual distortions are normal and will typically improve over the course of several days.

Patients should rest their eyes, wear sun protection for their eyes, and continue to use liquid tears as needed. This will manage other side effects and help promote healing and a return to proper vision.

Poor Night Vision

After LASIK, patients will notice major changes to their night vision during the early stages of recovery. It might be difficult to see things at night for a while, and the increased light sensitivity could cause bright lights to overwhelm your vision.

Night vision will steadily improve over the next few weeks. During that time, patients need to be careful when driving at night. Ideally, LASIK patients should take mass transit, get rides from friends/co-workers, or use taxis or car services like Uber or Lyft when traveling after daylight hours.

Learn More About LASIK Surgery

For more information about LASIK and how it can help you see clearly without glasses and contacts, be sure to contact the team at Ophthalmology Physicians & Surgeons. We will answer all of your questions and concerns in greater detail during your visit to the practice.

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