What to Expect After LASIK

Immediately after LASIK, you will probably notice fluctuating vision, dry eyes, sensitivity to lights, and glare and halos. These are typical during the recovery period and tend to subside as the eyes heal over the ensuing days to weeks. But some of these changes may continue for several months or may never go away.

Patients with myopia who undergo LASIK generally return to functional vision the day after surgery. However, patients in their late 30's often experience reading difficulty the first few days after surgery. If you're in this age group and have trouble reading immediately after LASIK, try purchasing over-the-counter reading glasses for temporary help with focusing up close. Wearing reading glasses will not affect how your eyes heal after surgery. If you are in your 40s and already have presbyopia, your doctor may prescribe reading glasses between 1 to 3 months after surgery, depending on when your vision stabilizes.

If you are farsighted (especially if you are over 40 and also have presbyopia) LASIK may immediately improve your near vision the next day, although distance objects may be blurry. As the eyes heal, patients with presbyopia typically lose some near vision but gain the distance vision. In this regard, vision recovery from LASIK to correct farsightedness is different than the vision recovery for nearsighted individuals after LASIK.

Postoperative care with your eye doctor is very important. Although your vision may be clear and your eyes may feel fine, you should not assume your eyes have properly recovered from refractive surgery until your doctor says so. You still need visits to make sure you aren't developing a potentially vision-threatening complication, such as an infection, epithelial ingrowth or diffuse lamellar keratitis (DLK) – all of which are usually easily managed if detected early.

Be aware that even if your uncorrected visual acuity is 20/20 after refractive surgery, this does not guarantee your vision will be the same as the 20/20 vision you had with eyeglasses or contact lenses before surgery. It may be better, it may be worse.