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Working after LASIK surgery

Recovery after LASIK is phenomenally quick with minimal downtime. Here’s a run-down on what to expect.

Day 0 (day of the surgery)

Discomfort after LASIK is minimal. The evening of your treatment the eyes will likely be sensitive to light and a bit sore. Your vision will already by better, but don’t count on doing any work that evening. You’ll be busy putting in the drops and it’s important to rest with as little screen time as possible and, preferably, with your eyes closed for most of the time.

Day 1

The following morning your vision will be better still with most patients at this stage seeing 20/20, and with further improvements to come. However, your vision will be fluctuating a lot, depending on how often you use the artificial tear drops. Some patients do go back to work the following day, but we recommend clearing the diary and giving yourself the day for things to settle.

Looking in the mirror, you will likely see a few small red patches on the whites of your eyes - these are minor bruises that occur while the LASIK flap is being created. These are completely normal. They will take a week or longer to completely disappear.

Day 2 and beyond

48 hours after your laser eye surgery, glasses and contact lenses will already be a distant memory and you can head into work as normal. Take your drops with you though. You’ll still be using the artificial tear drops frequently, especially with computer use.

LASEK or TransPRK recovery

Day 0 (day of the surgery)

Recovery after LASEK or TransPRK is slower and more uncomfortable. In the first 24 hours the eyes can be painful and light sensitive while the surface 'skin' layer heals. Light sensitivity is a near-universal symptom for a short time following treatment. Regular use of the lubricating artificial tear drops will soothe the eyes. You will also be given some anaesthetic ‘numbing’ drops to help you get through the first night.

Week 1

You should expect to take a week off work following LASEK or TransPRK. Most patients reach the driving standard by day 7, but you may still not feel confident enough to drive. Your vision will be improving day by day through the end of the first week and into the second week. As with LASIK, fluctuations in your vision during the day are common – the best way to limit this is to use lots of the artificial tear drops.