All about the laser eye surgery recovery process

Posted on

16 January 2020

Author: Kate Green

laser eye surgery recovery

Laser eye surgery recovery


There are many factors that come into play when you’re deciding whether or not to opt for laser eye surgery. You probably want to investigate the reputation of the company you’re having treatment with, as well as your individual surgeon’s reputation. You’ll also be interested in the price point, types of laser eye surgery available, and your suitability for the treatment. One thing which plays a big part in people’s decision to take the plunge is actually the recovery and aftercare process following laser eye surgery.


Your aftercare will differ according to whether you have LASIK or LASEK treatment. We have written previously about the variations between these two types of laser eye surgery, but to recap: LASIK involves creating a flap in the cornea which is lifted before the laser is applied. LASEK, however, involves softening the top layer of your cornea and gently moving it to the side before applying the laser. The way in which the cornea is removed differs so, naturally, the way it heals will also be a bit different.


LASEK Aftercare Appointment Programme:


Appointment 1:                3-5 days after surgery

Appointment 2:                7-14 days after surgery

Appointment 3:                1 month after surgery

Appointment 4:                3 months after surgery (patient will be discharged after this, if the optometrist is satisfied with their vision)


LASIK Aftercare Appointment Programme:


Appointment 1:                1 day after surgery

Appointment 2:                7-14 days after surgery

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Appointment 3:                1 month after surgery

Appointment 4:                3 months after surgery (patient will be discharged after this, if the optometrist is satisfied with their vision)


Resuming exercise following treatment


Lots of people want to know when they can get back in the gym following their laser eye surgery. We advise avoiding rigorous exercise at the beginning of your recovery journey as any build-up of pressure in your eyes can prevent them from healing properly. We also recommend protecting your eyes from sweat by wearing a headband during sports activities for two weeks following surgery.


For the below activities, recovery guidelines are the same for both LASIK and LASEK treatments:


Jogging – 1 week

Aerobic exercise – 1 week

Yoga/pilates – 1 week

Weight lifting – 2 weeks

Sauna/steam room – 1 month

Swimming – 1 month

Football, non-contact martial arts – 1 month

Skiing, tennis, squash, cricket – 3 months

Scuba diving >30ft – 3 months

For rugby and martial arts, we advise waiting 3 months following LASIK treatment and 6 weeks for LASEK treatment. This comes down to the corneal flap that is created during LASIK treatment. Although it seals itself naturally once the laser procedure is over, it takes time to fully heal – even if your eye feels completely fine. With LASEK, no flap is created, so the epithelial cells regrow on their own, eliminating the risk of the flap being dislodged by a hard impact to the eye.


General aftercare advice


Follow these points of advice to ensure that you’re doing everything you can to lower your risk of infection and help the healing process:

  • Avoid getting water in your eyes for a week after treatment
  • Avoid eye makeup for 2 weeks following surgery
  • Avoid using sun beds for 8 weeks following treatment
  • Avoid smoking or smoky areas for 1 week after surgery
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The majority of our patients find the recovery process after laser eye surgery stress-free and straightforward with minimal discomfort. 99% of our patients achieve driving standard vision following treatment at Optimax and you can read a bit more about what they have to say over on our Trustpilot.

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