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LASIK Recovery Time: How Long Does it Really Take?

  • 6 min read
An eye surgeon helps a LASIK patient use eye drops after her surgical procedure.

LASIK eye surgery is a fast in-office procedure, and most patients are amazed to realize how quickly it goes. In some cases, it takes only seconds to complete a single eye. The procedure tends to be painless. If you experience LASIK in our comfortable Beverly Hills office, it’s also convenient and stress-free.

That leaves many of our patients sitting up, blinking, and asking, “Now what?”

Your LASIK recovery time begins immediately after your procedure ends. With a skilled doctor using the latest technology, healing should also be quick and complication-free. But how long is the recovery time for LASIK eye surgery, and what can you expect as your eyes heal?

We’ve created this guide to answer that question and provide some recovery tips to help speed things along. Continue reading to learn everything there is to know about recovery from a laser eye surgery procedure.

What Is the Recovery Time for LASIK?

From the time of the LASIK procedure, you can expect to achieve a full recovery in under six months. With that said, most patients begin to feel better within 24 hours. Almost all patients find they can resume most normal activities within 48 hours. Much of your healing will happen in the background while you go about your life and enjoy your improved vision.

What to Expect Immediately After Surgery

Before your procedure, your eye surgeon will give you special drops to numb your eyes. As a result, when the surgery is over, you shouldn’t feel any pain. Some patients report a slight sense of pressure. It may feel different, but it should not be uncomfortable. 

With that said, many people begin to feel some effects within the first four hours. At a minimum, you will be light-sensitive, and your eyes may tear up easily. Some patients report a burning sensation that can range from mild to bothersome. 

Many patients report it feels like there’s something in their eye. You may feel the urge to rub at your eyes. Refrain from touching your eyes.

Dislodging your corneal flap could lead to complications. The last thing you want is for your eye to heal with a wrinkled or misaligned flap. 

With that said, those initial effects rarely last beyond the first four hours. We advise most patients to try to take a nap or get some rest to minimize the effects.

Planning for Comfort After Your Procedure

To have the most comfortable LASIK procedure, consider the following:

  • Plan to have someone drive you home after the procedure
  • Bring along a pair of sunglasses to make the ride home more comfortable
  • Do not plan anything for the first four hours following your surgery
  • Pick up any prescriptions before the surgery so you will have them on hand immediately

When Can I…?

Most people ask about LASIK recovery time to return to work as soon as they can. To help with scheduling and planning, here are answers to some questions about when you can resume common activities. 

Most people can safely drive about 24 hours after surgery.

Most people feel well enough to return to work or school about 48 hours after surgery.

Most people can resume light exercise and sports about 48 hours after surgery. 

Most people can resume wearing eye makeup about one week after surgery.

Most people can resume yard work and outside activities about two weeks after surgery.

Most people can swim or use hot tubs about two weeks after surgery. 

Most people can use artificial tanners or undergo other laser procedures about one year after surgery.

If you have other questions about resuming activities, speak to your surgeon during your consultation. Furthermore, everyone’s LASIK eye surgery recovery time is different. Your doctor may recommend different instructions based on your unique needs. 

A medical eye shield for use during LASIK eye surgery recovery.

What to Expect in the Days After Surgery

In the days that follow, your vision may fluctuate. This can include blurry vision or clouding. While jarring, this is completely normal, as your eyes are adjusting to the changes. Be sure to go to your scheduled follow-up appointments to ensure everything is healing as it should.

You may also experience some redness in the eyes for several weeks after your procedure. While it looks strange, it’s completely normal. Think of it like a bruise on the eye.

Your eye doctor will likely ask you to wear special eye shields at night. Most people only need to wear them while sleeping for about one week following the procedure. Patients who sleep with pets may wish to use them for slightly longer to avoid complications. 

In general, treat yourself like you are recovering from any surgery or illness. Prioritize hydration, quality nutrition, and sleep. Ensure you use your prescription eye drops as directed for the best outcomes.

Slowly but surely, your vision will become clearer. If you experience any pain, discomfort, or a sense that something “doesn’t feel right,” contact the office immediately. It’s always better to catch issues early. In most cases, however, recovery is painless, seamless, and simple.

See Clearly in No Time With Help From Khanna Institute

The average LASIK patient is able to resume normal tasks between 24 and 48 hours after the procedure. While we do recommend you rest and allow your body to heal, some people find themselves up and about even sooner! From there, LASIK recovery time varies.

As a general rule, individuals who take care of themselves, eat well, rest well, and follow instructions tend to heal faster. 

As soon as you undergo this life-changing procedure, the recovery time for LASIK begins. In six months or less, you’ll experience crystal-clear vision, often without the need for glasses or contact lenses. It all begins when you schedule a convenient, free consultation at Khanna Institute. We can’t wait to meet you and help you achieve clearer sight with LASIK. 

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