Immediately after surgery
At the end of the LASIK procedure you will have transparent plastic shields placed over your eyes to protect them. You will be able to see but not very well. Your vision tends to improve throughout the day but the most dramatic improvement is the next morning.
The local anaesthetic we use wears off within half an hour after the procedure and then your eyes may start to feel irritable and light sensitive. You will find it very difficult to keep them open and they can water for several hours afterwards. It is best to go home and rest with them closed. You will be given some analgesic tablets (we use Panadeine forte, so please tell us if you cannot take codeine) and can take more of these, or any analgesic you are comfortable with, such as Panadol or Nurofen as directed later.
The first night
- Use drops as per doctor’s instructions.
- It does not matter what order you put the drops in, just leave 1-2 minutes between applications to each eye.
- If it is very uncomfortable during the first night, then you can put an extra set of drops in.
- If required, take an analgesic such as ibuprofen (Nurofen), paracetamol (Panadol), aspirin or Panadeine.
- Rest is required on the first evening.
- It is okay to have a drink of alcohol but don’t overdo it and avoid smoky environments.
The next day
You should wear sunglasses to protect your eyes when outside. Use both the Maxidex and Ocuflox drops every two hours for the first day (during the day) then three times a day for two weeks, then stop.
The timing of the drops during the day is not critical.
You should use single use, non-preserved lubricating drops (eg. Cellufresh, Refresh, Thera Tears or any non-preserved lubricant) at any time between the medicated drops if you feel that your eyes are irritated or uncomfortable. Continue to use the lubricant drops after the first 2 weeks if your eyes are uncomfortable in any way or if your vision seems misty or fluctuates. These are also helpful when using computers or when reading.
Tape the shield/s on at night for at least 5 more nights (or longer if you sleep with your face on the pillow) after the first night to avoid inadvertent rubbing of the eyes while you are asleep.
Wear sunglasses when you are outside (it may help to wear them indoors on the first day). It is good to get either a wrap-around frame or a very large pair of sunglasses that fit snugly around your eyes/brow to block glare and wind from the sides.
Do not use make-up or cosmetics on the eyelids for at least 2 weeks. Try to avoid using make-up on the eyelids and lid margins for longer. When using eye make-up, again try to use the hypoallergenic type. Avoid mascara that lengthens lashes as the filaments tend to fall into your eyes over the day.
You can shower and wash your hair and face (just keep your eyes shut and dry your face very gently) but no swimming or spa use for two weeks after surgery. There is little restriction on your activity otherwise, but be careful to avoid rubbing or bumping the eyes. Exercise is fine but be careful around other people, children, pets and in the garden.
Expect your vision to be a bit hazy to start with and you may have some fluctuation for the first few days to a week while the flap is settling down.
You can drive as soon as you are comfortable with your vision outside in bright light and can judge speed and distances accurately. This may take a day or two after surgery. You will have some halos and glare at night and it will take longer for you to be comfortable with driving at night.
You can return to work as soon as you are comfortable with your vision. It may take some time to be completely at ease with prolonged reading or computer use. You may find that you tire more quickly and cannot concentrate for as long as usual, or have some headaches while you are getting used to the change in your vision.
Reading or close vision may be more difficult than normal for some time. If you had reading glasses or progressive/multifocal lenses before the surgery, or are more than 40 years old, you may need help with near vision afterwards. Your near prescription is likely to be different after the procedure and you will need to discuss this with your surgeon.
What can I do afterwards?
It is fine to exercise but be careful about rubbing your eyes if you are sweating.
- Swim or use a spa for 2 weeks as this could introduce infection
- Use any eye make-up for at least 2 weeks after the procedure
- Get water in your eyes for at least 2 weeks following the procedure
- Surf for two weeks
- Dive, scuba dive or play any contact sports for at least one month after the procedure
After a month or so you would have to injure your eye with something hard or sharp to cause trouble with the flap and the trauma would have to be severe enough that it would damage your eye anyway.