Laser Eye Surgery Recovery

What to Expect After LASIK and SmartSight Treatment

You may be feeling nervous about what to expect after your laser eye surgery. The good news is that recovery after surgery is usually rapid and straightforward. You will see results almost immediately after LASIK and SmartSight, which further improves in the coming days and weeks after the procedure. PRK recovery is similar however it usually takes slightly longer. For more information specifically to PRK recovery, visit our PRK Eye Surgery page. 

The Time Immediately After Laser Eye Surgery

At the end of the LASIK and SmartSight procedure, the eye surgeon will place transparent plastic shields over your eyes to protect them while they recover. You will be able to see but not very well. Your vision will start to improve throughout the day but you’ll see the most dramatic improvement when you wake up the next morning after the procedure. 

The local anaesthetic used by the surgeon wears off within half an hour of the laser eye surgery. As it wears off, 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 paracetamol or ibuprofen as directed later.

The First Night of Eye Surgery Recovery

  • Use eye 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 codeine (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 First Few Days After Laser Eye Treatment

In the first few days after your  laser eye surgery, 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), three times a day for two weeks, then stop the Ocuflox but continue the Maxidex once daily for another 4 weeks. The timing of the drops during the day is not critical.

You should use single use, non-preserved lubricating drops (eg. Optive Fusion, Systane Hydration, Bions 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 a computer or reading.

Tape the shield/s on at night for at least 5 more nights (or longer if you sleep with your face against 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 also 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 of your vision.

Do not use make-up or cosmetics on the eyelids for at least 2 weeks including false eyelashes. 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. 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, usually within the same week. It may take some time to be completely at ease with prolonged reading or computer use. You may find that your vision will tire more quickly and you 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 during healing. If you had reading glasses or progressive/multifocal lenses before the surgery, or are more than 45 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.

The Next Few Weeks of Recovery After Surgery

The recovery time for LASIK and SmartSight is quite fast, however this changes slightly depending on the patient and the condition of their eyes. After the initial improvements in vision over the first week, more subtle improvements can be experienced over the next few weeks and for up to a few months as the eyes heal completely. During this healing time, it is important to keep following the aftercare instructions provided by your surgeon and as detailed above.

Laser Surgery Recovery FAQs

Is there any pain or discomfort during recovery time?

Immediately after surgery and the weeks following, it’s normal to feel slight discomfort. This may include redness, dryness, watering and irritation around the eyes. You may also experience light sensitivity and halos in your vision, both of which will disappear over time. It’s important to follow the aftercare instructions carefully to ensure your recovery is seamless.

What can’t I do after the procedure to help my eyes recover?

It is fine to exercise after your LASIK and SmartSight surgery, but be careful about rubbing your eyes if you are sweating and avoid contact sports.

Do not

  • 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, dive or scuba dive or play any contact sports for at least one month after the procedure

After a month or so of healing you would have to injure your eye with something hard or sharp to cause trouble with the flap. The trauma to your vision would have to be severe enough that it would damage your eye anyway.

Your surgeon will discuss all of this with you after your procedure. However, if you have any questions or are still considering whether laser eye surgery is right for you, feel free to send an enquiry to our team or call us on (08) 9381 0758.

Contact Lions Laser Vision

Please call us at Lions Laser Vision and speak with one of our clinical coordinators who will be able to answer your questions and schedule an initial consultation with one of our refractive surgeons.

Alternatively, complete the form below and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

PHONE: 08 9381 0758
FAX: 08 9381 0700


Lions Eye Institute

Lions Laser Vision
1st Floor,
2 Verdun Street
Nedlands WA 6009

St John of God Murdoch
Murdoch Medical Centre

Suite 4B,
Ground Floor,
100 Murdoch Dr
Murdoch WA 6150