What to expect after your Laser Surgery

After the procedure, you'll be advised to rest for the remainder of the day and to continue using  prescribed eye drops as instructed.  During your Laser Vision Correction Procedures procedure,  the protective layer of tissue on the surface of the eye, the epithelium, is removed from the  central portion of the cornea.  This protective tissue regenerates itself, and normally over a two  to four day period the healing process is sufficiently completed such that the epithelium once  again covers the entire surface of the eye.

During this healing process, some patients will experience varying degrees of discomfort.  This  can vary from a mild scratchy, burning, or foreign body feeling to more severe pain which is only  minimally responsive to normal oral medications.  Two options are available to reduce discomfort  and promote healing.  An eye patch can be applied to keep the eye closed or a soft contact  lens  can be inserted to protect the treated area while healing is under way.  Studies have  shown that most patients are more comfortable with the contact lens and eye drops than if the  eye is patched.  Patients who have difficulty wearing contact lenses may not be able to  successfully wear the protective lenses and may experience greater than normal discomfort  following Laser Vision Correction Procedures.

Although there is minimal risk of infection with either the use of the contact lens or the patch,  the risk is thought to be slightly higher with the contact lens.  In addition to the probability of  experiencing less post-procedure discomfort, patients with the contact lens have their eye  open,  permitting useful (although blurry) vision, which is obviously not possible if the eye is  patched.

Before you leave the Laser Vision Institute, you will be supplied a kit containing antibiotic and  anti-inflammatory eye drops, along with a schedule for their use.  Care must be taken to avoid  any contact with the eye during the period in which the sensitivity of the eye is reduced  through  use of the anesthetic drops.  Because of the reduced sensitivity of the eye while using  anesthetic eye drops, you might accidentally damage your eye without feeling the contact.  You  may also be provided with a prescription for oral medications, which can be used, should you  experience discomfort, pain, or difficulty in getting to sleep.

You are likely to be sensitive to light and may not be able to see well enough to accomplish  even  simple tasks like reading a menu for two to three days following Laser Vision Correction  Procedures.  You will appreciate having a companion along. 

You should certainly not drive  during this period.

Patients typically return on the day following the procedure to confirm the fit of the protective  contact lens and to ensure that the healing process is progressing satisfactorily.  The epithelium  usually regenerates itself sufficiently to cover the treated area within two to four days.  During  this period, a visit to the Laser Vision Institute or to your co-managing doctor may be required if  discomfort persists.

If you are healing as anticipated and no particular discomfort is present, an eye doctor removes  the protective lens on the third or fourth day following the procedure.  In some cases, an  additional day or two is required prior to removing the protective lens to ensure that the healing  process is adequately advanced. 

You should refrain from driving until your vision is sufficiently restored to make  driving safe.

An surgeon will monitor your recovery and your continued use of eye drops.  Steroid eye drops  are often used after the procedure to reduce redness, eye irritation, and to regulate healing  response.  Regular follow-up visits are required, as the use of steroid eye drops can cause an  increase in internal eye pressures for some patients.  Follow-up evaluation visits are generally  scheduled within ten days after the procedure, then as needed for the first six months after the  procedure, with a final follow-up visit one year after the procedure.