LASIK Recovery Check List: Post-Op Instructions

Considering LASIK? You probably have a lot of questions about LASIK recovery. Common examples include:

  • How soon can I take a shower after LASIK?
  • Can I touch my eyes after LASIK?
  • How soon can I exercise after LASIK?
  • How well can you see after LASIK?
  • Can I drive a car after LASIK? Which brand of eye drops is safe to use after LASIK?

The list below details what to expect, what to avoid and the correct steps to take over time to properly care for your eyes. This list applies to all laser LASIK procedures.

LASIK Recovery Timeline

Day of and After Surgery

  • Clear plastic shields will be taped over your eyes after the surgery. Except to administer your prescribed eye drops, leave these shields on until the next morning.
  • After you remove the shields in the morning, replace them with post-operative sunglasses that will be provided to you at surgery. You may also use your own sunglasses.
  • Most people experience some level of burning, tearing, and/or light sensitivity after the surgery. These effects last around 2-4 hours after the surgery. Take over-the-counter pain relievers for discomfort. You will want to sleep 3-4 hours after your surgery. You will be offered medication to help you sleep.
  • The day after surgery, you will need to come in for a post-op examination. Do not drive until you have been examined by your eye doctor the day after surgery. 
  • You may begin exercising 2 days after your surgery, but make sure to use eye protection if playing sports. We prefer you avoid public gyms for hygiene purposes for one week during LASIK recovery.

For the First Week After LASIK

  • Wear the eye shields for the first 4 or 5 nights. Ensure that they are secure on your eyes. If you allow pets and children in your bed, take extra care in taping on the shields.
  • For the first 5 days, administer antibiotic and anti-inflammatory eye drops 4 times per day. You will also be using preservative-free lubricating drops frequently for the first 6-8 weeks after surgery.
  • Avoid dust, smoke, yard/garden work.
  • Do not wear eye makeup.

For the First Two Weeks After LASIK

  • Occasionally, the white part of your eyes has red spots for about a week. Similar to bruising, the spots will fade over time.
  • Do NOT rub your eyes for two weeks after the surgery. This is imperative for fast, effective healing.
  • No swimming in the pool, hot tub, lake or ocean for the first 2 weeks.
  • If using a computer, take frequent breaks and lubricate your eyes with artificial tears.
  • Keep soap and water out of the eyes. You may bathe or shower normally the day after your surgery.
  • Every person will heal at a different rate during LASIK recovery. Your doctor should be able to provide you with a good indication as to how your vision should be 24 hours, 48 hours, 1 week, and 1 month after your surgery. Of course, if you have any concerns about your vision and the healing process, contact your doctor.

For the First Month After LASIK

  • Use extreme caution during contact sports, carrying small children, handling pets and doing yard work Proper LASIK recovery requires increased attention when completing tasks that risk physical impact to the eye.
  • Use only brand name lubricating drops for at least one month after surgery as your tear production will be temporarily reduced. Try Systane, Refresh, Optive, GenTeal or TheraTears.

Have more questions about corrective eye surgery and LASIK recovery? Contact Providence Eye