Did you know that over 800,000 LASIK surgeries are performed each year in the United States alone? Yet, one question that often arises is, “how long will my vision be blurry after LASIK?” This concern is understandable, as blurry vision can be a significant hindrance in our daily lives.
In this article, we’ll explore the LASIK procedure, why some patients experience blurry vision, and how long this blurriness typically lasts. We’ll also provide tips on how to prevent blurry vision after LASIK and what you can do to improve your LASIK surgery recovery. So, if you’re considering LASIK eye surgery, keep reading to get a clearer picture of what to expect.
How Long Will My Vision Be Blurry After LASIK
Experiencing blurry vision after LASIK is a common side effect. This is a normal part of the healing process and is typically temporary.
Most patients find that their vision is worse towards the night of the surgery. Then they notice that it becomes much sharper the morning after surgery, gaining about 80-90% of their expected visual acuity. From there, continued improvement is more gradual for the next 1-4 weeks.
A haze around electronic screens and glare or halos at night are to be expected for a few weeks during recovery.
Multiple follow up appointments will be schedule to make sure you are on schedule with recovery.
What is LASIK Surgery?
LASIK eye surgery (Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis) is a refractive surgery procedure that is meant to correct refractive errors such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.
This is achieved by reshaping the cornea, the dome-shaped tissue at the front of the eye, using advanced laser technology. By altering the cornea’s curvature, light can focus correctly on the retina, leading to clearer eyesight. This means you can say goodbye to the hassle of wearing contact lenses or glasses.
What to Expect After LASIK Surgery
After undergoing LASIK, it’s important to know what to expect. Here are some common experiences:
These temporary vision difficulties usually clear up after the first few weeks. However, it can take about 2 – 3 months before your vision fully stabilizes and your eyes completely heal.
What to Avoid After LASIK Surgery
Even though your vision may be slightly blurry after surgery, you will likely notice a significant improvement. While most patients are anxious to get back to their normal routine, it’s essential to remember your corneas are trying to heal. For that reason, you should avoid the following for the first few weeks:
Remember, your eye doctor will provide specific instructions to promote healing and manage blurred vision after LASIK surgery.
How to Promote Healing After LASIK
Promoting healing and vision recovery after LASIK involves a combination of following your eye doctor’s instructions and making certain lifestyle adjustments.
Firstly, it’s essential to attend all follow-up appointments. These appointments allow your eye doctor to monitor your healing process and make any necessary adjustments to your treatment plan.
Secondly, adhere strictly to your eye doctor’s instructions. This includes using prescribed eye drops to prevent infection and inflammation, wearing eye guards while sleeping, and avoiding activities that could strain your eyes or expose them to injury.
Dry eye is a common occurrence especially during the first 3 months. Frequent use of preservative free artificial tears, even when the eyes feel “normal”, will help with healing.
Lifestyle adjustments can also aid in vision recovery. These include maintaining a healthy diet rich in vitamins A and C, which are essential for eye health, staying hydrated, and getting plenty of rest. Avoiding smoking and limiting screen time can also help reduce eye strain and promote faster healing.
Factors Affecting Vision Recovery After LASIK
After undergoing LASIK surgery, you might wonder why your vision isn’t crystal clear right away. It’s important to understand that several factors can affect the speed and quality of vision recovery after LASIK.
Firstly, individual healing rates play a significant role. Just like any other surgical procedure, everyone’s body responds differently. Some patients may notice an immediate improvement in their vision, while others may take a few days or weeks to experience the full benefits of the surgery.
Secondly, the severity of refractive errors corrected during the LASIK procedure can also influence recovery time. Patients with higher degrees of nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism may require a longer healing period.
Lastly, the presence of other eye conditions such as dry eyes, corneal haze, or residual refractive errors are leading reasons causing blurry vision.
Reasons For Blurry Vision After LASIK
While LASIK eye surgery is a highly successful vision correction procedure, some patients may experience blurred vision during the healing process. This can be attributed to a variety of factors, including dry eyes, flap complications, cataracts, corneal ectasia, regression, and undercorrections or overcorrections. Let’s delve into these reasons in more detail.
1. Dry Eyes
Experiencing dry eyes is a common occurrence after LASIK eye surgery, which can contribute to blurry vision. LASIK surgery can temporarily disrupt the eyes’ natural tear production, leading to dry eyes.
To alleviate dryness and maintain clear vision, eye doctors often recommend artificial tears or lubricating eye drops as part of post-LASIK care. Ideally, you want to buy preservative free lubricating drops. You can use these often without worrying about a preservative causing more irritation.
2. Corneal Flap Complications
Potential complications with the corneal flap, such as displacement or wrinkles, can also cause poor vision. Eye squeezing or rubbing can cause wrinkles in the flap. However, it’s important to note that such complications are rare and usually correctable.
Follow up appointments after the procedure will be used to make sure the LASIK flap is healing without wrinkles
3. Undercorrections and Overcorrections
Undercorrections and overcorrections cause residual refractive error. This means that some nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism remains after the surgery. Both situations can result in blurred vision after LASIK. In most cases, undercorrections and overcorrections can be corrected with a follow-up LASIK procedure once your eye has fully healed.
4. Regression: A Gradual Return of Vision Problems
Regression is a term used to describe a gradual return of nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism after LASIK surgery. This can occur as the eye heals and responds to the surgical procedure. While regression can lead to blurry vision, it’s usually mild and can be corrected with a follow-up LASIK procedure or enhancement, if necessary.
Cataracts, a condition where the eye’s natural lens becomes cloudy, are a common reason LASIK patients are experiencing blurred vision.
While LASIK surgery does not cause cataracts, if you have a pre-existing cataract, it can become more noticeable after LASIK. Also, cataracts will develop with age and can allow for the eyes to become out of focus over time.
If cataracts are significantly affecting your eyesight, the best course of action is typically cataract surgery, which involves the implantation of an intraocular lens. Opting for a LASIK enhancement may not provide lasting results if a cataract is present.
6. Corneal Ectasia: A Rare But Serious Condition
Corneal ectasia is a rare but serious condition that can occur after LASIK surgery. It involves a progressive thinning and bulging of the cornea, leading to distorted and blurry vision. This condition usually occurs in patients with pre-existing weak or thin corneas.
It’s one of the reasons why a thorough pre-operative evaluation is crucial to determine if you’re a suitable candidate for LASIK.
A procedure called corneal cross-linking can be performed to try to strengthen the cornea and prevent further progression of the condition.
When to Seek Medical Attention
While LASIK is a safe procedure with a high success rate, it’s important to be aware of signs and symptoms that may indicate complications or issues with healing.
If you experience severe pain, a sudden decrease in vision, or signs of infection such as redness, swelling, or discharge, seek immediate medical attention. Additionally, if your vision does not improve within the expected timeline, it’s important to consult your eye surgeon.
Remember, early detection and treatment of any potential issues can help prevent further complications and ensure the best possible outcome from your LASIK eye surgery.
LASIK surgery is a safe and effective vision correction procedure that has helped millions of people worldwide achieve better vision. While it’s normal to experience some blurry vision after LASIK, this is usually temporary and improves as your eyes heal.
However, it’s important to remember how everyone heals is unique, and several factors can affect the speed and quality of vision recovery. By following your eye doctor’s instructions, making necessary lifestyle adjustments, and seeking medical attention if complications arise, you can promote faster healing and enjoy the benefits of clearer vision sooner.