At Black Hills Regional Eye Institute, a reputable Rapid City laser eye surgery practice, our LASIK surgeons have the skill and experience to safely perform the procedure. But before patients make the decision to undergo surgery, they should be aware of the side effects that are common in the weeks after LASIK surgery.
For many of our Rapid City LASIK patients, the first, and most common, side effect is hazy vision. Immediately after LASIK surgery, the vision will be hazy. We require that patients arrange a ride home after surgery, as their vision will be impaired at this time. By the morning after LASIK surgery, most patients experience much clearer vision, though vision may remain a little hazy for a few days after treatment.
Discomfort after LASIK surgery is usually felt once the numbing medication wears off, about 30 minutes after treatment. At this time, the best thing patients can do is take a nap to rest the eyes. Keeping the eyes closed will help the corneal flap to heal, and reduce the sandy, gritty feeling that is common after LASIK surgery. After patients wake up from their nap, the pain is significantly reduced and can be managed with medication.
Sensitivity to Light
For the first few days after LASIK surgery, patients experience some sensitivity to bright light. We recommend that patients wear sunglasses while outside and avoid looking at a computer screen or television set for prolonged periods of time for a few days after surgery.
Glare, Halos, Starbursts, and Ghost Vision
These side effects occur in the weeks after LASIK as the corneal flap heals. The appearance of such visual disturbances happens most often at night or in areas with poor lighting. The glare, halos, starbursts, and ghosting effect surrounds the bright lights that appear in low light conditions. For example, if you are driving at night, you may experience these effects when looking at the headlights of oncoming cars or street lamps. For the majority of patients, these side effects fade within a few weeks of surgery.
Difficulty Seeing in Low Light Conditions
In addition to seeing glare, halos, and starbursts in low light conditions, many patients experience a loss of contrast sensitivity and difficulty seeing at night.
During LASIK surgery, an incision is made in the cornea to provide our surgeons access to underlying corneal tissue. When the flap is created, the nerves that control tear production are temporarily impaired. This can cause dry eye while the flap and the nerves heal. During the recovery period, patients should use lubricating eye drops to improve comfort and promote healing.
While many patients experience dry eye after surgery, some will experience excessive tearing after LASIK surgery. This is a sign of healing and is usually temporary.
While most of these LASIK side effects go away a few weeks after surgery, for a small number of patients, they may be permanent. If you have experienced these side effects for a month or more, schedule an appointment with your LASIK surgeon.