LASIK and Contrast Sensitivity

LASIK is one of the most popular options out there to address refractive errors, which you may know better by the terms myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism. While corrective lenses were the norm in the past and can still prove effective for care, laser eye surgery is a true step forward, eliminating the need for corrective lenses for many patients.

LASIK does have some side effects that patients will need to get used to, however. We’d like to turn our attention to one such side effect right now: contrast sensitivity.

About LASIK Surgery

In order to understand why there are side effects after undergoing LASIK surgery, it helps to understand how LASIK is performed. During LASIK, a flap is created in the topmost portion of the cornea, which is better known as the epithelium. Through this flap, a laser is used to reshape the cornea and improve the way that light passes through the eye and focuses on the retina (the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye).

Contrast Sensitivity While Recovering from LASIK

The creation of the corneal flap during LASIK means a few side effects as the eye adjusts to the reshaping and the flap itself heals. Contrast sensitivity is one of these side effects. Lights can appear especially bright, with halos and starbursts, while other colors may blend together. This is particularly bad when it comes to night vision or your eyesight while in dark or dimly lit rooms. Even during daylight, colors may not seem as vibrant as they were before LASIK.

Rest assured that this is a common side effect following LASIK and just part of the healing process. For many patients, these issues will go away with time as their eyes heal.

How long will these contrast sensitivity problems last?

Contrast sensitivity issues can vary from patient to patient and it really depends on the patient’s healing experience. In general, contrast sensitivity problems will last for a few weeks to a few months. In rare cases, contrast sensitivity may not return, in which case our eye doctors will look into secondary surgery or the use of corrective lenses to aid in the restoration of contrast sensitivity.

How to Deal with Contrast Sensitivity Issues

Given how much contrast sensitivity can affect your quality of vision, especially at night, we ask that LASIK patients exercise caution in those early weeks of recovery. If patients notice problems with contrast and/or night vision, they should be mindful of this. Driving at night could prove difficult, so patients are asked to take public transportation or have a friend or relative drive them as needed. Similarly, patients should be careful while in low light areas or situations.

We encourage patients to follow pre-operative and post-operative LASIK instructions to the letter as these can help reduce the occurrence and duration of LASIK side effects.

Learn More About LASIK Eye Surgery

If you would like to learn more about LASIK surgery and how it can be of great benefit to you, be sure to contact our Rapid City, South Dakota LASIK surgery center today. The entire team here looks forward to discussing LASIK in greater detail and helping you achieve excellent vision.