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LASIK: What to Expect at Home

Cross section of the eye

Your Recovery

Laser in-situ keratomileusis (LASIK) is surgery to improve your vision. The doctor used surgical tools to keep your eye open and to apply pressure to the outside layer of your eyeball (cornea). The doctor used a special blade or laser to cut a flap in your cornea. Another laser was used to remove or reshape your eye tissue. Then the doctor put the flap back, added drops to your eye, and placed a clear, protective shield over your eye.

Your eye may burn, itch, be teary, or feel like there is something in it for 3 or 4 days after surgery. But it's important not to rub your eye. Rubbing your eye could damage it.

You will probably be able to return to work or your normal routine 1 to 3 days after surgery. For a few days, you may have blurry vision or watery eyes. Your eyes may be bloodshot for up to 3 weeks. This is because LASIK surgery can cause small blood vessels in your eye to break. Some people also find that they are sensitive to light or see starbursts or halos for 1 to 3 weeks after surgery.

If you have eye pain, your doctor may prescribe drops or medicines. You can expect your eye to get better each day, but it may feel dry for 1 to 3 months after surgery. Over-the-counter or prescription eyedrops can help with dryness.

For some people, it takes 3 to 6 months to get the full benefits of surgery and to see as clearly as possible.

This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for you to recover. But each person recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to get better as quickly as possible.

How can you care for yourself at home?


  • Ask your doctor when it is okay to drive.
  • Your doctor may advise you to sleep when you get home from surgery. Keeping your eye closed may help it heal.
  • Wear your eye shield at night for up to 2 weeks.
  • You can shower or wash your hair the day after surgery. Keep water, soap, shampoo, hair spray, and shaving lotion out of your eye, especially for the first week.
  • Do not rub or put pressure on your eye for at least 1 week.
  • Ask your doctor when you can wear eye makeup again and get your hair coloured.
  • Follow your doctor's instructions for when you can exercise and return to contact sports such as boxing or football. You may need to wear eye protection when you return to contact sports.
  • For 1 to 2 weeks, avoid swimming, hot tubs, gardening, and dusting.
  • Wear sunglasses on bright days for at least 1 year after surgery.


  • Your doctor will tell you if and when you can restart your medicines. You will also get instructions about taking any new medicines.
  • If you stopped taking aspirin or some other blood thinner, your doctor will tell you when to start taking it again.
  • Follow your doctor's instructions for when to use eyedrops. Always wash your hands before you put your drops in. To put in eyedrops:
    • Tilt your head back, and pull your lower eyelid down with one finger.
    • Drop or squirt the medicine inside the lower lid.
    • Close your eye for 30 to 60 seconds to let the drops or ointment move around.
    • Do not touch the ointment or dropper tip to your eyelashes or any other surface.
  • Follow your doctor's instructions for taking pain medicines.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You passed out (lost consciousness).
  • You have a sudden loss of vision.

Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have signs of an eye infection, such as:
    • Pus or thick discharge coming from the eye.
    • Redness or swelling around the eye.
    • A fever.
  • You have new or worse eye pain.
  • You have unexpected vision changes.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:

  • You do not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.