PRK or LASIK are safe forms of laser eye surgery, but recovery can be tricky. Here are the best ways to heal from the side effects of PRK or LASIK. I had laser eye surgery, and healed quickly and painlessly. The short-term discomfort of getting and recovering from laser eye surgery is worth the long-term gains!
First, here’s what one surgeon says about LASIK and PRK:
“There is very little, if any, pain during surgery. It is during the recovery that there is potential for discomfort or pain. With LASIK, if there is any discomfort, it may last about six hours. PRK takes longer for initial healing to occur, so any discomfort experienced (ranging from feeling like there is something like an eyelash in the eye to a stinging / burning sensation) can last a few days.” ~ From the BoydVision website, which is a laser eye surgery option in Vancouver.
One of the most important tips for laser eye surgery recovery is keeping your eyes lubricated. Get the Systane Ultra Lubricant Eye Drops to supplement the drops your surgeon gives you. I ran through his eye drops really quickly, and had to scramble for more. Eye drops for laser eye surgery recovery can be expensive, so make sure you stock up in advance.
I guess I haven’t mentioned my laser eye surgery experience! Dr Michael Boyd (founder of BoydVision in Vancouver, BC) performed PRK laser eye surgery on my right eye, and I didn’t have a single complication. I found the surgery to be more painful than the recovery – especially the acid that burned off the top layer of my eyeball!
If you’re recovering from laser eye surgery, make sure you have lots of eye drops! I ran through my eye drops really quickly, and had to get more from the surgeon. It turns out he doesn’t offer an unlimited supply of eye drops, so I had to buy my own.
The Systane Lubricant Eye Drops mentioned above are the most popular on Amazon, but I think most saline eye drops would do the trick. My laser surgeon said to get eye drops from any store – he didn’t seem concerned about a specific type or brand of eye drops.
Anyway, here’s how I recovered quickly and easily after laser eye surgery. I followed the recovery tips to the T, which is probably why I had no side effects from PRK.
Recovering From Laser Eye Surgery
The most important way to to heal from laser surgery is to follow your doctor’s post-op instructions, right down to the last drop of eye medication.
Go blind for three days after the eye surgery
Dr Boyd, my eye surgeon, told me that the best way to heal after PRK – the ideal conditions for healing – is to be in a dark room for three days. This gives your eyes a chance to completely recover, without the “bad” effects of light, dust, steam, pollution, etc. He said that most people don’t follow his instructions for LASIK or PRK laser eye surgery recovery, which can lead to a longer healing time, eye infections, and even the necessity of more laser eye surgeries in the future.
Ask a loved one to book time off work
I could not have healed without my husband’s help! I didn’t just wear sunglasses for 3½ days after surgery, I wore a black hood that blocked out every drop of light. I spent a lot of time on the sofa, listening to movies and TV shows. My husband covered our bedroom windows with dark blankets, put eye medication and “healing tear drops” in my eyes, cooked my meals, and basically waited on me hand and foot for 3½ days. Most people aren’t this lucky – or they have kids, elderly parents, demanding responsibilities, etc – that prevent them from focusing on recovering after laser eye surgery. But, the more time spent “blind”, the quicker the LASIK, PRK, or laser eye surgery recovery.
Eat the best foods for eye health
What are the best foods to eat when you’re healing after PRK or LASIK? We searched the internet for “foods to help you heal after laser eye surgery”, but came up empty. So, we figured that the best foods to help you heal after laser eye surgery are the ones that are good for eye health in general. I already knew that eggs have choline, which help build new cells. And I took folic acid, for the B vitamins. Other foods for eye health are omega-3s (salmon, walnuts, soybeans, and fish oil supplements); lutein and zeaxanthin (spinach, squash, broccoli, corn, kale); vitamin A (carrots, organ meats, green leafy vegetables), and vitamin C (papaya, red bell peppers, strawberries, oranges). Laser eye surgery recovery is as “simple” as being as healthy as possible!
Take your eyed medications when you’re supposed to
My husband put eyedrops into my eye every hour, on the hour, without fail. Sometimes more than once an hour, when my eyes felt dry. This is crucial to healing – you need to keep your eyes as moist as possible! It was a drag to put eyedrops in every hour, especially when my eyes seemed to be fine. But, it’s probably one of the most important tips for laser eye surgery recovery. Dr Boyd told me that hardly any of his patients follow his instructions for laser eye surgery recovery, which may be why he was surprised that I healed so fast.
Things to avoid when you’re healing from LASIK or PRK
- Showering for one week
- Swimming, hot tubs, saunas, and steam from hot baths
- Driving, until the surgeon says it’s okay
- UV exposure
Exposure to UV rays from the sun can affect how fast you recover from PRK or LASIK, and change the results of your laser eye surgery. Wear sunglasses when you’re in sunlight, or near a window with lots of sun coming in.
Dryness of the eyes is possible after PRK or LASIK. For most people, the dryness lasts a few weeks. Some people need to continue using artificial tear drops for up to a year, but then it goes away.
If you’re scared to get laser eye surgery, try exercises that are guaranteed to improve vision, in a book called Improve Your Vision Without Glasses or Contact Lenses by Steven M. Beresford et al.
If you have any thoughts about laser eye surgery recovery, or what it’s like to get PRK or LASIK, please comment below. I’m not an eye surgeon, but I can tell you what PRK was like for me.