LASIK surgery has made it possible for patients with nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism to experience clear vision without the aid of glasses or contact lenses. However, it is important for patients to understand that LASIK is a surgical procedure, and like all surgeries, it is associated with side effects. One side effect that may occur after LASIK surgery is sensitivity to light. In this blog post, Dr. Paul H. Chen and the team at North County Laser Eye Associates discuss how long sensitivity to light will last after LASIK surgery. To learn more, contact our San Diego, CA practice today.
The Cause of Light Sensitivity after LASIK
During LASIK surgery, a small, flap-shaped incision is made in the outer layer or the cornea. Through this incision, the underlying layers of the cornea can be reshaped with an excimer laser. By creating the proper corneal curvature, light can reflect directly on the retina, thereby producing clear vision.
However, the creation of the corneal flap and changes in the corneal shape can result in sensitivity to natural and artificial light during the healing period. You may feel as though even low levels of light seem especially harsh.
How Long Will Light Sensitivity Last after LASIK?
As your eyes heal and become accustomed to the changes in the shape of the cornea, sensitivity to light will gradually decrease. You should notice this side effect improving with each day that goes by after LASIK surgery. In most cases, sensitivity to light will resolve a week after surgery.
How to Minimize the Effects of Sensitivity to Light after LASIK
There are steps patients can take to minimize the effects of sensitivity to light after LASIK surgery:
- Rest your eyes: For the first 24 hours after LASIK, rest your eyes. Avoid staring at a computer screen or watching TV for extended periods of time. In fact, when you return home after LASIK surgery, we recommend that you take a nap to reduce discomfort and allow the corneal flap time to heal.
- Avoid bright, artificial lights: When you are indoors, turn the lights off during the day and keep them on at lower levels at night. By staying in a darker environment, you can avoid squinting and any other discomfort caused by sensitivity to artificial light.
- Limit sun exposure: In the days after LASIK surgery, avoid sun exposure. Draw the shades when you are at home. If you do have to go outside, wear sunglasses with UV protection and a hat.
- Avoid driving at night: Avoid driving at night while you are experiencing sensitivity to light. Headlights from oncoming cars, traffic lights, and streetlights can cause halos, glare, and general sensitivity to light during the LASIK recovery period.
Sensitivity to light generally goes away within a week after surgery. However, if this side effect persists, be sure to mention it during your LASIK follow-up appointment.
To find out if you are a good candidate for LASIK surgery, contact North County Laser Eye Associates today.