When can I get back to work after laser eye surgery?

How soon you can return to normal activities after laser eye surgery depends on which technique you’ve had. It depends on if you’ve had a surface treatment or whether you had a LASIK flap created.

With the surface procedure there are three or four days of irritability and discomfort without clarity of vision. Although you’re aware you’re less short-sighted the vision is as if your contact lenses a bit misty or hazy and it’s three or four days before you can be driving.

It also then takes a good month to get the best possible vision but the next week you can be back to full and normal activities. People often ask about exercise. An exercise isn’t really a great problem following surface treatments and you can be back to that again within three or four days.

With a LASIK flap procedure patients are driving the next day and the important thing there is to ensure that you are not subjected to any trauma to the eyes while the flap settles and so for a good month when needs to be careful and protect the eyes. So if you take exercise, wear glasses and if you run through woods or anything you don’t get to expression against the eye. So that’s the important thing there.

With both procedures, while the eyes are healing, in this day of modern society where people use computers, patients often complain that their vision is blurry towards the end of the day, or that the eyes feel uncomfortable.

The reason for this is that when we use computer screens we’ll break less than five times a minute. This has been shown by videoing people when they use computer screens or when they video gaming. As a result we are just staring – and because we stare we don’t blink. In normal life with blink thirty times a minute or even more. So our eyes are constantly lubricated by our blinking and I liken it to a car windscreen with drizzle on it. If you have drizzle on the car windscreen you can’t see. You put the windscreen wipers on – you can see.

So I always encourage people and when they are using computer screens after laser eye surgery to be conscious that they do need to take breaks and blink. And also use artificial tears drops. Some people have going to the twenty, twenty, twenty rule, which is every 20 minutes for 20 seconds, look at an object 20 feet away and blink. That’s hard to do if you doing a busy job but it’s just important to bear in mind, that if your vision is going blurry at the end of the day – nothing’s wrong, it’s just that your eyes are dry cause you are not blinking. That’s a temporary phenomenon while the eyes heal and resolves over a period of six to eight weeks. It doesn’t affect everybody but if it does, there is nothing to worry about it.

More about Robert Morris

Rob Morris is a Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon at The Grange Eye Consultants. His special expertise is in cataract and refractive surgery, including Refractive Lens Exchange, and adult squint. He has over 30 years experience in treating people with eye problems. Rob Morris founded Grange Eye Consultants to manage the increasing demand for more complex refractive surgery. He leads clinical trials investigating novel eye treatments. He is currently Medical Director at Optegra Eye Hospitals.