Posted November 30, 2015
We’re all time-pressed. Even with something as important as LASIK, people still need the process to fit into their busy lifestyles. In this post, I’ll give you a timeline to help you plan your approach to LASIK (and PRK) so that you can find the time to invest in this life-changing surgery…
Approximate lengths of appointments and recovery periodsThe first appointment takes about 90 minutes (allowing for waiting time and the number of questions you have). At the end of this appointment, you’ll have your answer as to whether you are suitable for laser eye surgery or not. The surgery appointment takes about 60 minutes but you’re only in the operating room for a fraction of that. To learn more about what happens during the actual surgery, read our LASIK process page. The actual procedure takes a few minutes. The typical recovery period for LASIK is about 24 hours. This doesn’t mean you can freely do whatever you want after 24 hours, but you should have recovered most of your visual clarity within a day. We typically give our patients the green light to drive on the day after the procedure. The typical recovery period for PRK is about a week. Visual acuity comes and goes for some time after that as healing continues, but you should be in the clear after about 5 days. To learn more about what you can do and need to avoid after either LASIK and PRK, read our post on do’s and don’ts. One of the most attractive aspects of LASIK is how quickly you can go from being entirely dependent on glasses and contact lenses to freedom – the whole process can comfortably take no more than a week of your life.
When can you resume normal life?You’re probably wondering how long LASIK takes because you want to know how long it will be until you can get back to do the things you love and the things you have to do. In the short term (days and weeks) you can return to work, drive again, fly in airplanes, swim, and engage in all the types of activities that most people enjoy without wearing glasses or contacts. In the long term, you can expect to fully recover over 3 to 6 months. What does this mean?
- You may experience visual fluctuations during the long-term recovery period – this is normal
- You may have to restrict yourself from engaging in high impact activities to ensure your eyes heal properly
- You may need an enhancement procedure (3-5% chance). It’s best to wait for 3 months and for the vision to stabilize before attempting a re-treatment
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