What to expect during the healing period: The first 36-48 hours:
REMEMBER: You just had surgery! DO NOT EXPECT TO SEE PERFECTLY THE DAY AFTER YOUR PROCEDURE. Typically, patients are expected to be seeing about 90% of their level after the first or second day.
There are two very good reasons why it takes time for vision to clear:
YOU HAVE BANDAGE CONTACT LENSES IN BOTH EYES. The lens will blur your vision very slightly.
YOUR CORNEA IS SWOLLEN FROM THE SURGERY. Just like having surgery or trauma to any part of your body, there is swelling. It takes several days for the extra water in your cornea to be absorbed. As a general rule, patients who go home & sleep as much as possible immediately following surgery see better & feel better more quickly. You are discouraged from trying to read, watch T.V., work on the computer, or drive for at least 2 days after surgery. Your recovery will be much more comfortable if you rest your eyes during this period.
48 hours & beyond:
DRYNESS IS THE SINGLE MOST COMMON REASON THAT PATIENTS EXPERIENCE DELAYED RECOVERY.
Most patients will experience dryness temporarily due to the procedure. The length of this dry period varies from patient to patient.
WE CANNOT PREDICT HOW DRY YOUR EYES WILL BE AFTER SURGERY. A number of variables may cause severe dryness including SMOKING, certain MEDICATIONS (specifically anti-allergy & psychiatric medications), pre/post-MENOPAUSAL woman, and some GENERAL MEDICAL CONDITIONS.
Symptoms of dryness include the following:
A sensation of sand trapped under your lid
Fluctuation in vision
Feeling as if it takes your eyes time to focus when you wake in the morning
These symptoms are expected in all patients in the first few weeks after the surgery.
Persistent dryness is likely if these symptoms linger past several weeks.
Treatment for persistent dryness may include the following:
A thicker moisturizing drop (i.e., Refresh Liquigel® or Refresh Celluvisc®). Thicker drops last longer in the eyes. These drops should be used every hour for several weeks & gradually reduce their use.
Ointment (i.e., Refresh PM®) or a very thick drop (Refresh Endura®) prior to going to bed. For many patients, this is the most important part of the dry eye regimen.
Sleep with a humidifier (this is important during the winter months when the atmosphere is much drier)
(NOTE: ALL REFRESH BRAND TEARS ARE OVER THE COUNTER THERAPY. TEARS CAN BE PURCHASED IN ANY PHARMACY OR DRUG STORE WITHOUT A PRESCRIPTION FROM YOUR DOCTOR).
Schedule an eye appointment for punctum plugs. This is painless and will help tears in your eyes.
Dietary supplements rich in essential fatty acids such as FLAX SEED Oil have been demonstrated to improve the dryness experienced after surgery.
RESTASIS will be prescribed. Your doctor will determine if you are a candidate.
Do NOT allow yourself to get dehydrated. Drink 6-8 glasses of water per day. Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
Unless instructed, use PRESERVATIVE FREE ARTIFICIAL TEARS. (Preservative Free tears come in vials, not bottles! Do not use tears that come in a bottle).
If you plan to travel in the immediate post-operative period, please be aware that airplanes have an extremely dry environment. Lubricate your eyes aggressively before & during your flight.