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Dealing with Light Sensitivity after LASIK

By David Gross on July 27, 2014


A woman’s eye adjusting to beams of lightLASIK eye surgery is a safe and effective treatment to correct some of the most common causes of vision loss. By removing the need for corrective lenses and providing patients with permanently enhanced visual clarity, LASIK has only increased in popularity over the years. If you are considering laser vision correction at our Merrillville eye center, you too may benefit from this rewarding procedure. However, a truly satisfying experience includes accurate expectations, and like any surgical procedure, LASIK has its share of side effects during recovery.

One of the more common side effects from LASIK is light sensitivity, which itself carries a few possible symptoms. Whether you have recently undergone surgery or are still looking into LASIK treatment, it is helpful to understand what this entails and what you can do to lessen the effects of light sensitivity during recovery. 

Experiencing Light Sensitivity after LASIK

Patients tend to experience slightly different side effects after LASIK treatment, and as a result, it is difficult to assert exactly what each patient should expect. Nevertheless, light sensitivity is an especially common effect of surgery, arising soon after treatment and continuing for the first three to five days of recovery. Most patients will experience a mild or moderate sensitivity to bright lights during this time, including natural light, indoor lighting, and lights at night. In most cases, this resolves by the end of the first week. Although patients may be alarmed at first by their sudden aversion to bright lights, this is a natural part of the healing process and should not be a cause for concern unless sensitivity persists or worsens throughout recovery.

What Causes Light Sensitivity?

After LASIK treatment, patients’ eyes must adapt to the new contours of their corneal tissue. After such a substantial, permanent change to the natural shape of the eye, it is normal to experience discomfort or visual disturbances temporarily. Furthermore, the corneal tissue requires time to heal. In the days following surgery, damaged tissues will naturally be more sensitive to external stimuli such as light. 

Other Possible Side Effects

Along with heightened light sensitivity, LASIK surgery can also result in extra glare around sources of light. This is most common around particularly bright lights or at night when the background is relatively dark. This glare can manifest as halos or starbursts around the light source, or as long streaks of light that blur out surrounding objects. These effects may last longer than a week, but should diminish over time as patients continue to recover. Although these specific disturbances are different than general sensitivity, they result in similar feelings of discomfort and temporarily impaired vision.     

Dealing with Light Sensitivity

If you are experiencing light sensitivity after LASIK treatment, the best thing you can do is to simply let your eyes heal. Take the following measures to decrease discomfort and avoid prolonging the side effects of surgery:

  • Stay away from bright lights: Avoid going outside or in bright rooms as much as possible. Stay inside with dimmed lights during the first few days to improve your comfort and healing. 
  • Wear sunglasses and a hat: If you need to go outside, wear sunglasses to prevent exposing your eyes to too much light at once. A hat will also help shield your eyes from direct contact with sunlight.
  • Avoid screens: Over the first two days of recovery, avoid staring at a computer or television screen, as this will cause eye strain and impede healing.

Although rare, it is possible for light sensitivity to resurface in the weeks following treatment, and is usually more severe in this second phase. This is known as Transient Light Sensitivity, and is typically found in patients who underwent IntraLase (all laser) LASIK surgery. In the event you suffer from TLS, contact your doctor to receive anti-inflammatory eye drops. 

Enjoy a Comfortable Recovery

With the advanced technology offered at our eye care center and the knowledge of our experienced optometrists, you can benefit from a satisfying procedure and relatively comfortable recovery. Contact us to learn more about LASIK surgery or to inquire about a recent procedure.

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