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Tips for a Smooth Recovery After Refractive Surgery

Refractive surgery, also called vision correction therapy and laser eye surgery, are procedures that help improve your vision and eliminate or reduce your need to wear contacts or glasses. The two most popular forms of refractive surgery are LASIK, which stands for laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis, and PRK, photorefractive keratectomy. 

Both procedures reshape your cornea to help correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. With about 800,000 refractive surgical procedures performed every year, it’s one of the most commonly performed surgeries in the US. It also has a high satisfaction rate at 96% and a low complication rate

With positive statistics like these, you may be considering refractive surgery. Board-certified and fellowship-trained ophthalmologist Stephen Khachikian, MD, can recommend the best procedure for your vision needs. 

Are you wondering what to expect after the procedure? Take a moment to find out how you can ensure a smooth recovery as your vision improves.

Wear your eye shields

With LASIK, you will be sent home with goggles or some form of eye shield to wear to bed and while you sleep to protect your eyes and keep you from accidentally touching them. 

With PRK, you’ll be fitted with contact lenses to help protect your eyes and promote healing. It’s essential that these shields fit well and feel comfortable. Let your doctor know if they don’t. 

Don’t rub your eyes

Your eyes may be irritated or burn, and you’ll most likely be tempted to rub them — but don’t! You’ll be given eye drops to help relieve itchy, burning eyes. Use them if you need them, but don’t overuse them. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, overusing eye drops may delay healing.

Avoid contaminants

Your doctor will advise you to avoid pools, hot tubs, rivers, the ocean, and lakes for a period of time to prevent infection. You should also stay away from smoky rooms, dusty environments, and cooking areas. 


As with any surgical procedure, you should take some time off and rest. Resting your body and resting your eyes is an important part of the healing process.

Go natural 

Avoid makeup, eye cream, lotions, and other face products to avoid contamination. Your doctor will tell you when it’s fine to start using these products again. 

Be patient

While many people experience vision improvement within a couple of weeks, you will most likely experience vision fluctuations as your eyes heal. It can take 3-6 months for your vision to stabilize.

Call and listen to your doctor

Your eye doctor will give you instructions to follow to ensure the best and quickest recovery from refractive surgery. However, don’t wait if you suspect something is wrong, you’re in pain, or you notice an infection. Call your doctor right away.

To learn more about refractive surgery and to find out if it can help you, contact the Black Hills Regional Eye Institute for an appointment with Dr. Khachikian. Call 605-203-4268 or book online conveniently. You can also send a message to the team here on the website.

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