How to Heal From LASIK or PRK Eye Surgery

PRK or LASIK are safe forms of eye surgery, but recovery can be tricky. Here’s how to heal from the side effects of LASIK or PRK laser eye surgery. I had PRK laser eye surgery, and healed quickly and painlessly. The short-term discomfort of getting and recovering from laser eye surgery is worth the long-term gains!

LASIK or PRK Eye Surgery RecoveryOne of the most important tips on how to heal after LASIK or PRK eye surgery is to keep your eyes lubricated. Get the Systane Ultra Lubricant Eye Drops to supplement the drops your surgeon gives you. I ran through his eye drops really quickly, and had to scramble for more. Eye drops for laser eye surgery recovery can be expensive, so make sure you stock up in advance.

Here’s what one surgeon says about recovering from LASIK or PRK eye surgery: “There is very little, if any, pain during surgery. It is during the recovery that there is potential for discomfort or pain. With LASIK, if there is any discomfort, it may last about six hours. PRK takes longer for initial healing to occur, so any discomfort experienced (ranging from feeling like there is something like an eyelash in the eye to a stinging / burning sensation) can last a few days.” ~ From the BoydVision website, which is a laser eye surgery option in Vancouver.

I guess I haven’t mentioned my laser eye surgery experience! The surgeon performed PRK eye surgery on my right eye, and I didn’t have a single complication. I found the surgery to be more painful than the recovery – especially the acid that burned off the top layer of my eyeball!




If you’re recovering from LASIK or PRK eye surgery, make sure you have lots of eye drops! I ran through my eye drops really quickly, and had to get more from the surgeon. It turns out he doesn’t offer an unlimited supply of eye drops, so I had to buy my own.

The Systane Lubricant Eye Drops mentioned above are the most popular on Amazon, but I think most saline eye drops would do the trick. My laser surgeon said to get eye drops from any store – he didn’t seem concerned about a specific type or brand of eye drops.

Here’s how I recovered quickly and easily after PRK laser eye surgery. I followed the recovery tips to the T, which is probably why I had no side effects from PRK.

How to Heal From PRK or LASIK Eye Surgery

The most important way to to heal from LASIK or PRK eye surgery is to follow your doctor’s post-op instructions, right down to the last drop of eye medication. And…

Go blind for three days after the eye surgery

Dr Boyd, my eye surgeon, told me that the best way to heal after PRK – the ideal conditions for healing – is to be in a dark room for three days. This gives your eyes a chance to completely recover, without the “bad” effects of light, dust, steam, pollution, etc. He said that most people don’t follow his instructions for LASIK or PRK eye surgery recovery, which can lead to a longer healing time, eye infections, and even the necessity of more laser eye surgeries in the future.

Ask a loved one to book time off work

I could not have healed without my husband’s help! I didn’t just wear sunglasses for 3½ days after surgery, I wore a black hood that blocked out every drop of light. I spent a lot of time on the sofa, listening to movies and TV shows.

LASIK PRK surgery recovery healing

LASIK or PRK Eye Surgery Recovery and Healing

My husband covered our bedroom windows with dark blankets, put eye medication and “healing tear drops” in my eyes,  cooked my meals,  and basically waited on me hand and foot for 3½ days. Most people aren’t this lucky – or they have kids, elderly parents, demanding responsibilities, etc – that prevent them from focusing on recovering after laser eye surgery. But, the more time spent “blind”, the quicker the PRK or LASIK eye surgery recovery.

Eat the best foods for your eyes

What are the best foods to eat when you’re healing after PRK or LASIK? We searched the internet for “foods to help you heal after laser eye surgery”, but came up empty. So, we figured that the best foods to help you heal after laser eye surgery are the ones that are good for eye health in general. I already knew that eggs have choline, which help build new cells. And I took folic acid, for the B vitamins.

Other foods for eye health are omega-3s (salmon, walnuts, soybeans, and fish oil supplements); lutein and zeaxanthin (spinach, squash, broccoli, corn, kale); vitamin A (carrots, organ meats, green leafy vegetables), and vitamin C (papaya, red bell peppers, strawberries, oranges). Laser eye surgery recovery is as “simple” as being as healthy as possible!

Take your eye medications when you’re supposed to

How to Heal From Laser Eye Surgery

How to Heal From Laser Eye Surgery

My husband put eyedrops into my eye every hour, on the hour, without fail. Sometimes more than once an hour, when my eyes felt dry. This is crucial to healing after LASIK or PRK eye surgery – you need to keep your eyes as moist as possible! It was a drag to put eyedrops in every hour, especially when my eyes seemed to be fine. But, it’s probably one of the most important tips for laser eye surgery recovery.

Dr Boyd told me that hardly any of his patients follow his instructions for laser eye surgery recovery, which may be why he was surprised that I healed so fast.

Things to avoid when you’re healing from LASIK or PRK

  • Showering for one week
  • Swimming, hot tubs, saunas, and steam from hot baths
  • Driving, until the surgeon says it’s okay
  • UV exposure
  • Doubt that you won’t recover from LASIK or PRK eye surgery

Exposure to UV rays from the sun can affect how fast you recover from PRK or LASIK, and change the results of your laser eye surgery. Wear sunglasses when you’re in sunlight, or near a window with lots of sun coming in.

Dryness of the eyes is possible after PRK or LASIK surgery. For most people, the dryness lasts a few weeks. Some people need to continue using artificial tear drops for up to a year, but then it goes away.

Do you have any thoughts about laser eye surgery recovery, or what it’s like to get PRK or LASIK? Comments welcome below!




If you decide to get PRK or LASIK eye surgery, may your healing be quick and painless! And may you have no side effects from the surgery.

Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen on twitterLaurie Pawlik-Kienlen on pinterestLaurie Pawlik-Kienlen on linkedinLaurie Pawlik-Kienlen on googleLaurie Pawlik-Kienlen on facebook
Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen
Shalom! I can't give you advice, but please feel free to share your thoughts below. I'm a writer in Vancouver; my degrees are in Psychology, Education, and Social Work. I live with my husband, two dogs, and cat. We can't have children, and we trust in God's love, grace, and wisdom. Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest." - Matthew 11:28.

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20 Responses

  1. Laurie says:

    Good for you, Eylene, for doing the research on laser eye surgery before you get it! I had PRK (as you know), and it went great.

    After 3 days of intense healing, like I described above, I went right back to work. I have not had any issues with foggy or hazy vision, or night vision.

    The only I issue I’ve had after PRK is a bit of dry eye. It happens first thing in the morning, when I first wake up — but only if I didn’t get enough sleep or if I’m hungover. If I get the amount of sleep I need (8 hours), then I have no issues at all. The dry eye experience hurts. I’ve found that if I relax and keep my eyes closed, it passes quickly. It’s just when I open my eyes too fast or rub them, my PRK eye hurts.

    I don’t know what my prescription was before the laser eye surgery, but the one eye I had done was better than 20/20. It’s been three years now, and I have noticed my vision has declined. I’m sad about that, but the eye doctor said this would happen. He said as we age, our vision just gets worse — even if we had laser eye surgery.

    I’m planning on going back to the same eye surgeon, and getting my eyes checked again. I’d get laser eye surgery on both eyes this time, and make sure my husband books 3 days off for my recovery!

    I believe the most important thing to do after getting any type of laser eye surgery (PRK or LASIK) is to give yourself at least three days of total blindness, so your eyes heal. This is REALLY important!! My eye surgeon said not many people do this, which is why they end up with problems later.

    And pray that your surgeon has a steady hand and clear mind for the PRK…

  2. Eylene says:

    How long was it before you were able to go back to work or your regular routine? When were you allowed to start driving again? Do you have any issues with foggy or hazy vision or night vision? What was your pre-surgery prescription, and approximately what is it now?

    Sorry for all the questions, I just don’t know anyone who has had PRK, only LASIK. I have PRK scheduled soon, and just looking to get people’s firsthand experiences. Thanks!

  3. Tiffany says:

    i had PRK almost two years ago and ever since then I have had something called reacurring corneal errosians ( you can google this). I regret on a daily basis having this surgery. Please seriously think about getting the surgery prior to getting it. Is it really worth it? The pain I endure is awful and I am very sad anout the choice I made. I hope this can help one person.

  4. Laurie says:

    Hi Tara,

    My laser eye surgery was $900 for one eye. That may be more expensive than LASIK, but worth it. LASIK is a terrible place to go in Vancouver. The eye surgeon doesn’t see you until the actual surgery, thus can’t quote you an exact price until you’ve paid your deposit and gotten ready for surgery. It’s a rip off! At Boyd Eye Surgery, Dr Boyd sees you before the surgery and gives you an exact price.

    If you’re getting laser eye surgery, it’s definitely not a good idea to go cheap!

  5. Laurie says:

    I was anxious about getting laser eye surgery, but I felt in my heart that it was the right thing to do. I also talked to friends who had it, and they were very supportive – they had good experiences. I also prayed about it! I believe in God, and trust Him to take care of me.

    It’s been 2 years since I got the laser eye surgery, and my eyesight has gotten worse. I’m sad to say that the excellent vision I had for the first year after the surgery is gone! I should go to the eye doctor, and see what my vision is at now.

  6. Tara says:

    Wow this has totally changed my mind – how much did you pay for your surgery was it cheap?

  7. Shawn says:

    I would love to get laser eye surgery, but I’m scared that it may go wrong. Did you have fear or anxiety about the surgery and how did you deal with it?

  8. Laurie says:

    Hello Ivy,

    I’m glad my tips helped! That’s great – and congratulations on getting eye surgery.

    I’m thinking of going back for a “tune up.” My eyes seem to be deteriorating a little, and it’s only been 2 years. I only had one eye done, though, and I’m 43 years old…so my eyes are bound to be going downhill. But I want my eagle-eyed vision back :-)

  9. Ivy says:

    Stumbled on your blog and thank you for the “blind” advice! I was also looking for diet after my lasik and it directed me to your blog. Great help. Its just day1 post op for me after femtolasik. :)

  10. Laurie says:

    Dear Dr Diane,

    I had a blindfold on for 2.5 days after my laser eye surgery! It was actually a very relaxing, peaceful, calm experience because my husband took very good care of me. I didn’t think I’d be able to stand being away from my blogs while I healed, but I barely missed them at all. I also really, really enjoyed my Percocet, and loved the blissful feeling that accompanied the high. :-)

    There are lots of things you can do to use your time productively – besides enjoying the high of prescription medication! Get books on tape, and listen to books that you haven’t found time to read. Download movies that you’ve been wanting to see, and listen to them. Ask friends and family members to come over and visit with you during your healing. Download podcasts, and listen to them (I love listening to Jian Ghomeshi’s Q on CBC, and Bill Hybels sermons – he’s the pastor of Willow Creek church).

    Will you have someone caring for you while you heal from the laser eye surgery? That’s super important, because it makes life a lot easier. And, their presence will help keep you occupied.

    I hope these ideas help! Try to look at your healing period as a time of rest and rejuvenation. I wish I could do mine all over again, it was so relaxing. In fact, maybe I’ll get a tune up on my eyes so I can do it all over again…perhaps with a few more tablets of Percocet :-)

    Laurie

  11. Dr. Diane says:

    Planning on having the surgery in 3 weeks. Dr recommends keeping BOTH eyes closed for 24 hrs. Wondering what I will do for 24 hrs without computer – no reading – no texting. I’m a VERY productive person hand have organized photos or my desk during previous enforced “down time”. But have no idea what to do for 24 hrs with no vision. Any ideas or suggestions would be appreciated.

  12. henry says:

    I’ve went back a few times but to no avail.
    I didn’t tell them abt the holiday as I think they would jst say it was that and no longer help me etc. I think I’m gong to pay to see a specialist see wot they can do for me .

  13. Laurie says:

    Dear Henry,

    I am so sorry that you are having such a terrible experience with laser eye surgery! That is awful, because there is no way to take it back.

    Have you returned to the eye doctor, to get a check up? Some side effects are normal after PRK or lasik. My surgery went perfectly, but I still wake up with dry eyes occasionally, and it hurts.

    Yes, I believe UV rays can negatively affect your eyes – especially after laser eye surgery.

    Can you go back to your doctor, and get advice from him or her?

  14. henry says:

    I had lasik two and a half years ago and still suffer from glare halo’s hazy poor night vision etc worst thing I’ve ever done , but 10 days after my surgery I went on holiday as I have set holidays to greece but think that affeceted my eyes I wore sunglasses! How dose the uv ray’s affect ur eye after surgery ??

  15. Laurie says:

    Thanks for your comments. It’s been a year since I got my PRK laser eye surgery, and I’m still very very happy with the results. The only problem I have is dry eyes when I wake up in the morning. I have to open my eyes slowly, instead of popping them open right away. But I don’t have any other problems from the PRK.

  16. Oliver C. says:

    These are good tips for healing from lasik. I am thinking about it but don’t have enough money to pay for laser eye surgery yet. I think the clinic offers credit or a loan but I don’t want to get a loan to get my vision corrected!!!

  17. John says:

    It is totally true! My wife was also very supportive and put up with me when I was very worried about the side effects of getting laser eye surgery.

  18. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    Thanks for your tips for healing after laser eye surgery! My doctor said that most people don’t follow his instructions for post-op recovery, then wonder why they have problems with their eyes after surgery.

    What he didn’t say, however, was that it’s really good to have someone to take care of you after the surgery. I don’t know what I would’ve have done without my husband, who was the best nurse in the world.

  19. John @ Laser Eye Treatment says:

    Hello, you are completely right about the healing. It is important to put eye-drops into your eyes every hour after the surgery. Then your eyes can heal properly and you avoid to have any unexpected side effects caused by the operation. I had some trouble after the surgery as I was negligent.

  20. Alfons says:

    Before the lasik surgery, get as much information as you can about side effects, cost, details, problems and complications, The americanlasiksurgeons website is really very good one where you can get that type of information.

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