Updated on  February 22, 2024
7 min read

How Long Is the Recovery Time for LASIK?

6 sources cited
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LASIK is a type of laser refractive surgery that corrects vision problems. Refractive surgery is a medical procedure used to change the shape of the eye’s cornea in order to improve vision.

During laser eye surgery, the LASIK surgeon will use a laser that changes the shape of the cornea to improve vision. It also allows someone to live without wearing glasses or contact lenses. 

  • Someone with normal vision has corneas that bend (refract) light precisely onto the retina. Their vision is clear and crisp at varying distances.
  • Someone nearsighted or farsighted (or astigmatism) has corneas that bend light incorrectly. This makes you experience blurry vision. 
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For years, wearing glasses or contact lenses was the only solution to correcting vision problems. Now, LASIK eye surgery reshapes the cornea to improve vision.

How Long Does it Take to Recover From LASIK Surgery? 

The time it takes to recover from LASIK surgery varies from person to person. It can take up to six months for people’s vision to fully stabilize.

As your eyes completely heal, you’ll gradually notice your vision improving.

Here’s the expected timeline for LASIK eye surgery recovery:

6 to 12 Hours After

For most, the initial post-surgery symptoms take about 6 to 12 hours to wear off. This includes blurred vision, mild pain, itchiness, and tearing.

24 to 48 Hours After 

Most people see clearly within 24 hours after their procedure. You should be able to return to work, day driving, and showering within 48 hours of the surgery. Your vision will be noticeably better within a day or two.

One to Two Weeks After

It’s normal to have blurred vision for up to five days. You can expect fluctuations in your vision as your eyes adjust after the surgery. 

After a week or two, your risk of infection will decrease, and you can return to exercising and wearing eye makeup and creams.

Within 6 Months After

Within two months, you’ll be healed enough to return to contact sports, intense exercise, and swimming safely without concern for contamination.

By the six-month mark, your vision should be stabilized, and you can return completely to your normal activities. 

Follow your doctor’s recommendations during this time and avoid anything that could jeopardize your surgery results or vision.

Does LASIK Require Downtime?

LASIK is an outpatient surgery. You can return home immediately after the procedure, but you’ll need someone to drive you.

Your doctor will provide you with specific information about your LASIK recovery. However, they will recommend varying degrees of rest following your LASIK procedure. 

Everyone is different. Your exact recommendations are based on your vision pre-surgery, overall health, and lifestyle.

Factors That Affect LASIK Recovery Time

Several things affect how long it takes you to recover from LASIK vision correction and for your vision to stabilize. These include the following: 


LASIK surgery patients must follow their doctor’s post-surgery recommendations. This will help them ensure that the eye heals properly and that their vision stabilizes quickly.


An infection can happen when you don’t follow your doctor’s post-surgery instructions. Any redness, pain, excessive tearing, or discharge from your eye may signify an infection. If this happens, it’s best to contact your eye doctor immediately.

Overall Health

Your eye condition and overall health before the procedure can affect LASIK recovery time. People with pre-existing conditions such as diabetes, dry eyes, or glaucoma may take longer to heal from the LASIK procedures.


Your age may also determine how fast you recover from LASIK treatment. Younger people may achieve clear vision right away, while older people may do so months after LASIK.

Severity of Prescription Before Surgery

The severity of your prescription before surgery may also affect the length of your healing process. In most cases, people with more severe prescriptions may take longer to recover.

How Long After LASIK Can I See 20/20?

Most people achieve 20/20 vision after surgery, but it takes several weeks or a few months for your vision to stabilize.

The desire for a 20/20 vision is understandable, but patience is crucial. Allow your eyes the necessary time to adjust and stabilize. Your doctor will monitor your progress and guide you along the way.

LASIK Surgery Success Rate

Around 95% of people who received laser vision correction surgery are satisfied with the outcomes.6 They no longer need to wear corrective lenses once their vision stabilizes. In rare instances, people need an enhancement procedure due to under-correction.

Even rarer is a person’s vision returning to its previous level before surgery. This is usually due to changes in the eye’s natural lens (such as cataracts), hormonal imbalances, pregnancy, or abnormal wound healing. 

Sometimes, people who undergo LASIK see better than those with standard 20/20 eyesight. 

Potential Complications & Side Effects of LASIK

Medical professionals consider LASIK a safe and effective procedure. But like all medical procedures, some risk is involved. 

Rarely experienced complications include:

  • Vision loss 
  • Severe dry eye syndrome
  • Need for follow-up procedures to improve vision further

Common side effects immediately after LASIK that last a few hours or days include:

  • Sandy, gritty feeling in the eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Mild pain
  • Tearing
  • Light sensitivity
  • Difficulty with night vision that includes glare and/or light halos

9 Tips to Protect Your Vision After LASIK

You must follow your doctor’s aftercare to ensure you recover from LASIK without any problems. Protecting your vision after LASIK is key to achieving a clearer vision.

Here are nine tips for protecting your eyesight after LASIK:

  1. Keep up with regular eye exams as recommended by your doctor
  2. Use the eye drops provided to you by your doctor after surgery
  3. Wear sunglasses during the day when you are outside or in a vehicle; also, wear protective eye shields at night
  4. Avoid contacts and use eyeglasses if you need vision correction in the weeks and months following LASIK; eventually, it’ll be safe to wear contact lenses or glasses
  5. Avoid rubbing your eyes or using makeup or creams near your eyes for at least two weeks after surgery
  6. Do not swim in water with any risk of contamination for at least three weeks after surgery
  7. Avoid strenuous exercise for at least a month after surgery
  8. Avoid night driving until your night vision clears and you don’t see halos or glares or have any light sensitivity
  9. Follow all of the directions provided to you by your doctor and contact them if you have any questions or concerns

Benefits of LASIK Surgery

Many people choose LASIK surgery because it offers various benefits for them. One of the main benefits of LASIK surgery is fast recovery, as discussed earlier.

Other top benefits of receiving LASIK surgery include:

Enhanced Visual Acuity 

After healing from LASIK, most people experienced enhanced visual clarity and acuity. They can see better, reducing any dependence on corrective eyewear. This means more comfort and less need for contact lenses or glasses.

Long Lasting Results

Most people who undergo LASIK eye surgery experience long-lasting results from the treatment. Some may initially experience blurry vision, which will significantly improve over time. Your eyesight will continue to stabilize, resulting in better vision. 


LASIK surgery can have expensive upfront costs but will pay off in the long run. Better vision means you no longer have to spend money on corrective eyewear. Over time, the procedure’s costs will pay off. 

Improved Quality of Life

As you experience improved vision, you’ll have a better quality of life. There’s no need to constantly worry about wearing eyewear anymore. You can enjoy sports and outdoor activities more freely without corrective eyewear.


  • LASIK is a safe and effective procedure for people looking to improve their vision
  • It can take anywhere from a few days to six months to fully recover from LASIK
  • Proper aftercare is important to avoid possible complications from the surgery
  • LASIK has various benefits, from achieving clear vision to a better quality of life
Updated on  February 22, 2024
6 sources cited
Updated on  February 22, 2024
  1. Arevalo, J.F. “Managing Retinal Detachment After Refractive Surgery.” Retina Today.
  2. LASIK.” U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 2018.
  3. What Are the Risks and How Can I Find the Right Doctor for Me?” FDA, 2018.
  4. LASIK and Advanced Vision Correction in Rochester NY – Flaum Eye Institute – University of Rochester Medical Center.” University of Rochester Medical Senter. 
  5. Facts about LASIK Complications.” American Academy of Ophthalmology, 2018.
  6. Kates, M.M., and Tuli, S. “What Is LASIK Eye Surgery?” JAMA, 2020.
The information provided on VisionCenter.org should not be used in place of actual information provided by a doctor or a specialist.