Most people recover and are able to resume normal activities 24 hours after laser eye surgery and most patients notice the improvement in their vision straight away. Your cornea is a fast healing tissue and as such, the expected laser eye surgery recovery time is relatively short. Your eyes will start healing as soon as the procedure has been completed and the corneal flap has been replaced.

You should notice the results of your laser eye surgery immediately after surgery. You may experience blurriness or fluctuations in your vision for a short while after your surgery but your eyesight will be much more accurate and eventually, your vision will stabilise giving you optimum eyesight at all times.

At the OCL clinic, you will be given three types of eye drops to use at home: antibiotic drops, lubricating drops and steroid drops. You will also receive clear eye shields to wear at night for the first night after surgery. We will give you full instructions on how to use them, as well as written details for reference. It is important to follow the instructions you are given to help your eyes to recover as quickly as possible.

Our DropADrop app guides you through your post-op medications and sends reminders on your phone when you need to use your drops. Find out more about it here.

Laser eye surgery recovery time: Common questions

We understand you may have some questions about laser eye surgery recovery time. Here, we answer some of the most common questions. If you have further queries, please get in touch on 0203 369 2020.

Do I need to take time off work after laser eye surgery?

You will need to take the day of your surgery off from work and after your procedure we usually recommend you take some time off, however, the length of time will vary from person to person. Your OCL surgeon will assess your recovery rate to give you a more accurate and personal time scale but as a rough guide, we suggest you allow at least 24-48 hours, however, some people need up to a week off work to adjust to their new eyesight. More information can be found here.

Can I watch TV after laser eye surgery?

Watching TV puts a strain on the eyes, so if you’re recovering from LASIK, it’s best avoided for the first 24 hours. If you can’t help yourself though, here are some tips for watching TV after laser eye surgery.

What can I expect after laser eye surgery?

According to studies assessing the results of laser eye surgery performed all around the world the average standard vision achieved by 95% of patients is around 20/40 vision with an average 85% of patients achieving 20/20 or better post-surgery.

When you think of good eyesight, 20/20 vision comes to everyone’s mind as the renowned standard of visual acuity. Having 20/20 vision means you can see at a distance of 20 feet what ‘normal-sighted’ people can see from the same distance. As a comparison if you are told you have 20/100 vision this means you can see at a distance of 20 feet what a ‘normal-sighted’ person should see at a 100 feet from the chart which in turn means poor vision. The measurement is based on The Snellen Chart (the usual black and white eye chart found on the wall of opticians which lists lines of letters decreasing in size). The world populations’ average result from The Snellen chart is what ‘normal’ eyesight is based on.

More specialist clinics will have better results than this. OCL’s published results in the peer-reviewed literature are among the best in the World. In a series of 887 myopic eyes, 96.9% of his patients achieved a vision of 20/20 or better when each eye was tested separately and a 100% achieved this level of vision when both eyes were tested together. Furthermore, there were no significant operative or postoperative complications during the 6 months follow up period.

Surgery being surgery, it is important to remember that not everyone will have a perfect result despite the use of the most advanced technology and with the most experienced surgeons at the helm. In 1-2 % cases, there may be a need for an enhancement or fine-tuning procedure to reach the end result. The reason that some people require retreatment is down to the fact that it is human tissue that is being operated on and everyone heals slightly differently. Typically, we will wait 3 months after surgery prior to carrying out an enhancement procedure as micro-changes can occur up until this point.


Looking for more information on what sets our laser eye surgery apart? Our laser eye surgery brochure contains all the information you need. View our brochure page to receive your free download.

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Activities you can do after laser eye surgery

It is normal for most patients to be able to drive and return to work relatively quickly after laser eye surgery. Here is a list of activities with the expected laser eye surgery recovery time for each one:

  • Driving: 1-2 days depending on the type of laser eye surgery and your individual recovery time. Ensure that your surgeon has given you the go-ahead before getting back behind the wheel.
  • Showering: 2 days. Choose a bath instead of a shower before this time to avoid getting your eyes wet.
  • Wearing eye make-up: 1 week or longer.
  • Swimming: 2-3 weeks, but wear goggles when you do return to the pool.
  • Aerobic exercise: 3 days. Racquet sports and football should be avoided for a further week or two, and high-impact activities like boxing should not be resumed for at least a month following laser eye surgery.

man holding surfboard

Looking after your eyes after laser eye surgery

Your laser eye surgery recovery time will be quickest if you take some simple steps to look after your eyes:

  • Wear the eye shields provided by your surgeon while sleeping for the first three nights following surgery.
  • Take care to avoid getting water, soap or other products in your eyes for the first week. It is also important to avoid swimming pools or saunas for two weeks after undergoing LASIK surgery.
  • Avoid dusty environments and do not rub your eyes or wear make-up. While most individuals do not experience discomfort after undergoing LASIK surgery, your eyes may feel slightly tender or itchy in the days immediately after your procedure.
  • Your eyes may be especially sensitive to light. Wear dark glasses to protect them from bright sunshine for at least 12 months after the procedure.

If you have any questions around laser eye surgery or our service, please feel free to make an enquiry or call us on 0203 369 2020

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Symptoms during the laser eye surgery recovery period

While you can expect to be able to carry out daily tasks with ease after the first few hours, it will take your eyes some time to recover fully, and some patients may experience episodes of blurred vision up to a few months following laser eye surgery. In most cases, these symptoms will not be intrusive; although these fluctuations can occur as part of a longer laser eye surgery recovery period, it is unlikely that they will have a significant impact on your day-to-day activities.

woman after laser eye surgery

Six months post laser eye surgery

Symptoms such as halos, glare, starbursts and dry eye may still be present up to 6 months post-surgery, but these symptoms are a normal part of the expected laser eye surgery recovery time and should decrease over time. In the unlikely event that symptoms are still present at 6 months after laser eye surgery, you should discuss these further with your surgeon to determine if any further treatment is required. In very rare cases (less than 1 in 1,000), further surgery may be required in order to adjust a patient’s eyesight.

Last updated on January 31st, 2023 by Mr Mark Wilkins