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Refractive corneal surgery - discharge

Alternate Names

Nearsightedness surgery - discharge; Radial keratotomy - discharge; Refractive surgery - discharge; LASIK - discharge

When You Were in the Hospital

You had refractive corneal surgery to help improve your vision. This surgery corrects mild-to-moderate nearsightedness. You no longer need to wear glasses or contacts to see things that are far away. Your surgery probably took less than 30 minutes. You may have had the surgery in both eyes.

What to Expect at Home

You will have a shield over your eye when you go home after surgery. This will keep you from rubbing or putting pressure on your eye. It will also protect your eye from being hit or poked.

Symptoms or problems you may have at first are:

  • Through the first week, you may have mild pain, a burning or scratchy feeling, tears in your eye, light sensitivity, and hazy or blurred vision.
  • The whites of your eyes may look red or bloodshot for a week after surgery.
  • You may have dry eyes for up to a month.

For the 1 to 6 months after surgery, you may:

  • Notice glare, starbursts, or halos in your eyes, especially when you are driving at night. This should go away in 1 or 2 months.
  • Have unstable vision for the first 6 months.

Self-care and Follow-up

You will probably see your doctor 1 or 2 days after surgery. Your doctor will tell you what activities you can do. Common guidelines are:

  • Take a few days off of work after surgery until the most annoying symptoms get better.
  • Avoid all noncontact activities (such as bicycling and working out at the gym) for at least 3 days after surgery.
  • Avoid contact sports (such as boxing and football) for the first 4 weeks after surgery.
  • Do not swim or use a hot tub or whirlpool for about 4- 8 weeks. (Ask your doctor)

Your doctor may give you eye drops to help prevent infection or reduce inflammation or soreness.

You will need to take care of your eyes:

  • Do NOT rub your eyes. Rubbing could dislodge the flap. You would need another surgery to repair it. Use artificial tears if your doctor says it's okay.
  • Do NOT wear contact lenses on the eye that had surgery, even if you have blurry vision.
  • Do NOT use any makeup, creams, or lotions around your eye for the first 2 weeks.
  • Always protect your eyes from being hit or bumped.

When to Call the Doctor

Call your doctor if you have:

  • Any new problem or symptom with your eyes
  • Severe eye pain

Also call your doctor if your vision or other symptoms are getting worse.


Yanoff M, Duker JS, Augsburger JJ, et al. Ophthalmology. 2nd ed. St. Louis, Mo: Mosby; 2004:127-132.

Schallhorn SC. Avoidance, recognition, and management of LASIK complications. Am J Ophthalmol. Apr 2006; 141(4): 733-9.

US Food and Drug Administration: Center for Devices and Radiological Health. Lasik eye surgery. Site last updated September 18, 2008.

Review Date: 2/17/2009
Reviewed By: Paul B. Griggs, MD, Department of Ophthalmology, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle , WA . Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.