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Why Do I Have Blurry Vision After LASIK and How to Prevent It?

February 8, 2022

LASIK, or laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis, is often the refractive surgery of choice due to its painless nature and quick recovery. Most patients have a highly functioning vision within 24 hours from their surgery, however everyone heals differently. As you’re recovering, you may wonder, is it normal to have blurry vision after LASIK? The answer is yes. When undergoing LASIK, blurry vision after surgery is to be expected. But if you have blurry vision after LASIK, how long can you expect it to stick around?

How Long Will My Vision Be Blurry After LASIK?

When asked, “how many days after LASIK for clear vision?” most surgeons will tell you it can take up to a week, but it depends and varies from person to person.  

Reasons Why You Might Have Blurry Vision

Many times, the reason for blurry vision after LASIK has nothing to do with the surgery itself but is rather a sign of something else going on in the eye(s).

Cataract

Cataract

LASIK surgery does not stop the natural aging process of the eye. A cataract is the yellowing of the crystalline lens inside the eye. It occurs with age. There are three main types of cataracts, some of which are more common in diabetes or when certain medications are taken. LASIK reshapes the cornea, leaving the lens untouched. Therefore, if a cataract is present pre-operatively, it will still be there after surgery. This would be far more likely to occur in someone who’s older, but cataracts can occasionally affect younger individuals.

Aging Process or Residual Refractive Error

LASIK is used to correct refractive errors in the eye, such as myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism. LASIK does not stop the natural aging process of the eye, and that is why it’s important to document stability with your vision leading up to surgery.

If you were myopic or hyperopic pre-operatively, it is possible for there to be residual myopia post-operatively. This would mean you were under-corrected. Conversely, if you were hyperopic pre-operatively and you’re over-corrected, you will end up myopic. Overcorrection and undercorrection are rare and can often be treated with additional surgery.

Presbyopia

When you tell your doctor, “my vision is blurry after LASIK,” their first question will be, “up close, far away, or both?” That’s because if your vision is only blurry when looking at near objects, it could be presbyopia. Presbyopia happens when the crystalline lens inside the eye becomes less flexible with age. This causes difficulty in focusing on close objects.

If you had both eyes corrected for distance vision with LASIK, you would still require reading glasses to see up close starting in your mid-40s. If you were previously able to take your distance glasses off to read, you’d no longer be able to do so. LASIK corrects your vision as though you always have your distance glasses on.

Dry Eyes

Dry eyes can cause blurry vision. This type of blur often improves with blinking. If you have dry eyes and you’re wondering, how long after LASIK will blurry vision go away? That's going to depend on how well you treat the dryness. Your doctor may recommend artificial tears, punctal plugs, or in-office procedures to address the issue. Over-the-counter, artificial tears are especially important for patients who have to stare at a computer screen for long periods of time following their treatment. Follow the doctors' recommendations, as a healthy tear film is critical to clear vision.

Diabetes

How long after lasik will blurry vision go away

Fluctuating blood sugars in diabetes can cause changes in vision. Vision may be clear one day, then blurry the next. If you have diabetes and suspect that your blood sugar may be unstable, check your levels at home. Then, talk to your doctor to determine how to obtain better blood sugar control.

Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration is a disease that causes deterioration in the macula, the region of your retina that’s responsible for your central vision. Macular degeneration primarily affects those over the age of 60.

Blurry Vision Not Necessarily Caused by LASIK Itself

If you’ve had LASIK, blurry vision after surgery may not be the result of the procedure itself. As you can see from the causes above, most are not a direct consequence of surgery. Better yet, the vast majority of them can be addressed.

How To Prevent Blurry Vision After LASIK?

You may still be wondering, how long after LASIK will blurry vision go away? Just remember, it takes time. Over the course of LASIK recovery, blurry vision will improve, especially with the help of over-the-counter artificial tears. The best thing you can do to help with visual improvement is to follow your post-operative instructions. These guidelines usually include using drops, avoiding certain environments, abstaining from eye rubbing, and keeping follow-up appointments.

Conclusion

If you’re still wondering how long vision will be blurry after LASIK, don’t hesitate to call your doctor today. Kraff Eye Institute prides itself on supporting patients at every step of their journey to clear vision.

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Dr. Colman R. Kraff

Committed to advancing new technologies in the field of ophthalmology, Dr. Colman Kraff helped to pioneer laser vision correction. In February of 1991, as part of a five-site, U.S., FDA clinical trial team, Dr. Kraff successfully performed the first excimer laser procedures in the Chicagoland area using the VISX Excimer Laser.

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