LASIK surgery is the leading form of laser vision correction. LASIK reshapes the cornea to correct imperfections that cause nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. At Wicker Park Eye Center, we can perform pre-LASIK testing to let our Chicago, IL, patients know if they are ideal candidates for this procedure.
Patients who are candidates for LASIK often have several questions about what the recovery process will be like. One of the most frequent questions is, “when can I drive after LASIK?” Although the exact recovery timeline will vary for each patient, we are happy to let patients know when they can expect to resume driving following LASIK surgery.
LASIK surgery has a nearly immediate effect on the vision. Most people notice a marked improvement in their eyesight while they are still in the recovery room after their procedure. Despite this improvement, patients are not able to drive themselves home from treatment.
There are several reasons that patients are required to get a ride home after LASIK surgery. First, although the vision may improve nearly instantly after LASIK, it will not be completely clear. The eyesight will probably be a little blurry in the hours after treatment. Second, the eyes will be fatigued, and light from the sun will only make them more tired. To protect the eyes during this early stage of recovery, we provide patients with dark lenses to wear home. Patients may even want to close their eyes on the drive home, to get more rest.
Finally, patients are given a light sedative to keep them relaxed and comfortable throughout LASIK. It can take several hours for sedative effects to fully wear off, which makes driving home an unsafe option.
Before resuming driving after LASIK, our Chicago patients must get the doctor’s clearance. A follow-up exam will be scheduled for the day after surgery. At this exam, vision will be tested. At this point, the majority of patients can pass a vision exam without the assistance of prescription lenses. If so, patients will be cleared to resume driving and be given a form that can be taken to the DMV to lift any corrective lens restrictions from their driver’s license.
Although most of our Chicago patients are cleared to drive within 24 hours after LASIK, night driving may remain difficult for a few weeks. LASIK often results in several side effects, one of which is glares and halos around sources of light.
These glares and halos can create visual distractions while driving at night. As stated, everyone heals differently, but it can take several weeks for glares and halos to clear up. To be safe, individuals should avoid night driving until they are no longer experiencing visual disturbances.
If you are interested in learning if you are an ideal candidate for LASIK surgery, the team of eye doctors at Wicker Park Eye Center would be happy to be of assistance. To set up a consultation with one of our experienced eye doctors, send us a message at your earliest convenience or give us a call.