LASIK Light Sensitivity & How to Minimize It

Attractive woman with glasses on her head shielding her eyes

Light sensitivity is a common side effect that many LASIK patients experience following their procedure and the topic is among our most frequently asked questions. If you have recently had LASIK, or are considering the surgery, learning about post-operative LASIK light sensitivity can help you through the healing process. Patients in Austin, TX, can contact us at Broberg Eye Care to find out more about LASIK and its side effects.

What Causes Light Sensitivity?

One or several factors can lead to light sensitivity in the days or weeks following LASIK surgery. Most often, light sensitivity is due to corneal swelling. The corneal flap created during surgery can cause tissue inflammation, resulting in increased sensitivity to light. Fortunately, this condition usually resolves fairly quickly. It is also common for patients to have dry eyes in the beginning stages of recovery, which can compound light sensitivity.

Bladeless LASIK patients may encounter a unique form of light sensitivity called transient light sensitivity (TLS). TLS is often more severe than other forms of light sensitivity. Patients should be aware that this condition sometimes does not surface until a few weeks after surgery.

What Is Light Sensitivity Like?

Signs of post-operative light sensitivity may include eye discomfort or a need to shield your eyes when exposed to bright light. The light source can be natural sunlight, or another light source like overhead indoor lights. The severity of symptoms differs from one patient to another. For some patients, all but very dim light must be avoided the first few days of recovery. Other patients can be comfortable in most levels of lighting without any problem. Although it is not possible to predict light sensitivity and its severity, a few basic precautions can help minimize its effects.

Ways to Minimize Light Sensitivity

Recent advancements in LASIK techniques have done much to improve side effects, including light sensitivity. For instance, post-operative cooling of the cornea and anesthetic eye drops can reduce the severity and duration of light sensitivity. Patient can also take steps to curb their light sensitivity, such as:

  • Avoiding TV screens and computer monitors. The bright light from a TV screen or computer monitor can cause eye discomfort as your tissues continue to heal. Patients should try and avoid video screens in the first 48 hours of recovery.
  • Avoiding direct sunlight or artificial lights. Staying out of direct sunlight or bright artificial lights is an effective way to avoid experiencing light sensitivity. This can take a bit of planning, but it can make a significant difference in your level of comfort.
  • Protecting your eyes with sunglasses and other accessories. If you cannot avoid bright light, it pays to plan accordingly. Try wearing sunglasses, a hat with a wide brim, or both. 

Contact Us to Learn More

If you are considering LASIK surgery, and would like to learn more about light sensitivity or other potential side effects, reach out to our office today. We are committed to helping patients have comfortable, timely recoveries, and experiencing the maximum benefits of this life-changing procedure.

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