One Eye Better Than The Other After LASIK – What Should I Do?

While it’s not common, it’s also not unheard of to have one eye with better vision than the other after LASIK eye surgery. When you get PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy), your cornea is reshaped using a laser. When you get LASIK, your cornea is reshaped using a blade. When surgeons reshape your cornea with a blade, they tend to cut a heavier flap, which can cause problems with the way your eyes heal. If you notice that your vision in one eye is worse than in the other, it can usually be resolved with another surgery called “wavefront-guided LASIK“.

Laser eye surgery is a routine intervention for many people who have vision problems. However, not all people who have laser eye surgery will have the same experience.

Even if they go to the same eye surgeon and have similar eye problems, they will not have the same results. Why is that? Well, the answer is as obvious as it is as complex as the human eye.

Blurry vision after LASIK

A young woman who recently had LASIK eye surgery is having blurry vision while at work.

If you have had laser eye surgery, you should know that one of your eyes will have better vision than the other for a short time after the procedure. This is normal.

Is blurred vision a sign of a complication?

No, I don’t think so.

As you come out of laser eye surgery, your vision can start returning back to normal within the first 48 hours, but it usually takes up to a week for some to really see correctly again.

Most doctors will say that it can take up to 3-6 months for your eyes to fully heal.

What causes this double vision?

Your eyes are undergoing a pretty major change in their cornea, it’s no wonder things can take a bit of time to properly adjust.

And on top of that, you’re going to be seeing much differently after recovery too, back to crystal clear vision that you might not have experienced for a long time.

Every surgery is different because everyone’s eyes are different too.

If you had weaker eyesight before surgery and needed heavy frames, then your recovery period might take a bit longer.

Patients who are farsighted and those who are nearsighted will also have different recovery periods, so having some double vision during recovery is expected.

Risk of complications and things that come up after LASIK eye surgery

Halos after eye surgery

After surgery, your eyes will begin to heal, and for a short time, you’ll notice some weird vision side effects. One of them is seeing halos after LASIK surgery.

While your eyes are healing, the way you perceive and view light will be affected. You’ll see rings appearing around bright lights and light sources.

If you’re seeing halos, it’s also common that you might see starbursts, excessive glare, and have issues with low-light and night vision.

What you should know, is that seeing halos is fairly common and is part of the healing process. If you see halos after eye surgery, you can expect them to be there to some degree for the first few weeks after surgery.

A tip is to wear sunglasses post-surgery when you’re outside, and definitely avoid driving at all times of the day while you’re still healing.

Bright lights

Sometimes, you can be affected by any bright light post-surgery. Whether it’s from looking at the kitchen light or a small light around the house, your vision can get very sensitive and make you uncomfortable.

If you’re experiencing this very sensitive symptom after surgery, the recommendation is to stay calm and let your eyes heal, and avoid all but dim lights for the first few days post-surgery.

We all heal differently, so there’s no specific timeframe to heal. What you can do to help during the recovery process, aside from avoiding bright lights, is to wear sunglasses, try to stay away from screens (tv and computer) for some time, and monitor/log your experiences over the first few days.

If you notice the bright light sensitivity continuing after a week, and especially if your sensitivity is getting worse, then it might be time to call your doctor for a post-surgery checkup.

Permanent vision loss

While LASIK eye surgery is very common these days, it’s important to know first if you’re the right candidate for this type of surgery.

There are different types of eye corrective surgeries (LASIK and cataracts to name two) and you want to make sure that you and your doctor are picking the right option for you.

Some patients who undergo LASIK eye surgery have declining eye health post-surgery and could experience even worse symptoms or vision loss.

You might not be a candidate for LASIK if…

  • You’re under 18 years old
  • Your vision numbers keep fluctuating up and down, or your eyesight is getting increasingly worse
  • You have severe dry eyes
  • You have severe nearsightedness
  • You have a systemic disease like diabetes or arthritis
  • You have persistent eye problems from things like glaucoma, cataract, or any corneal dystrophy
  • You’re on certain medication
  • You’re pregnant or breastfeeding after pregnancy

Irregular cornea tissue

While LASIK is a common procedure, your eye’s cornea shape might not be so common. You could have a steep, flat, and irregular cornea shape, making LASIK surgery a bit more complicated.

While these are special challenges for some who are undergoing LASIK, it’s fairly common for your doctor to check your eye health pre-surgery to see if any special attention is needed to avoid complications like corneal ectasia, corneal flap problems, and epithelial ingrowth.

Days after surgery

As we now know, LASIK is a very common outpatient surgery, that takes as little as 30 minutes to correct your past vision discomfort.

Your doctor will go through some general steps for eye care after surgery, especially if your cornea is a bit differently shaped than usual, or if your doctor noticed anything else before/during/after surgery.

Taking proper care of your eyes at home after surgery will help dramatically reduce side effects and potential need for additional surgery.

Steroid drops

If you’re having discomfort post-surgery, your doctor might prescribe steroid drops for you to use during the healing process to reduce soreness, sensitivity, swelling, and scarring of the cornea.

Overall, it’s quite safe to use steroid drops, but they do come with their potential side effects like delayed healing, increased eye pressure, and cataract formation.

You could even have a higher chance of an infection if you continued using steroid drops for a long period of time without supervision.

Surgical procedures to correct the initial LASIK surgery

If the initial surgery didn’t 100% help you see better, and you noticed constant blurry vision or halos around lights, you might want to consider corrective surgery to fix things.

Advanced wavefront-guided LASIK is a surgery to correct the initial surgery, and usually only takes about 3 minutes to complete. If you’ve had eye surgery and experienced vision problems for some time, it would be good to discuss this option with your doctor.

FAQs

Is LASIK and cataract eye surgery the same thing?

No. While both surgeries help improve vision, the reasons to undergo each surgery and the methods used during the correction surgery are very different.

To put it simply, LASIK is the general procedure most people take when you have weak eyesight. On the other hand, cataract surgery, while common, is meant to help prevent vision loss.

While millions of people worldwide have this condition, it’s also the reason for 50% of all cases of blindness and 33% of all vision loss cases.

How do I know if I need cataract or LASIK eye surgery?

Cataract eye surgery will help if you have a blurry and hazy vision, and if your eye doctor notices clouding on your eyes.

LASIK is the more general procedure, meant to help with nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), and astigmatism.

If you’re unsure about which method is right for you, a discussion with your eye doctor will help. They can examine your eyes, and review your eye’s health trend over time.

Conclusion

Lasik is one of the most popular forms of laser vision correction available for patients with refractive errors. Blurry vision after LASIK is a rare issue. If you experience blurry vision, see your doctor as soon as possible, as it may be a sign of a serious issue.