How Long Does It Take To Recover From ReLEx SMILE Surgery?

Posted by  On 04-09-2023

ReLEx SMILE surgery has emerged as a revolutionary vision correction procedure, transforming the lives of countless patients. This advanced surgical technique offers new possibilities for those seeking freedom from glasses and contact lenses. However, as with any surgical intervention, a successful outcome relies on a well-informed understanding of the recovery process. 

This comprehensive article delves into the critical aspects of recovering from ReLEx SMILE surgery, shedding light on the average timeline and essential post-operative care instructions. Whether you are contemplating the procedure or have already undergone it, this guide will serve as a valuable resource to navigate the journey toward regaining crystal-clear vision.

An Overview of ReLEx SMILE Surgery

ReLEx SMILE surgery uses a femtosecond laser to create a small, precise incision to extract a lenticule, reshape the cornea, and correct refractive errors. Unlike traditional surgery, this procedure is minimally invasive due to the tiny incision and lack of flap creation, leading to quicker recovery and potentially less discomfort.

Eligibility criteria for the procedure may vary, but individuals with stable vision, moderate myopia (nearsightedness), and astigmatism (a type of refractive error) are good candidates. It’s essential to consult with an experienced eye surgeon to determine candidacy and discuss any pre-existing eye conditions or concerns.

The Immediate Post-Surgery Period (Day 1 to Day 3)

The procedure is relatively quick and typically takes around 20 to 30 minutes to complete. After undergoing ReLEx SMILE surgery, patients spend a brief period in the surgical center or clinic for observation. 

To ensure a smooth recovery, patients must arrange for a friend or family member to accompany them home after the procedure. Having someone assist them during the initial hours is recommended, as they may experience temporary blurred vision. This occurrence is completely normal because the eyes go through a healing and adjustment process.

Day 1

Following the surgery, patients may experience sensations such as mild burning, tearing, or grittiness, which usually subside within a few hours. Patients will receive bandage contact lenses after the surgery to protect their eyes and facilitate healing.

Day 2

On the second day after ReLEx SMILE surgery, patients may still experience some mild discomfort, but it should gradually decrease. The bandage contact lenses will continue to aid the healing process and protect the eyes.

Day 3

Most patients will have completed the initial recovery stage within the first three days. The blurriness in their vision should improve, allowing them to see more clearly than immediately after the surgery. Patients may still experience some discomfort and sensitivity to light during this time.

Returning to Work and Adhering to Post-Op Care (Day 3 to Week 1)

Days 3-7

Many patients are ready to return to work or resume daily activities during this time. However, tasks requiring intense focus on fine print may still be challenging during the first one to two weeks of recovery.

It is crucial to strictly adhere to the post-operative care instructions provided by the eye surgeon during this period. The care instructions typically include applying prescribed eye drops multiple times a day for at least the first week. These drops aid in the healing process and reduce the risk of infection or inflammation.

UV Protection and Eye Hygiene (Week 1 to Month 1)

Weeks 1-4

Protecting the eyes from harmful UV exposure is crucial during recovery. Patients are required to wear protective sunglasses whenever they are outdoors for at least a month after the surgery. These UV-blocking sunglasses help shield the eyes, ensuring that external factors do not hinder the healing process.

Additionally, maintaining good eye hygiene is essential. Patients should avoid rubbing their eyes, especially during the initial recovery phase, to prevent complications or disturbance to the healing cornea.

Full Visual Recovery (Week 4 to Month 3)

Weeks 4-12

The second phase of recovery, known as full visual recovery, begins around the fourth week and can extend up to three months for patients with higher degrees of myopia. During this time, patients may experience fluctuations in vision clarity, with some days being clearer than others. However, over time, the clarity of vision should progressively improve.

Patients mustn’t equate clear vision with complete healing. Even when vision becomes relatively clear, it does not necessarily mean the healing process is over. Similarly, instances of blurry vision do not necessarily indicate poor healing. Complete visual recovery, where vision stabilizes and becomes consistently clear, can take up to 1-3 months, depending on individual healing rates.

Post-Operative Follow-Up 

The post-operative follow-up schedule can differ based on factors such as your surgeon’s preferences, the surgery’s complexity, and the healing rate. However, here’s a general guideline for post-operative follow-up after ReLEx SMILE surgery:

  • Day 1: After the surgery, you will likely have your first follow-up appointment with your surgeon. They will check your eyes and assess your initial healing progress. They may also remove any bandages or protective shields that were placed over your eyes after the surgery.
  • Days 3 to 7: The surgeon will evaluate your vision, check for infections or complications, and ensure proper healing. They may also address any concerns or questions about your recovery process.
  • 1-month post-surgery: Around one month after the surgery, patients will have another follow-up exam to evaluate their healing progress and ensure that their eyes are healing as expected.
  • 2-months post-surgery: The two-month follow-up allows for a comprehensive evaluation of the visual recovery and any potential changes during this stage.
  • Additional follow-ups: Depending on individual healing progress, more follow-up appointments may be scheduled to monitor the overall recovery and address any residual issues.

Attending all scheduled follow-up appointments is essential. You should promptly contact your surgeon if you experience any unusual symptoms or have any concerns during recovery. Remember that every patient’s healing process is unique, so the post-operative schedule may vary slightly. Always follow your surgeon’s advice and instructions for the best possible outcome.

Patient Responsibility for Optimal Results

Patients play a significant role during the healing process to maximize the chances of achieving the desired visual outcome. Approximately 95% of patients can achieve 20/20 vision as long as they:

  • Adhere to the prescribed eye drop application sequence and schedule.
  • Use lubricating eye drops as needed to maintain eye moisture.
  • Wear UV-protected sunglasses whenever exposed to sunlight for at least one month.
  • Maintain good hygiene, ensuring the eyes are free of dust and dirt, and avoid rubbing them, especially during the initial recovery phase.
  • Get sufficient rest and avoid straining the eyes while performing tasks; frequent eye breaks are essential.

Consequently, the recovery from ReLEx SMILE surgery is a gradual journey that demands patience and strict adherence to post-operative guidelines. It is essential to bear in mind that each individual’s healing process is unique, and although complications are rare, achieving a favourable outcome depends on effective collaboration between the patient and healthcare professionals.

ReLEx SMILE Surgery in Toronto: Expert Advice and Exceptional Results

Seeking ReLEx SMILE Surgery in Toronto? Book a consultation with one of our skilled ophthalmic surgeons at Clearview Vision Institute to determine your candidacy for the procedure. At Clearview Vision Institute, we specialize in a wide range of highly personalized procedures for vision correction and treatment, including the advanced ReLEx SMILE surgery.

At the heart of our dedication to excellence lies cutting-edge technology and a team of exceptional doctors and specialists, guaranteeing the utmost care for each patient. To schedule an appointment with a laser eye institute doctor, you can call Clearview Vision Institute at 647-493-6371 or contact us here.

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