SMILE Laser Eye Treatment Rapid Recovery

SMILE Laser Eye Treatment Rapid Recovery

In today’s society, we tend to always be playing catch up with the clock.  Time management is more important now than ever.  For a lot of people, downtime is not an option.

Thankfully, there are very clever people out there that continue to develop machines and techniques to save us time and keep us on the go.

Visit our SMILE page for specific information about the surgery itself (this page is for information on post-operative recovery only)

How long after SMILE laser eye surgery before your vision is clear without glasses or contact lenses?

SMILE Laser Eye Surgery Rapid Recovery

You’ll be very pleased to hear that immediately after SMILE surgery has been completed, patients notice an improvement in vision.  For the first few hours after your surgery, we recommend gently closing your eyes and resting to aid recovery.  Your vision may be a little blurry or foggy during this time.  Your visual clarity will quickly improve over the first 24 hours after your surgery.    Avoiding screens for the first 24 hours is advisable or only in short bursts.

The healing process can differ from patient to patient.  Most patients experience clear vision within one to two days following surgery.  Vision stabilises within one week of your procedure.

EYE SHIELDS should be worn while sleeping for the first night of your procedure.

When can you drive?

Almost all patients meet driving standards within 24 hours of their procedure.  You will attend a post operative appointment the day after your SMILE laser eye surgery and we ask that someone bring you or you travel by taxi.  This appointment is with your surgeon who can then confirm whether or not you are able to drive from then onwards.  If not, the likelihood is it will only be 1-2 more days.

You may have some light sensitivity during the healing phase and it is therefore recommended you wear sunglasses during the day when outside or driving.  If you do not feel comfortable driving at night during the initial healing period, please refrain from doing so.

How long before you can return to work after SMILE laser eye surgery?

rapid recovery

You require a follow up appointment the day after your surgery.  We recommend you take this day off of work to continue to recover and rest your eyes.  The first 24 hours are the most important.  Depending on what type of job you have will determine the length of time we recommend you have off of work.  For ex: Computer based roles in a controlled environment, you will be able to return 24 hours after your procedure.  Using your lubricating eye drops frequently will avoid any additional dry eye caused from air conditioning and reduced blinking.  Studies show our blink rate decreases by 66% when in front of a screen.

Those who work in construction or an environment where they are at risk of getting dust/smoke/debris into their eyes should take more time off from work.  Dependent on your circumstances, we might recommend 5-7 days off from work.  You should take adequate precautions such as wearing safety glasses and increase your use of lubricating eye drops.  This will help to avoid unnecessary post-operative complications.

How long before you can return to sport & fitness after SMILE?

Not as long as you might think! 24 hours after surgery, light activities like stretching and walking are fine.  The most important thing for you to do during the first couple of days is rest, give yourself some downtime and ensure you have your eye drop routine in place.

By day 3 following your SMILE laser eye surgery procedure, it is OK to resume activities such as: stationary cycling, weight lifting (keep it light for the first 2 weeks), jogging, golf & yoga (excluding inverted positions which can resume from day 7).

Strenuous activities can result in sweat, dust or debris entering the eye(s) which may slow down or impair the early healing stages.  This is why there are small restrictions on doing certain things.  Safety following surgery will ensure your accurate result is unaffected.

Bike riding, squash, swimming, tennis and various other activities can resume after 1 week.

Contact or high-impact sports require the longest wait period, understandably.  This includes activities such as boxing, rugby, martial arts, sky diving, water skiing & basketball.  The standard wait time is usually 2-4 weeks although you should confirm this with your surgeon.

Always ask your Doctor if any of your extracurricular activities are not listed.  Follow direct advice from your doctor as this is related directly to your needs and healing.

How long after SMILE laser eye surgery before you can wear makeup?

You should not wear any makeup at all and also avoid eye creams for the first 24 hours after surgery.  We also advise that any false eyelashes be removed prior to surgery.  This is because they hold additional bacteria as well as requiring regular cleansing.  You must avoid rubbing your eyes for the first 7 days after surgery.

You are welcome to have your eyelashes tinted and/or permed at least 7 days BEFORE your procedure.

For the first 3 days following SMILE laser eye surgery, we advise that you do not wear any eye makeup such as mascara, eyeliner or eye shadow.  You may continue to wear lip products, foundation and cream blush.  Please do not use powder makeups for the first 3 days to avoid loose particles getting into the eyes.

After 3-5 days, you may resume your usual makeup routine remaining vigilant for up to 2 weeks.  Be very gentle when cleansing/removing makeup from the eyes.

How long will you need to use eye drops after SMILE laser eye surgery?

We can’t stress enough the importance of following the allocated eye drop routine upon completion of your surgery.  The non-usage of eye drops can directly effect your post-operative result.  You will be provided with:

Anti-inflammatory eye drop – 1 drop to be applied to each operated eye every 2 hours on the day of surgery and the day after surgery.  The following 9 days require 1 drop to each operated eye 4x a day.

Antibiotic eye drop – 1 drop is to be applied 4x a day to each operated eye starting the day of surgery plus the following 5 days (6 days total).

Lubricating eye drop – 1 drop to be applied to each operated eye hourly for the first 3 days then every 2 hours for the following 8 days.  After this, you can continue to use this as necessary for whatever period is required.

Always refer directly to your operating surgeons advice as this may differ to the standard eye drop protocol listed.


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**Please note this blog is not a substitute for medical advice.  If you have any concern about your vision quality or eye health, we urge you to contact your GP or Ophthalmologist**