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Glare and Halos: Understanding the Side Effects of LASIK Surgery

By Wlliam E. Holcomb, MD on July 11, 2016


An eye treated through LASIK surgeryHere at Holcomb Laser Center, we put a major emphasis on preparation and information. In other words, we want our patients to understand eye care procedures from beginning to end, including preparation for the procedure and the recovery process. This willingness to discuss these matters with patients is what makes us a leading vision correction center here in Cullman.

When it comes to LASIK surgery to improve vision quality, knowing what to expect before and after surgery can help put a patient's mind at ease. With that in mind, let's consider some common surgical side effects, particularly glare and halos.

Side Effects Are a Natural Part of the Healing Process

Keep in mind that side effects are part of the natural healing process and a sign that your body is reacting normally to the changes made during a surgical procedure. Side effects are temporary and not particularly harmful. These are not to be confused with complications, which are not common after surgery and can be potentially harmful.

Both glare and halos are just two common side effects of LASIK. It's important to keep that in mind as you recover. With that in mind, let's get more specific about the nature of glare and halos.

Glare and Halos: What Are They?

Glare and halos refer to issues involving bright colors and bright lights. With glares and halos, rings of color or light tend to radiate from the object as a result of issues with your vision. Starbursts may also occur as part of this.

Why Do I Experience Glare and Halos After LASIK?

To answer this, let's go over some of the basics of the LASIK procedure.

During LASIK, a small flap is cut into the topmost layer of the cornea, which is known as the epithelium. The epithelial flap is raised and a laser is then used to reshape the cornea. This improves the passage of light through the eyes, helping it focus properly on the retinas. By doing this, refractive errors can be effectively treated.

As you recover from LASIK, your eyes will be getting used to the changes in corneal contour and the way that light no travels through your eyes and focuses on the retinas. As a result, lights and colors may seem especially bight or vibrant.

When Glare and Halos May Be Most Pronounced

Glare and halos will be most noticeable around bright lights or very bright colors. You may be especially susceptible to glare and halos during nighttime. At night, streetlights, headlights, and taillights may seem especially bright given the glare and halo issues coupled with changes in contrast sensitivity.

How Long Will Glare and Halos Last?

This can vary from patient to patient.

In most cases, the significant problems with glare and halos will last for a few weeks, generally resolved by the end of a month or so. Some residual halos or glare may occur as you continue to heal, though there should be no issues with these matters after several months.

During the recovery process, you will have several follow-up visits with your surgeon to help monitor the rate of your healing and if there are any complications to address. Be sure to attend all of these as scheduled.

Follow Your Post-Op Instructions to the Letter

It's important that patients follow all of their post-op instructions to the letter. This helps reduce the severity of side effects after surgery while also improving healing experience and reducing overall recovery time. You will have to deal with glare and halos, but if you follow instructions, they should not be a major issue for long.

Learn More About LASIK Surgery

To learn more about LASIK, its side effects, and how the procedure can help you, be sure to contact our laser eye surgery center today. The team at Holcomb Laser Center looks forward to your visit and helping you achieve total wellness.

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