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How does the cornea flap heal? Are stitches needed?


In SingaporeLASIK surgery has been more and more popular as an alternative of glasses and contact lens, although its surgical nature still sounds scary to some. One of the biggest fear and misconception is that the healing process might involve stitches – which is not the case at all.

The superficial circular cornea flap will self-adhere itself naturally within a few minutes. Within 24 hours, the cornea surface epithelium cells begin to migrate in to seal the edges of the flap. Stitches are therefore not necessary.

During the self-healing process, which is immediately after the procedure. It is not uncommon for your eye to burn, itch and feel like something is in it.  Some discomfort and mild pain may also occur, a mild pain reliever could help, but only under your doctor’s advice.

What to expect after the surgery and while waiting for the cornea flap to heal.

With the healing process of the cornea flap being completely self-heal, it is perhaps more important to understand what to expect after the surgery.

A blurry or hazy vision is likely to occur immediately following the procedure, keep in mind that you will likely want to rub your eye, which will dislodge the flap and should be avoided at all time. An eye shield provided by your doctor should be able to remind and prevent yourself from rubbing your eye. If the flap is dislodged, further treatment will be required.

For the first couple days after the treatment, you are likely to experience greater sensitivity to light, glare, starbursts or haloes around lights. The whites of your eye may also look red or bloodshot. But these symptoms should be significantly improved within days. It is recommended that you take a couple days off work while you wait for these symptoms subside. During this period, you should also avoid any sports and should not resume wearing contact lens.

A visit to your doctor within the first 24 to 48 hours after surgery and at regular intervals after that for at least the first six months are required.  The first postoperative visit allows your doctor to remove the eye shield, test your vision and examine your eye to ensure everything is ok. The follow up visits are to track the results and ensure everything is right. If your eyes have the tendency to be dry, your doctor may advise you to use artificial tears to help with the dry eye. Discuss the possibly of resuming sports or contact lens with your doctor before you make any decision. Be mindful of your activities and avoid any activity that might get small objects into your eyes.

To prevent infection, eye makeup’s and cream or lotion around the eye should be avoided for up to two weeks. Swimming or using hot tubs should also be avoided for at least 1-2 months.

What to expect for your postoperative vision

Although the surgery itself only takes less than 30 minutes, your vision, however, does not stabilize until at least a few months after the LASIK surgery. This is why the regular intervals after the surgery for at least the first six months is important, your doctor will be able to tell you if further treatment is required.


U.S Food and Drug Administration – What should I expect after surgery