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Halos & Glare After LASIK Eye Surgery

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Some people experience halos, or rings around lights, after LASIK. Others experience glare, which is light that seems brighter than usual. 

These common side effects typically fade as your eyes heal from surgery. Very few people struggle with halos or glare long term.

Key Facts About LASIK Halos & Glare

  • Halos describe rings around bright lights. Glare is similar, but this term refers to lights that seem brighter than they should. Some people use the terms interchangeably.
  • Halos are among the most common side effects people experience after LASIK, appearing in 5% of people.
  • Proper eye care after surgery can help your eyes heal quickly, so side effects fade faster.

What Are Halos & Glare After LASIK?

During LASIK eye surgery, doctors make subtle adjustments to the shape of your cornea. Like all surgeries, LASIK causes tissue damage. Halos and glare can result as your tissues heal. 

A halo is a ring around another light source. Some people see halos around things like street lights or a candle flame.

Glare refers to lights that seem brighter than they should be. Some people see glare from oncoming cars while driving at night. 

Doctors use LASIK to treat vision issues, such as myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism. A laser cuts a tiny piece of cornea, which is flipped up to reveal deeper tissues. A second laser reshapes the eye. With that work done, the flap is replaced as a natural bandage. 

As eyes heal, fluid may build in the cornea. That excess fluid can distort light, resulting in halos and glare. Other visual disturbances can include starbursts (jagged rings around lights) or general fogginess. 

These visual problems may seem concerning, but they do tend to diminish as the eye heals.

Are Halos Common After LASIK Eye Surgery?

Halos and other visual disturbances are common after LASIK. But working with the right surgeon can reduce the risk of side effects of LASIK

Qualified surgeons use sophisticated laser equipment during your LASIK surgery. They map the surface of your eye before surgery starts, ensuring they don’t take more tissue than needed. Modern equipment wielded by an experienced surgeon can result in an effective surgery with few side effects. 

If you do develop halos and glare, they tend to fade within the first few months after surgery. Your vision may fluctuate during this time until it stabilizes.

Other Common Side Effects of LASIK

As your eyes heal, you may experience other LASIK side effects. They are minor, but can include the following:

  • Blurred vision 
  • Dry eyes
  • Itchiness
  • Light sensitivity 
  • Mild eye discomfort 
  • Watery eyes 

How Patients Can Cope With LASIK Halos

To improve recovery time and experience, it’s important that patients follow pre-operative and post-operative instructions to the letter. This will help reduce the duration of side effects following LASIK and lessen the chances of complications occurring.

Take the following steps to encourage healing and reduce halos and glare:

  • Wear sunglasses. Put sunglasses on before you head outside into the bright sunshine. 
  • Avoid night driving. Until your eyes heal, limit your time behind the wheel when the sun goes down. Try public transportation or taxis instead. 
  • Follow instructions. Use eye drops and medications as directed by your doctor, and always keep your follow-up appointments.

Your doctor will give you guidance after the procedure, but never be afraid to call your doctor with questions or concerns.

Am I at Risk of Long-Term Glare & Halos?

Halos after LASIK are essentially part of the healing process for some people. They are unavoidable to a certain degree, though they only tend to last a few weeks. Before surgery, your doctor will perform a detailed examination to ensure you’re a good candidate unlikely to experience long-term problems. 

The following conditions could increase your risk of complications after surgery:

  • Large pupils 
  • Higher prescriptions
  • Dry eyes

If your doctor spots these issues during your screening exam, you can discuss your risk and determine if surgery is right for you. 

One of the great advances in eye care over recent years is the advent of custom LASIK surgery. Using precise digital mapping of the corneas, doctors can pinpoint and reshape very minor imperfections in corneal shape. 

These lasers emit anti-glare patterns that provide an incredible quality of vision during the day and night. A surgery like this could reduce your risk of long-term problems even more.

Halos & Glare After LASIK Frequently Asked Questions

What do halos look like after LASIK?

Halos look like bright circles around other sources of light, such as street lights or car headlights.

How long will halos last after LASIK?

Halos typically last for a few weeks after LASIK as your eyes heal. In some cases, they can last a few months.

How do you reduce halos after LASIK?

Halos usually fade as your eyes heal. Until they do, wear sunglasses, and limit the time you spend driving at night.

Can LASIK cause permanent halos?

Halos are side effects that typically fade as your eyes heal. Permanent halos are extremely rare.

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