How Long Does Ghosting Last After Lasik (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 1 to 2 months

Lasik is the short-hand abbreviation used to connote Laser in situ Keratomileusis. In more general terms, it connotes laser eye surgery. The Lasik procedure is performed on patients who have irregularities in their pupils that in turn cause problems with their visions. It is also used to correct several high-order aberrations including blurry vision, glare, focus issues, etc.

Ghosting, on the other hand, stands for a phenomenon when a patient who has undergone the Lasik procedure sees double images. This is medically called monocular polyopia or the ‘one-eye and multiple images’ problem. Corneal irregularities after Lasik can cause ghosting in most patients. 

How Long Does Ghosting Last After Lasik?

Ghosting is a common sign that the patient may require Lasik surgery. It is the double blurry vision that is characteristic of someone suffering from extremely irregular pupils. However, ironically, ghosting is also a common side effect of Lasik surgery. Most patients complain of double vision after the surgery.

Most eye doctors state that the experience of ghosting after Lasik surgery is temporary. It is usually cured within a couple of weeks after the procedure. Nonetheless, there are exceptional cases where this effect lasts for 2 months.  

Doctors consider this period of time normal. Ghosting during this timeframe is a part and parcel of the surgical procedure and it is not an indication of worry for the patient in question. It is important to keep anxiety at bay when this happens.

However, there are some instances where ghosting has continued well after the initial 2 months. Some have experienced double vision for almost 6 months after their Lasik surgery is complete. Although most people in this category state that ghosting levels improve over time, it is best to get it checked if it persists longer than the 2-month window.

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This timeframe is one that is contingent on a host of factors including the level of aberration in the patient that has been corrected, the overall health of the individual, the existence or absence of comorbidities, etc. Moreover, each patient will respond differently to the procedure. Thus. It is seminal to discuss your own recovery timeframe with the doctor in charge before you opt for Lasik surgery.

In Summary:

Probability of OutcomeLasting of Ghosting Effect
Most Cases1-2 months after Lasik
Few Exceptional CasesMore than 2 months after Lasik

Why Does Ghosting Last So Long After Lasik?

The Lasik procedure uses a high-power laser to reshape the irregularities in the patient’s cornea. Since each eye is different, it is possible that the surgery may miss certain minute irregularities. This can lead to the persistence of ghosting vision in the patient.

In most cases, Lasik eye surgeries are completely successful in omitting these irregularities. This, however, does not annihilate the possibility of ghosting as even in such cases the patient may experience double vision. This is because it takes the eyes some time to heal and recuperate from the surgery.

The eyes become red and dry after the surgery. This will invariably lead to ghosting since double vision is enhanced by the dryness of one’s eyes. In such a situation, moisturizing eye drops help soothe the eye. Sleeping and resting your eye is also a good option.

If the patient returns to work too early and uses screens immediately after the surgery, chances of ghosting persisting are much higher as his or her eyes will become severely dry. In the event that the patient continues to face this issue after the initial month of the surgery, it is better to get the eye checked by a professional.

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Sometimes ghosting after Lasik may not be related to the surgery at all. It may be symptomatic of a much deeper issue, including cranial nerve damage, brain stroke, etc. This probable only if ghosting lasts much longer than the stipulated time. But again, all bodies are different, thus healing times will also be different.

Conclusion

Lasik surgeries help provide the patient relief from a number of vision-related issues. It is important to cognize that after the surgery the patient may face complications like ghosting or double image viewing. This is generally common during the initial aftermath of the procedure.

Generally, doctors suggest that experiencing ghosting for a month or two after the Lasik surgery can be considered normal. For most patients, the double vision starts subsiding within this time. However, if this ghosting persists for more than 2 months, it can be a cause for concern. Then the individual should seek medical help for this persisting issue.

References

  1. https://journals.healio.com/doi/abs/10.3928/1081597X-20090610-01
  2. https://europepmc.org/article/med/20496308
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