Headache after LASIK – Symptoms, Causes, and Management

LASIK is an advanced form of surgery that corrects vision problems such as astigmatism, myopia, or hyperopia. It is very common to face temporary side effects such as headache and dizziness following this refractive procedure while the eyes are taking time to adjust to perfect or near-perfect vision. The eyes are still weak post-surgery and need some time before they are ready to focus properly again.


Common symptoms that are experienced are:

Causes of headache after LASIK

In LASIK surgery the curvature and thickness of the lens are adjusted to perfect or near perfect. Immediately after surgery the eyes are weaker and may tire out if you try to read, use your smartphone, or strain your eyes too much in any other way. The eyes need some time to begin focusing again. The strain builds up with overuse of the eyes and leads to the development of a throbbing headache. This headache after LASIK surgery is temporary but may take some hours and sometimes even days to resolve completely if proper rest is not taken. The headaches are more common in people with chronic headache conditions such as cluster headaches, migraines, and tension headaches as they can be easily triggered. However, a headache after LASIK surgery does not always develop due to strain on the eyes but can also indicate bigger problems such as retinal detachment, development of cataracts, or even glaucoma.

Chronic headache conditions

Chronic migraine sufferers and other people with chronic headache conditions are more sensitive to any trigger. Such people tend to develop temporary headaches shortly after LASIK surgery. They should take strict precautionary measures to avoid the aggravation of symptoms.

What can trigger a headache after LASIK?

Not everyone who undergoes LASIK surgery develops a headache. Therefore, some common triggers that may cause a headache include:

  • Reading a book
  • Watching tv
  • Using mobile phone
  • Direct contact with sunlight
  • Not taking enough rest.

Complications of LASIK

Lasik is done to correct the refractive errors but it is not always successful and sometimes people might end up with even poorer vision than they had before getting the surgery done. Some other complications include:

  • Headache after LASIK
  • Retinal detachment
  • Development of glaucoma
  • Cataract
  • Intraoperative complications such as nerve damage

How can you prevent a headache after LASIK surgery?

  • Limit your screen time
  • Avoid reading a book or newspaper
  • Give your eyes complete rest
  • Avoid direct sunlight
  • Do not strain your eyes too much soon after LASIK surgery.

Management of post LASIK headache


One does not always develop a headache after LASIK. Thus, it should be properly investigated by the ophthalmologist if the headache does not resolve within a few hours. Your physician might check the intraocular pressure, look for any signs of bleeding, and conduct some nerve tests to rule out any nerve injury.


  • Eye drops relieve the inflammation
  • Artificial tears keep the eyes from drying out excessively
  • Over-the-counter painkillers for pain relief from headaches.

Home remedies

  • Try cool and warm compresses for headaches
  • Avoid putting too much strain on your eyes
  • A head massage may also help with the headache
  • Try to keep your eyes closed as much as possible after LASIK.

When to consult a doctor?

If the headache does not go away within 48 hours and is accompanied by other symptoms such as flashes in front of the eyes, vomiting, nausea, bulging eyes, redness of eyes, or dizziness you should report to your surgeon as soon as possible.


How long does a headache last after LASIK surgery?

A headache normally disappears within 24 to 48 hours of LASIK surgery if proper rest is taken.

Who is more likely to develop a headache after LASIK?

People with chronic headache conditions such as migraines, cluster headaches, or tension headaches can be triggered easily and are more likely to develop a headache after LASIK surgery.

How long does it take for the brain to adjust to LASIK?

Every patient takes a different amount of time but normally it takes around 6 to 8 weeks for the brain to properly adjust to the change.

Last medically reviewed on October 19, 2022.