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Does your eyes look different after lasik?

Lasik surgery is a popular procedure that can correct vision problems like nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. It involves reshaping the cornea, or the clear front surface of the eye, using a laser. Many people who get lasik are thrilled with their improved vision. However, some people notice that their eyes look different after the procedure.

Changes in Eye Shape

One of the most common things people notice after lasik is a change in their eye shape. The cornea is permanently modified during the procedure, which can make the eyes look less round and more oval. This change may be very subtle or more noticeable depending on the amount of correction needed and the individual’s facial features.

During lasik, a flap is cut in the cornea and folded back to expose the inner layers. The laser reshapes the cornea, and then the flap is laid back into place. When the flap heals, there can be slight differences in corneal thickness and curvature that lead to a different overall eye shape.

Pupil Size Changes

The size of the pupil, or the black circular opening in the center of the iris, may also look different after lasik surgery. Under normal lighting conditions, the pupil size should be about 2 to 4 mm. However, some patients notice their pupils are larger (dilated) or smaller (constricted) after their procedure.

There are a few reasons this pupil change can happen:

  • The flap cut during lasik may sever some of the nerves that control pupil size. This can lead to larger pupils.
  • Reshaping the cornea may change its refractive power, which could affect pupil dilation in response to light.
  • Using eye drops during and after surgery may cause temporary pupil dilation.

In most cases, the differences in pupil size after lasik are minor. But for some people, the change is more noticeable, especially in dim lighting.

Dry Eye Effects

Many lasik patients experience dry eye syndrome, particularly in the first few months after their procedure. This is because lasik severs corneal nerves that stimulate tear production. Dryness can cause the eyes to become irritated and red.

In severe cases of dry eye following lasik, the corneas may become scarred or cloudy. This can create a hazy, frosted glass appearance. Lubricating eye drops can help ease dry eye discomfort and prevent long-term corneal scarring.

Seeing the Whites of Your Eyes

After lasik, some patients notice more of the white part of their eyes is visible. This happens when the cornea is significantly flattened to correct severe nearsightedness. The colored part of the eye (iris) is pulled back slightly, revealing more sclera below the iris.

In a normal eye, the cornea curves outward to provide refractive power that focuses light. But in severe nearsightedness, the cornea curves steeply inward. Lasik can reshape the cornea by flattening it out. But this may lead to a slightly larger visible sclera area.

When Do Eyes Stabilize After Lasik?

It can take some time for the eyes to fully stabilize and heal after lasik surgery. Most of the initial healing occurs within the first 3 to 6 months. But it can take a year or longer for all the minor swelling and inflammation to resolve. The final eye shape and appearance should stabilize by around 12 months post-op.

Here is a general timeline of recovery and when you may notice changes in the look of your eyes:

Timeframe Healing Effects
1 week Slight swelling and redness
1-3 months Fluctuating vision, improving eye appearance
3-6 months Less dryness and irritation
6-12 months Finalizing changes to eye shape
12+ months Eyes fully stabilized

Can You Reverse Lasik Eye Changes?

The effects of lasik on eye shape and appearance cannot be reversed. The cornea is permanently reshaped during the procedure through tissue removal. However, additional treatment options are available if you are unsatisfied with the look of your eyes after lasik.

If dry eye syndrome is causing significant cosmetic problems, treatments like punctal plugs and prescription eye drops can help moisturize the eyes. Contact lenses may also help temporarily improve the appearance.

For more severe cases, a corneal transplant or implant could potentially modify the corneal shape and refractive power. However, this would involve major surgery and does not always successfully correct the issues caused by lasik.

Does Lasik Change Your Eye Color?

Lasik only reshapes the clear cornea at the front of the eye. It does not affect the colored iris or other pigmented areas. This means it is not possible for lasik to change your natural eye color.

However, some people think their eye color looks different after lasik. This optical illusion can occur because the pupil size changes. With larger pupils, more of the colored iris is visible. The eyes may seem to appear darker or brighter.

The iris can also be exposed more after lasik corrects severe nearsightedness, as mentioned earlier. This reveals more of the true iris color that was previously hidden.


It’s normal for your eyes to look somewhat different after lasik surgery. Subtle changes to the shape, pupil size, and iris exposure are common. Severe dry eye complications can also impact the appearance. While lasik does not actually alter your eye color, the way the eyes look overall may change.

Most patients are happy with their eye appearance after lasik once the healing process is complete. But it is important to follow your doctor’s postoperative instructions, use eye drops as directed, and protect your eyes from injury to get the best cosmetic outcome. Discuss any concerns with your ophthalmologist to determine if any additional treatment can enhance the look of your eyes.