WHAT TO DO AFTER LASER VISION CORRECTION?
LASIK Eye Surgery is literally a life-changing procedure. Many patients have not been able to see without glasses since they were little children. Simple activities like bike rides, swimming, or yard work can become a nuisance when glasses slip off, contacts fall out, or debris become trapped between the lens and the eye. LASIK surgery solves all of those problems and more. However, if patients aren’t careful about protecting their eyes after laser vision correction, the surgical procedure can be less effective.
Protect Your Eyes After LASIK Surgery
One of the wonderful things about laser vision correction is that it’s a completely pain-free procedure, with minimal eye discomfort afterwards. Once the eyes have healed, voila! Patients are often amazed to see that trees actually have individual leaves and street signs have words on them!
The healing period will involve very minimal changes in lifestyle; however, any injury that occurs during the healing period can do lasting damage. It is imperative that patients pay close attention to the following protective measures.
The First Few Days
When patients leave the LASIK surgery center, they will be given:
- Anti-inflammatory eye drops
- Prescription for anti-bacterial eye drops (fill ASAP to protect vulnerable eye tissue from infection)
- Lubricating drops
- Protective goggles
- Dark protective lenses
Follow the directions on the eye drop labels to ensure the eyes do not become infected, and to keep pain and irritation to a minimum. Patients should wear the darkest sun glass lenses available because healing eyes are more sensitive to bright lights (especially UV rays). Harmful scarring can occur with exposure to direct sunlight.
For the first 24 hours, patients want to avoid any eye strain at all and should refrain from activities like reading, looking at computer screens, and watching television, if possible. This is a great time to take a much needed nap. Closed eyes will get a break and sleep is always beneficial to the body’s natural healing process.
It’s also important to avoid rubbing the eyes, which is why the sleep goggles are so important. (It’s hard enough to remember not to rub one’s eyes during the day but it is often a habit one does immediately upon waking!) The sleep goggles will protect the eyes for the first week or so after laser vision correction.
For the First Two Weeks
While exercise should be avoided for the first 48 hours or so after surgery, LASIK surgery patients can resume most of their normal activities as long as the eyes are protected from sweat using goggles and/or a headband of some sort.
During this time, you should avoid swimming pools, hot tubs, saunas and lakes. For the first seven days, you should also avoid dusty and/or dirty environments. If a job requires it, always use the protective goggles.
Activities that should be avoided include:
- Getting water/soap/shampoo in the eyes while showering
- Eye rubbing
- Driving – until it feels 100% comfortable
- Wearing eye makeup – wait at least one week after the surgery before applying makeup. New mascara/eyeliner should be purchased to protect eyes from bacteria.
- Perms or hair coloring as fumes/chemicals can be dangerous to the healing tissues
Patients should immediately report any sign of redness, increased pain, swelling or drainage to their eye doctor.
For the First Months
Although eye tissue should heal almost completely after the first few weeks, the newly healed tissue is still delicate. It is recommended that athletes wear eye protection for at least the first month after LASIK surgery. Patients should try to use dark glasses whenever they are exposed to bright sunlight for the first 12 months.
When patients take proper post-operative care of their eyes, they will be able to fully embrace their new world of vision.