How To Protect Your Eyes After LASIK Eye Surgery
Undergoing LASIK eye surgery is a great way to improve your overall vision, but protecting your eyes doesn’t stop once you’ve had the procedure. Rather, to ensure the best post-operative results and to safeguard your vision well into the future, there are important steps you should take to protect and promote your overall eye health.
Following your procedure, you’ll be given a variety of post-operative instructions to follow to encourage a smooth recovery. But even once you’re fully recovered, there are still certain things you should be doing to protect your eyes.
Below, we review the best practices for protecting your eyes after having LASIK eye surgery. Not only will this ensure you achieve the best results following your procedure, but it can protect your eyes from future diseases and injuries.
Plan Your Activities Carefully
One of the advantages of LASIK eye surgery is it offers a quick recovery time – most patients are back to their normal routines within 24 hours. However, you won’t be able to do every activity right away. You won’t be able to complete certain strenuous activities for at least a few days, or in some cases, a week. That’s why we’ve devised a recommended activity schedule for you to follow.
For example, on the day of your surgery, it’s imperative to avoid any activities in which your eyes may be poked, rubbed, or touched. You’ll need to avoid showering so that water and soap don’t get in your eyes. You won’t be able to drive and you’ll be instructed to avoid alcohol. Three days after your surgery, however, you’ll be able to complete light exercise or outdoor activities. You’ll also be able to swim with goggles, apply eye makeup, and suntan. One week after your procedure, you can resume more vigorous activities, like sailing or swimming sans goggles.
Remember, even when you’re fully recovered and able to participate in a full range of activities, it’s important to utilize proper protective gear, such as safety goggles. This is especially important if you have a job in which eye injuries are common in the workplace.
Attend Post-Operative Exams & Appointments
Following your procedure, we’ll schedule you for a variety of mandatory post-operative exams in order to monitor the progress of your recovery. These take place:
- 24 hours post-procedure
- 2 weeks post-procedure
- 1-year post-procedure
It’s also important to keep up with regular eye exams. This isn’t only to evaluate the results of your LASIK eye surgery, but to monitor your overall eye health. This is important even if you don’t have any apparent trouble with your vision, since there are many eye problems that can go unnoticed, such as glaucoma, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, and macular degeneration.
WebMD explains that for adults younger than 40 with no known eye problems or symptoms, it’s usually recommended to have a routine eye check-up every two years. However, since eye health tends to deteriorate with age, those 40 and older should get their eyes checked every 1-2 years. People who have a history of eye problems should consider seeing their eye doctor at least once a year.
Treat Dry Eyes
Some people experience dry eyes following their LASIK eye surgery, although in many cases this side effect is only temporary while the eyes heal. Dry eyes are characterized by the following symptoms:
- Burning, red, or itchy eyes
- Excessive tearing
- Sensation of sand in eyes
There are various ways to treat dry eyes. For example, common methods to treat dry eye include over-the-counter drugs or prescription medications, Healthline notes. Speak to your pharmacist or doctor for more information. You may also find relief from the symptoms by placing a warm, wet cloth over the eyes for five minutes, massaging the eyelids with a mild soap (ie. baby shampoo) or trying Omega-3 supplements and castor oil drops.
You can also try a comfort plug, which is a microscopic plug inserted into a patient’s tear duct. It works to increase the level of tear film, thereby helping to regulate moisture levels and lessen the discomfort of experiencing dry eyes.
Wear Sunglasses Outdoors
Even if you haven’t had LASIK eye surgery, wearing sunglasses is important for ensuring your overall eye health. Specifically, sunglasses are important for protecting eyes from the sun’s UV rays, which can cause cataracts and macular degeneration, among many things.
Beware that not all sunglasses are made equally. Wearing sunglasses without a sufficient level of protection will do little to safeguard your eyes. The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) recommends looking for sunglasses that have a tag or sticker indicating they block 99% to 100% of UV rays.
Furthermore, you’ll be instructed to wear a special pair of sunglasses immediately following your LASIK eye surgery, which will be provided to you. We ask that you wear these sunglasses in lieu of a personal pair, which may not provide adequate protection. Afterwards, continue to wear quality sunglasses that block 99% to 100% of UV rays when outdoors.
Protect From Digital Eye Strain
Digital eye strain (also known as computer vision syndrome) refers to a myriad of vision-related problems caused by prolonged exposure to digital devices. It’s characterized by symptoms such as:
- Blurred vision
- Dry eyes
- Neck and shoulder pain
Digital eye strain has been linked to a variety of short and long-term health problems. Whether you work at a computer or simply scroll through a phone or tablet in your personal time, taking steps to protect your vision from the blue light emitted by digital screens is crucial to ensuring overall eye health.
For example, blue light blocking glasses have recently emerged as a promising way to protect eyes from strain caused by devices. Some of the perceived benefits include promoting better sleep, reducing eye strain, and increasing productivity. With that being said, however, research is still inconclusive about the benefits of blue light glasses – the AAO, for example, has yet to endorse them.
However, there are other steps you can take to reduce digital eye strain, including:
- Avoid using devices before bed.
- Utilize a matte screen to reduce glare.
- Sit at least 25 inches away from the screen.
- “20-20-20” Rule: every 20 minutes, look at something that’s at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
LASIK eye surgery can improve your vision by reducing or eliminating the need for glasses and contact lenses. But the key to achieving (and subsequently enjoying) the best post-operative visual results is to incorporate habits and practices that promote your best eye health. From keeping up with appointments and eye exams to wearing the proper eye protection, it’s up to you to protect your vision.
To discover if LASIK eye surgery or another vision correction procedure is right for you, book a free, no-obligation consultation today. To learn more about all things vision, be sure to check out our blog.