Your eyes are one of the most treasured parts of your body, and it makes sense that you want to keep them in the best of shape. You use them every day to see the world around you and take in the beauty of it all, as well as its bad points.
No one wants to spend the rest of their life peering through glasses at the muted colors of autumn leaves or the clear blue waters of their favorite beach. For you, glasses and contacts just aren’t good enough. You want the vision of your younger years back.
Lasik eye surgery has revolutionized the field of Ophthalmology* and allowed millions of people to reclaim 20/20 vision or better.
However, there’s a certain care regiment that you should follow to ensure your recovery time doesn’t send you straight back to the eye doctor.
We’ve compiled the most extensive list of post-surgery care tips for Lasik eye treatments possible to help you make the most of your vision correction.
#1 – Get Some Rest
The first and most important step after Lasik surgery is resting your eyes for a few hours. You will most likely be taken to a waiting room with a comfortable chair, or someone will be allowed to pick you up to immediately take you home.
If you have the option for a waiting room, that’s the best choice since you don’t have to go far for a snooze.
Your body will be adjusting to the procedure; simply taking it easy and not moving too much after the surgery goes a long way in the recovery process and gives your body time to heal.
#2 – Wear Sunglasses
Your eyes will be tender and irritated by the invasive surgery, so make sure you wear sunglasses during the daytime. Even if you’re not outdoors, your eyes will be incredibly sensitive to light levels.
Avoid going outdoors if at all possible, as even sunglasses let in some amount of light. We’re not saying that you have to quarantine yourself in a dark room with no light whatsoever, but avoid strong light and bright spaces. Choose sunglasses that have dark and/or polarized lenses for maximum benefit.
#3 – Take Some Days Off
This should go without saying, but we have to say it anyway. Getting some rest doesn’t just mean sleep and being a couch potato. You’ll need time off from work for your eyes to heal and adjust to their new vision level.
Although it’s tempting to read through a few emails or text your boss about your progress, what you should really be doing is resting your eyes as much as is humanly possible.
Avoid all electronics for the first couple of days, save the microwave or setting your alarm clock. Playing video games, watching movies or reading books are absolutely out of the question for 24 to 48 hours.
#4 – Leave Your Eyes Alone!
This may be the most difficult thing you have to do during your recovery. Have you ever had an unbearable itch that you just had to scratch? Well, this is going to be ten times worse (or maybe just twice as bad; either way, it’s going to suck).
Whether it’s itching or pain, you must resist the urge to rub or touch your eyes in any way. Touching your eyes could irritate them further and possibly undo any benefits you received from surgery. If you just can’t take it anymore, see your doctor about getting something to help you cope.
#5 – Don’t Drive
This is another tip that should go without saying, but many people ignore this warning. The world is already full of bad drivers that lack situational awareness or are now too old to see cars and pedestrians in front of them.
Don’t add a post-surgery person whose vision has drastically changed to the mix. For one, it’s a strain on your eyes. Secondly, many people experience blurred or foggy vision after Lasik.
This is normal, and you should avoid driving for at least 2 or 3 days after surgery. When you’re allowed to drive again, limit it to short trips until you’re completely healed.
#6 – Wear Protective Goggles
Your surgeon or doctor will most likely give you protective sleepwear to shield your eyes at night. This is to prevent any accidental contact with your eyes that could damage them or reverse the effects of Lasik surgery.
It’s not likely that you’ll end up punching your face in the middle of the night, but you can most certainly poke, prod or rub at your eyes while snoozing away. You’re asleep – how can you control your movements when you’re blissfully unaware and unconscious?
#7 – Switch To Baths
If you’re already a fan of baths, great! Those who prefer showers, however, should consider making the switch in the two weeks after Lasik surgery.
You can be as careful as you like in the shower, but a spray of water that bounces soap into your eyes or shampoo dropping in from above can irritate your eyes, even if you haven’t had Lasik surgery.
Protective goggles can be useful in the shower as well, but don’t use the same ones that you do for sleeping; they’re probably not designed to get wet.
If you’re a swimmer, avoid chlorine pools at all cost during your recovery. Chlorine is incredibly irritating even to perfectly healthy eyes. (It’s why many people nowadays use home shower head filters).
#8 – Avoid Eye Makeup
Going without makeup at all would be the most ideal solution, but we understand that that’s not possible for everyone. You want to look fresh-faced for your daily commute or your next meeting, but eye makeup should be avoided like the plague (at least until a week after Lasik eye surgery).
Eyeliner, eyeshadow and mascara are common culprits for eye irritation, and that’s on a good day. Particles of makeup that get in your eye will (yes, you guessed it) irritate your eye and cause it to burn or itch. Stick to foundation and blush, if you must stick to anything at all.
#9 – Take Your Medications
After your Lasik surgery, you’ll be prescribed eyedrops that you must take as directed. The phrase “goes without saying” will lose meaning if we mention it one more time, but the point is that you must take them. Why?
It’s because of two reasons:
- 1) these eyedrops contain antibiotics to help prevent infection, and
- 2) your eyes may have trouble secreting tears for some time after your surgery.
To prevent your eyes from drying out and experiencing further irritation, you should take the eyedrops regularly and as prescribed.
#10 – Ease Into Daily Activities
You may feel yourself going stir-crazy and experiencing signs of some pretty severe cabin fever. It’s bothersome to have to take it easy for such a long time, especially if you’re not used to it.
Even the couchiest of couch potatoes can get restless from time to time. Once you’ve been given the all-clear from your doctor to start resuming business as usual, don’t rush into it. Take it slow!
Are you dying to reach the end of a mystery novel? Limit yourself to a chapter a day. Are you an avid video gamer? Thirty minutes staring at a TV screen and following movements is more than enough. Don’t play any contact sports or sports where your eyes might get hit for a solid month after surgery (no cheating!).
#11 – Keep Your Appointments
Just as people tend to stop taking antibiotics once they feel better, some patients cancel doctor’s appointments because they feel they don’t need them.
Post-surgery appointments extend as far as a year later from the date of your surgery. Each and every one of these appointments is important to check that your eyes are healing properly and that nothing is amiss.
You may not be able to see it, but the flap of your cornea may have slipped out of place. To avoid complications, keep every appointment to ensure your safety and eye health.
#12 – Report Suspicious Symptoms To Your Doctor
Although irritation and sensitivity to light are common for post-Lasik patients, it never hurts to check if you feel something isn’t right. Feeling embarrassed that a common symptom has sent you into a panic is the least of your worries if something is actually wrong.
Symptoms like the ones listed above tend to go away after 2 to 3 days. Should they last longer, notify your doctor to see if anything needs to be done about them. You’re better safe than sorry, as they say.
* Ophthalmology is the branch of medicine that deals with the anatomy, physiology and diseases of the eye.
Image: Focus Clinic.