There is no doubt that LASIK surgery has greatly improved the vision of millions of men and women throughout the world. The safety and effectiveness of the procedure is unmatched by any other surgical treatment for refractive errors. But an important factor in patients’ LASIK results is the recovery process. In order to achieve the best possible outcomes, patients must follow their surgeon’s post-operative instructions after LASIK eye surgery. In this blog post, Salt Lake City optometrist David Masihdas reviews the LASIK recovery tips that lead to a pleasant recovery and optimal results.
- Rest: Most patients report the greatest degree of discomfort after the numbing eye drops wear off, which happens about 30 minutes to an hour after surgery. This period of discomfort usually lasts for just a few hours. The best way to minimize this discomfort is to keep the eyes closed during this time. Keeping the eyes closed prevents the irritation that is caused by blinking. When the patient blinks, the lid rubs against the healing corneal flap, causing pain. By keeping the eyes closed, discomfort is reduced and the flap area remains moist and undisturbed during this critical healing period. It is for these reasons that we strongly recommend that patients take a nap for a few hours upon retuning home from LASIK surgery.
- LASIK goggles: Patients should wear the LASIK goggles that were given to them after surgery for the first day and night of surgery. The LASIK goggles serve two important purposes. First, they prevent patients from unconsciously touching or rubbing the eyes. Touching the eyes in the first few days after LASIK can increase the risk of infection and the flap becoming dislodged. Second, the goggles keep the eyes safe from any dirt or debris that may be in the air.
- Don’t touch your eyes: Though it may be tempting, do not touch your eyes for a few weeks after LASIK. During this time, patients will be more vulnerable to eye infections, since an incision was made in the cornea. For the first day after LASIK, the goggles will prevent patients from touching the eyes. When the goggles are no longer being used, it is still important for patients to avoid touching or rubbing the eyes.
- Eye drops: After surgery, your doctor will provide you with eye drops to use during the healing period. These eye drops are intended to reduce the risk of infection and encourage healing. Be sure to use the eye drops as often as directed by your doctor.
- Don’t wear make-up or cosmetic eye products: To reduce the risk of infection while the corneal flap heals, patients should avoid wearing eye make-up or other eye products for one to two weeks after surgery.
- Wear protecting eye gear: If you engage in contact sports, be sure to wear protective eye gear to protect the eyes from injury.
- Don’t swim: Don’t swim in the pool for two weeks after surgery, and avoid swimming in lakes, rivers, oceans, and other natural bodies of water for one month after surgery.