Lifestyle after LASIK

After Lasik Lifestyle Changes

Life after LASIK surgery is great! No more groping for glasses in the morning; remembering to remove them before photographs (for those of us who are vain) and no more struggling to tighten the screws on the glasses when you actually need to be wearing them to do the job! LASIK is particularly beneficial to sportsmen and women for whom unimpeded eyesight is critical. However there are a few changes in lifestyle which need to be made once LASIK surgery has been performed and the healing process has been completed.

Post Surgery Care
Immediately following surgery, care must be taken to protect the eye from infection and damage as the corneal flap heals. Antibiotic medications and anti-inflammatory eye drops will be prescribed by your eye doctor and their application should be strictly adhered to. Some side effects of the surgery may include dry eyes and this can be remedied by applying artificial tears or lubricating eye drops daily or as required. It is important that the healing is allowed to take place undisturbed, so do not be tempted to rub the eye at all. It may be a little itchy and irritated but this is part of the healing process. Wear protective wrap-around sunglasses when you go out, for the first week, and regular UV protective sunglasses in bright light after that. At night, wear protective goggles for the first few nights so that the eye is not accidentally rubbed during sleep. Proper post-operative care can ensure that the operation and ensuing healing all goes smoothly to give you the 20/20 vision you planned and hoped for.

If haloes, glaring or starburst effects appear around lights, this again is a fairly common side effect. You may need to wear dark glasses to lessen the effect, particularly when driving at night. This side effect will gradually lessen and disappear, although it may take a few weeks or even months to do so.

Sunlight and Tanning
Even before LASIK surgery, protective sunglasses should always be worn in the sun to protect the eyes from ultra-violet rays. After LASIK it is even more imperative that the eyes are not subjected to any risk of damage from the sun's rays. Ultra violet rays can actually reverse the effects of LASIK and can cause a corneal haze to develop. They can cause cataracts to develop and cause retinal damage. This applies not only to the sun's rays but also to the UV rays on tanning beds. Now is the time to invest in a pair of good sunglasses with UV protection if you do not already own some.

Swimming and Watersports
The ability to go swimming and snorkeling is a big plus after LASIK surgery. Now you can actually see your environment which is a huge benefit if you are snorkeling or scuba diving. You need to avoid swimming until your eye has completely healed. An infection in the eye after LASIK could be a major setback. You eye will be vulnerable to infection and sea and lake water harbor bacteria. Swimming pool water does have some bacteria, as well as the chlorine possibly aggravating already dry eyes as you heal. Water skiing and diving may disturb the corneal flap if it is not completely healed back into place and a wrinkle may mean having to have corrective surgery. Your eye doctor will tell you when you can go swimming again, usually after 1-2 months.

Skiing, Mountain Climbing and Other High Altitude Sports
Your vision changes at high altitudes in response to the pressure changes and lack of oxygen. This is usually only an issue over 10,000 feet but not being able to see in such circumstances can be very dangerous. At lower altitudes the wind may cause dry eye and this can cause complications after LASIK surgery.

Contact Sports
Although you may be thrilled with your new clear vision, you must refrain from all types of contact sports for at least a month after the surgery. This includes hockey, football, tennis, martial arts, boxing and racquet ball. You may wish to consider wearing protective eyewear when you do return to sports activities to protect your sight anyway.

Life certainly begins after LASIK. If you have taken the step to have the surgery done, having considered the risks, then enjoy all the benfits of having improved vision, and all the advantages of not having to wear glasses or contact lenses.

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