Are there Any Restrictions after LASIK Surgery?

Are there any restrictions after LASIK surgery? This is the number one question we hear from patients when they come in for their free LASIK consultation with Dr. Mandel. We completely understand why this is important. Knowing what you can and can’t do afterward often helps you decide the timing of your LASIK surgery. So, we thought it would be helpful to make these answers available to you, our prospective LASIK patients, during the research phase of your decision-making process. To that end, we’ve compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions about restrictions after LASIK surgery at Mandel Vision below, along with Dr. Mandel’s answers.

Can I go back to work the next day?

Absolutely. Our patients typically go back to work the day after their LASIK surgery.  However, when you’re working on a computer or reading, you blink 60% less than at other times. This lack of blinking can exacerbate dry eye symptoms. Since everyone’s eyes are temporarily more dry in the first few months after LASIK, increasing the use of preservative-free natural tears to every 30 minutes, as well as taking frequent breaks will help. You can read more about this in our blog:  Dr. Mandel’s Reading and Computer Tips.

Can I travel via airplane the day after LASIK surgery?

Yes, airplane travel is fine the day after LASIK surgery.  However, there are two issues to keep in mind. The first is that you’ll need to see Dr. Mandel for a one day post-operative check within 24 hours of your LASIK surgery, and also 1 week after, so you’ll need to plan your flight accordingly.  The second issue is that airplanes are particularly dry environments.  To compensate for this, you’ll need to increase the use of (preservative-free) natural tear drops to every 30 minutes, while in flight. Following the computer tips in the link above will also help.

How soon can I swim?

During the first week, it’s critical that you avoid getting water directly in your eyes.  This is to guard against infection, so swimming should be avoided in the first week. Once resumed, goggles should be worn for the next 2 months. Also, a wave hitting the eye can be as powerful as a fist.  Therefore, if swimming in the ocean, protective goggles should be worn.

Can I go into a steam room or sauna?

The sauna should be avoided for 6 weeks after LASIK because of the drying effect. The steam room should be avoided for 3 weeks as chemicals and hot steam can irritate the corneal surface.

Can I participate in water sports? (surfing, snorkeling, scuba diving, water skiing, jetskiing, etc…)

Water sports are fine, but not in the first week after LASIK and goggles should be worn for the next 2 months. As mentioned above, a wave hitting the eye can be as powerful as a fist.  Therefore, protective goggles should be worn for all water sports, and at any time there’s a chance that a wave could hit your eyes.

Can I work out?

You can work out as soon as the day after LASIK.  However, as mentioned above, it’s most critical to avoid infection in the first week after LASIK, so you should avoid touching your eyes after handling equipment in the gym. You should also take precautions so that sweat doesn’t drip into your eyes during the first week after LASIK.

Can I play racquet sports?

These types of sports are fine, as soon as the day after LASIK, but you must wear impact-resistant protective goggles. This is particularly important in doubles tennis where injuries at the net can happen in an instant. For tennis, after a couple of months, you can give up the protective glasses. The brow and cheek bone can block the larger tennis ball, in most instances. You can do more damage to the eye in racquetball because the ball is small enough to bypass these protective bony structures. Therefore, it’s even more important to use protective eyewear. Incidentally, especially with racquetball, since the ball travels so fast, impact-resistant protective eyewear should be worn at all times, whether or not you’ve had LASIK.

Can I play contact sports?

As with above, you need to protect your LASIK flap during sports that involve a potential force against the eye, particularly during the first few months, with the use of protective goggles.

Can I go skydiving?

This is fine, as soon as the day after LASIK.  Trauma from falls, wind and debris are the key factors which need to be considered during extreme sports such as skydiving. Therefore, protective eyewear is your best defense against eye injuries when skydiving.

Can I drink alcohol the day of my LASIK surgery?

Drinking alcohol dehydrates you, which can also dry out your eyes.  We want your eyes to be in the best possible condition as you heal on the day of your LASIK surgery, so save the cocktails and the celebration for the next day! 

Can I smoke marijuana the day of my LASIK surgery?

Marijuana can temporarily anesthetize the cornea, which can decrease corneal sensation.  This can cause a delay in the healing of the cornea, as well as a marked decrease in blinking, which can dry out your eyes. As dryness is particularly common in the first few weeks following LASIK, it’s recommended that you postpone marijuana use for that period of time.  When it’s resumed, you should increase the use of natural tears to combat the potential drying effects.

Can I smoke cigarettes the day of my LASIK surgery?

Cigarette smoke is an irritant. The day of your LASIK procedure, you should rest your eyes as much as possible and avoid anything that causes eye irritation. As with marijuana, once cigarette smoking is resumed, natural tears should be used more regularly.

We hope this information has been helpful in your LASIK surgery decision-making process. We truly believe a fully informed patient is the best patient.  That said, you can find additional information about LASIK in the ‘related blogs’ section below.

Do you have a question about restrictions after LASIK surgery that we didn’t cover above? If so, feel free to call us at 888-866-3681. Our experienced LASIK consultants, Missy and Karem, would be happy to address your concerns. Better yet, you can schedule a FREE LASIK consultation with corneal specialist and microsurgeon, Dr. Eric Mandel, to find out if you’re a candidate for LASIK. To schedule this appointment, you can either call our office at the above number, or you can click here to schedule your appointment online.

Change Your Vision, Change Your Life. Mandel Vision®

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Why Choose Dr. MandelAbout Our Practice

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Mandel Vision’s Top Manhattan LASIK FAQ’s: Blog 2 of a 2-part series

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