Thanks to advances in technology and surgical techniques, LASIK has achieved high rates of success and level of patient satisfaction. Several studies, as well as our own experience, have noted a complication rate of significantly less than 1 percent, and patient satisfaction above 95 percent! LASIK has never been safer or more effective. Visual outcomes are outstanding, and many times patients achieve better than 20/20 vision. While the eye surgeon and his/her protocols are often responsible for the success of a laser eye surgery procedure, there are many things a patient can do to enhance the results of LASIK.
Be Aware of Environmental Issues which Contribute to Dry Eyes
Following vision correction surgery your eyes will be drier than normal for a few months. It is important to know that you need to use plenty of OTC lubricant drops. However, this is not the only thing patients should do. There are other things which contribute to the dryness and the patient can significantly help by adjusting their environment surrounding them. Fans and vents blowing in your face in cars or at the home/office will dry your eyes significantly. Make sure to turn fans and vents away. This includes ceiling fans while sleeping. They should be off for a few months. Working on screens, computers/smart phones/video games, dries our eyes because our blink rate drops approximately ten-fold. We literally stare at screens which allows the surface of our eyes to dry out. (This is why our eyes feel strained after long days on screens). We need to promote more blinking while working on screens and we actually provide patients with a small but highly visible sticker to place on their monitor screen reminding them to BLINK!
Of course there are also prescription medications which may be prescribed for dryness, and these are very important to use as directed.
Don’t Rub or Touch Your Eyes
During LASIK, a flap is created on the cornea to aid with the laser reshaping and then set down to heal. Following surgery, the flap is very delicate and must not be moved or disturbed otherwise flap complications may occur. In order to ensure the best results after LASIK, it is important to avoid rubbing or touching your eyes. It is also very important to only softly dab the eyes after instilling eye drops. Proper technique for instilling and wiping your eyes is important. We recommend that you keep both eyes open, tilt your head back and pull down on lower lid while looking toward ceiling to instill an eye drop. It is very important not to touch the upper eyelid while instilling drops. Dabbing of eyes should only very soft and straight toward the closed eyes, not from below the eyes or from the sides, etc.. While quite rare, pushing too hard with a tissue from an angle could shift the flap in the first few days.
This is also why it’s important that LASIK patients wear their eye shields as instructed for the first week. The eye shields you wear after LASIK will help prevent rubbing and otherwise disturbing the eyes while you sleep, and also keep particles, dust, and other matter out of the eyes as you recover.
Wear Sunglasses or a Hat with a Brim Outdoors
Your eyes might be sensitive to bright lights in the first days after LASIK. To avoid discomfort and make sure your eyes are not harmed by the UV rays of the sun in the early stage of recovery, be sure to wear sunglasses or a hat with a brim when you are outside during daylight hours. Shading your eyes is helpful for having a more comfortable recovery.
Have Liquid Tears Handy at All Times
Your eyes may feel dry, irritated, or itchy as you are recovering from LASIK. Since you should not rub your eyes, it’s a good idea to have liquid tears handy to relieve irritation and dryness. You may want to keep lubricating eye drops on you for the next few months to help address dry eye should it occur.
Don’t Get Water in Your Eyes While Healing
While liquid tears are essential as a safe and sanitary way to address eye irritation, you will want to keep all other kinds of water out of the eyes for a few weeks. Water, even in chlorinated pools, can be a source of infection and other kinds of problems. Avoid direct water contact with your eyes in the shower for a week, and avoid swimming for two weeks. When returning to swimming, be sure to wear goggles until told otherwise.
Take All Medications as Directed by Your Surgeon
Medicated eye drops are often prescribed before you undergo LASIK. They can help prevent infection and improve the healing process. Be sure to take all medications as directed by your surgeon, and to Never exceed the recommended dosage.
Attend Follow-up Visits as Scheduled
After LASIK surgery, patients will have a few visits with their surgeon to monitor the recovery process and the final results of surgery. Attend all of these visits as scheduled, and do not skip any of them. If any issues arise between follow-up visits, be sure to get in touch with the practice as soon as possible.
Learn More About LASIK
For more information about laser eye surgery and how it can benefit you, be sure to contact an experience LASIK surgeon. During the consultation process, we can discuss all of the options that may be ideal for you and your needs. You can reach our office in Washington, DC at (202) 785-2435.