The first few days after laser eye surgery or while you’re wearing contact lenses can be confusing. You may have questions about how to take care of your eyes, how long you should wait before returning to sports or swimming, and when it’s safe for your child to wear contacts. The answers depend on a number of factors, including the type and extent of surgery performed, age, and general health. In most cases, however, there are no restrictions during recovery following LASIK or PRK procedures; however, there are some practical things you can do to protect your eyes:
Your corneas are weakened after the surgery
The cornea is the clear front part of your eye. It’s made up of water, proteins, and minerals that help focus light onto your retina so you can see clearly.
When you have laser eye surgery, your corneas are weakened with a laser. This allows them to reshape themselves into new curves. The lasers also remove small pieces of tissue from inside your eyes (like tiny bubbles under the surface).
If these procedures don’t go well–if too much tissue is removed or if something happens during healing–you could end up with scarring on both sides of your iris (the colored part), which would make it difficult for light to enter into it properly.
Wear the softest lenses with oxygen permeability of at least 30
If you wear contacts at all, they should be the softest available and should have an oxygen permeability of at least 30.00. You can buy some good quality contact lenses from this supplier in Australia. These will help prevent corneal swelling and reduce the risk of infection.
There are also other things you can do to take care of your eyes while wearing contact lenses:
- Clean your lenses as directed by your eye doctor or optometrist. Be sure to follow their instructions exactly–they know what’s best for you.
- Use only sterile saline solution or preservative-free solutions when cleaning them (not tap water). Tap water can contain bacteria that could cause infections in your eyes if it gets into them while cleaning the contacts, so try not to use it at all if possible.
Do not wear contact lenses until after your first follow-up visit
If you are wearing contact lenses, it is important to be aware that contact lenses may not be suitable for your type of surgery. In addition, they can cause infection or other complications if worn too soon after eye surgery. Therefore, we recommend that patients wait until after their first follow-up visit before returning to their normal routine of wearing contacts.
If you are concerned about being able to see well enough without glasses during this time period (the first few weeks), our staff can help determine what options would work best for your individual situation by speaking with our optometrists and ophthalmologists about whether prescription eyeglasses would be more appropriate than contact lenses during this time frame following laser vision correction surgery or cataract removal surgery (where there might be some swelling).
Follow your surgeon’s instructions for postoperative care
Make sure you are aware of your eye surgeon’s postoperative care instructions and follow them carefully. Brisbane-based laser eye surgery specialists Eastside Eye strongly suggests that if you don’t understand something, ask your doctor to explain it or get more information from another source such as a medical book but do not assume anything by yourself. This can damage your eyesight permanently.
The ophthalmologist will explain how to administer eye drops and when you should return for a follow-up visit. It is important that you listen carefully so there are no misunderstandings.
Know the symptoms of complications
If you experience any of the following symptoms, contact your doctor:
- Redness of the eye that bothers you or lasts longer than a few days
- Itching around the area where your eyelid meets your nose (this can also be a sign of infection)
- Pain in or around an eye
- Blurred vision that doesn’t go away with time and isn’t caused by glasses/contacts not being worn properly. It’s important to note that this may be normal right after surgery when everything is healing; if it continues after several weeks have passed since then, tell your doctor immediately.
Your doctor may prescribe antibiotic eye drops
Antibiotic eye drops help to reduce the risk of infection by killing bacteria and preventing them from getting into your eyes. They’re not a substitute for proper hygiene, but they can help reduce the chance of developing an infection after laser vision correction procedures.
You should follow your doctor’s instructions regarding how often you should apply these medications and for how long afterward (if at all). For example, some patients only need one dose after their procedure while others might require multiple doses throughout recovery time frames such as one week before returning home from surgery; two weeks post-op; four weeks post-op; six months post-op…you get the idea!
If your contact lenses are uncomfortable, try something else
If you have trouble with your contacts, see your eye doctor. You may want to try a different brand or type of contact lens. Or maybe a different solution will help. If the problem is that you just can’t get used to wearing contacts, talk with your doctor about other options like LASIK surgery (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis) or glasses.
You should be careful about swimming and contact sports
It is possible to swim, but keep your eyes closed when water gets in them. If this happens, remove your contact lenses and rinse the eye with saline solution (do not put them back on until checked by the doctor). Contact sports should be avoided for at least 6 months after LASIK surgery or while wearing contact lenses.
People considering eye surgery should be aware of the risks and benefits before making their decision. Being well-informed about laser eye surgery will help you take good care of your eyes if you wear contacts.