Post-Laser Eye Tips
More and more people are choosing to undertake laser eye surgery to permanently correct their vision. In this article we’re going to examine this type of surgery and the potential after-effects that patients may experience. We will also offer advice on protecting your eyes following surgery.
What is laser eye surgery?
Laser eye surgery is a form of surgery used to correct eyesight. Usually, the surgery will entail reshaping the transparent layer covering the front of the eye, known as the cornea, with an excimer laser. There are various techniques used to treat differing common sight defects – short-sightedness, long-sightedness and astigmatism.
- LASIK (Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis) is the most common procedure in the UK and can be used to correct long-sightedness and short-sightedness. Here, surgeons will cut a flap of tissue off the cornea and reshape the exposed surface before replacing the tissue. LASIK corrects vision to the desired effect in 96% of cases1.
- PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy) has been around longer than LASIK, but now only tends to be used for correcting low prescriptions. This method reshapes the cornea without cutting a flap of tissue.
- LASEK (Laser Epithelial Keratomileusis) follows a similar procedure to PRK, apart from the cornea’s surface layer is retained as a flap, which is believed to speed up healing and reduce the amount of possible complications.
Laser eye surgery has increased in popularity over recent years, but is not considered an essential procedure, so it isn’t usually available in the UK through the NHS. Generally, you will have to be at least 21 years of age to undergo laser eye surgery and be on a stable eyesight prescription for at least two years.
Your eyes after the surgery
Despite possibly not feeling that way, you may suffer from dry eyes in the months after surgery. In order to counter this, your doctor may provide you with lubricant eye drops to help keep them moist, along with eye drops which will help prevent infection and inflammation.
It is important to remember that you should not use any eye drops - or any other eye care product for that matter – that haven’t been approved by your doctor following laser eye surgery.
Immediately after surgery, there is a possibility that your vision will be blurry, while other symptoms may include irritable and itchy eyes, excessive watering, light sensitivity and bloodshot eyes. However, healing after eye surgery is generally a swift process and most patients experience improved vision just a few days after surgery.
You will usually be required to visit your doctor for an evaluation either 24 or 48 hours after surgery, depending on your doctor. Following this, you will be scheduled in for further evaluations at regular intervals over the next six months.
How to care for your eyes after surgery
There can be quite a few things to consider when it comes to protecting your eyes following laser eye surgery. Some are more obvious than others. Here we’ve compiled a few dos and don’ts to try to help you:
Wear the eye shield/goggles that you will receive following your operation whilst sleeping as advised after surgery.
Wear eye protection when exercising for the first month after surgery.
Make sure you wear sunglasses on sunny days, as bright sunshine may cause scarring.
Steer clear of dirty or dusty environments for the first week after surgery.
Rub your eyes for at least one month following surgery.
Drive until you feel comfortable doing so and have received approval from your doctor.
Wash your hair for at least a week after surgery, and avoid getting soap or products such as hair spray or shaving foam in your eyes.
Wear any eye makeup for at least a week, and discard any used makeup to avoid potential bacterial infection.
When caring for your eyes following surgery, it is important to consider a multitude of factors, including pollution, air conditioning and eye strain caused by artificial light. To find out more about the various products in the Optrex range, click this link. Remember, don't use anything following eye surgery without discussing it with your doctor, pharmacist or optician first.