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Eye Care After LASIK: Frequently Asked Vacation Questions

September 20, 2015

If you can believe it, there are actually already fewer than 80 days until winter vacation. For a lot of people, that means escaping the winter blahs and jetting off to an exotic destination to enjoy some sun. Because it’s also a season for lots of time home from school and work, there are plenty of opportunities for finally getting that LASIK eye surgery you’ve been looking forward to!

When I ask people what they are most looking forward to doing post-procedure, I often receive an answer the revolves around a vacation: after LASIK, you’ll no longer having to worry about a safe place for your glasses at the ski lodge or beach; you’ll be able to able to open your eyes in the water. SCUBA diving, jet skiing, snowboarding… all are much easier without having to worry about eyeglasses or contact lenses, that’s for sure!

However, while a vacation is one of the most exciting times for a recent LASIK patient, there are many things you need to be aware of before you leave our office for the first time post-surgery. Here are the top  post LASIK surgery questions, regarding vacation, that I receive.

How long should I wait until swimming?

For a vacationer post-surgery, one of the things most looked forward to is taking a dip, whether in a cruise ship’s heated wave pool or going SCUBA diving in the Great Barrier Reef. After years of swimming with compromised vision or attempting to swim comfortably with contacts in, it can be extremely tempting to dive right in.

However, after you have your LASIK surgery, your eyes will be very vulnerable to infection so I advise avoiding swimming for at least a week post-surgery. After one week, it’s fine to start swimming in a pool, although I recommend wearing goggles while swimming underwater. The reason for this is because pools and hot tubs are chlorinated; too much underwater swimming can cause dry eyes. You may begin opening your eyes under water one month after your LASIK procedure.

I advise patients not to swim in a lake, river or ocean for at least two weeks after the procedure. This is because these bodies of natural water are full of bacteria and microscopic organisms which can easily get into your eyes and cause infections.

How long until I can participate in water sports?

The key to jumping back into serious water activities is proper eye protection. You can resume moderate water activities such as snorkeling, sailing, water surfing, and kayaking two weeks after your LASIK procedure as long as you wear goggles or other appropriate eye protection. I recommend waiting at least three weeks post-surgery to resume serious, high-impact water activities such as water skiing, wind surfing, wakeboarding and surfing.

After one month, you can resume all water activities without eye protection.

Will my eyes be okay while tanning?

I understand the wish to come back from winter vacation with a nice rosy glow! Still, I can’t fully endorse tanning after LASIK surgery—while it’s always important to always wear sunglasses with UV protection, your eyes are especially vulnerable after this procedure.

It’s vital that you shield your eyes from UV rays for at least six weeks, or even a few months after your procedure. This is because UV rays can reverse the effects of LASIK and cause hazy vision and retinal damage. Be sure to purchase a good pair of UV protection sunglasses to wear before and after your surgery.

As long as you follow these proper steps after your LASIK surgery, you will be able to enjoy your vacation completely free of blurriness and corrective lenses!

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