Driving After LASIK Surgery: What Patients Should Know

By Gordon Wong, OD on January 28, 2017

Driving at night in a tunnelLASIK surgery can change your life, reducing your dependence on corrective lenses and bringing the world and what matters into focus. Our team of La Jolla eye care specialists have been helping patients decide whether or not LASIK is right for them for many years. We offer honest advice built on our years of vision experience.

While LASIK patients return to work very soon after surgery, they may need to avoid certain activities while they heal to prevent complications and avoid dangers. With that in mind, let's consider whether or not it's safe to drive soon after LASIK surgery.

What to Expect Immediately After LASIK Surgery

Immediately after you have undergone LASIK surgery, it's not uncommon to experience some blurriness of vision. This can last for a few hours. Light sensitivity is also a common issue that affects people after LASIK, which is a common response to undergoing eye surgery.

Apart from vision issues, patients may also experience some problems with grogginess and drowsiness. Mild sedation is often part of the LASIK procedure, which leads to these temporary side effects following surgery.

Can I Drive Home After LASIK Surgery?

No.

Since your vision will be impaired for a few hours and you may still feel the effects of sedation, it's a bad idea for you to drive home after undergoing LASIK surgery. Instead, it's important that patients have a family member or loved one present to drive them home or help them home after surgery. Once home, patients should avoid reading, watching TV, using the computer, and other tasks that could potentially lead to eyestrain.

Can I Drive to or From My First Follow-Up Visit?

You should not drive to your first follow-up visit. Your vision still may be less than optimal 24 hours after surgery. Have a loved one or family member drive you or help you get to the office instead.

During your follow-up visit, your LASIK surgeon can determine if you are well enough to drive during the day on your own. Some patients will be allowed to drive home from their follow-up visit. Other patients may be instructed to wait another day or a few days before getting behind the wheel.

Issues with Night Vision

After LASIK, many patients experience problems with night vision. It can be difficult, for instance, to notice shapes or objects in the dark, particularly when there are bright lights nearby (e.g., headlights, streetlights). Driving at night can be very dangerous given the increased risk of collisions.

For the first few days to the first week or so, it's ideal to consider getting rides from family, friends, and co-workers. Public transportation or the use of cabs is also an option to consider just to keep you and others on the road safe. In time, your night vision should improve, and you'll be able to drive at night just fine.

Be Cautious and Follow Post-Op Instructions Closely

The above offer some basic guidelines about taking things slow as you recover. Ultimately it's important that you follow your surgeon's instructions closely as they will be able to provide you with close guidance when it comes to safely returning to certain activities.

Learn More About LASIK Surgery

For more information about LASIK surgery and how it can help you achieve better vision and an improved lifestyle overall, be sure to contact our team of experienced eye care specialists today. The team at our practice looks forward to your visit and discussing these matters in greater detail.

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