How Long Do I Have to Wear Sunglasses after LASIK?
LASIK surgery reshapes the surface of the cornea to eliminate imperfections that are responsible for refractive errors, such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. LASIK has a proven reputation for being safe and effective, but like all surgeries, it results in side effects, including increased light sensitivity.
Patients are advised to wear sunglasses after LASIK to protect the eyes from UV rays and light sensitivity, and to prevent rubbing and scratching. Here, optometrists from GW Eye Associates, which serves La Jolla, Carmel Valley, and San Diego, CA, discuss how long sunglasses should be worn after LASIK to reduce the risk of injury or surgical complications during the recovery process.
Why Are Sunglasses Necessary after LASIK?
During LASIK surgery a semi-circular incision is made on the top layer of the cornea. This incision creates a flap that is lifted to grant access to underlying corneal tissues, where corrections need to be made. When necessary adjustments are complete, the flap is lowered and tissues are left to heal. While tissues heal it is essential that they are not exposed to bright lights. To protect the eyes from light, dark sunglasses must be worn.
Sunglasses also are important following LASIK because they help to block out allergens, dust, smoke, and other irritants that could get into the eyes and disrupt the recovery process. Finally, sunglasses create a barrier that serves as a reminder not to rub or scratch the eyes while they heal from surgery. The eyes are likely to feel dry and itchy following LASIK, but any rubbing or scratching could disrupt the healing process and lead to flap complications.
Wearing Sunglasses during Your Initial LASIK Recovery
Patients will be provided with a pair of dark sunglasses or protective shields upon completion of their LASIK procedure. These sunglasses should be worn the rest of the day following treatment. After that, sunglasses should be worn while patients are outdoors or around bright sources of light, for at least the first week of LASIK recovery. Patients can switch to their own pair of sunglasses, provided they fully cover the eyes and provide complete UV protection. As light sensitivity resolves, sunglasses no longer need to be worn indoors, but they should continue to be worn outside, at least until the eyes have completely healed.
Once the eyes have fully healed from LASIK surgery, individuals are not required to wear sunglasses. However, our doctors strongly recommend that sunglasses are worn any time a person is outside, even if it seems to be a cloudy day. Harsh UV rays have the potential to damage eye tissues. Continual exposure to UV rays has been shown to increase the risk of various eye diseases, including cataracts and macular degeneration. Sunglasses make it easier to see outdoors, protect the eyes from sensitivity, and block out damaging UV rays.
Contact Our Eye Care Clinic
If you are considering LASIK surgery for long-term vision correction, optometrists at GW Eye Associates would be happy to provide you with more information about the procedure and its recovery process. To schedule an appointment at our eye care clinic, send us a message online, or call (858) 454-4699.