New technology and advanced techniques have significantly reduced the risk of infection following refractive surgery. Studies have shown that cataract surgery only leads to infection in about 0.1 percent of cases, while LASIK surgery complications affect less than 1.2 percent of patients. In spite of low complication rates, it is important to take every preventive measure and to know the symptoms that indicate an infection. Without prompt medical attention, an eye infection can result in many serious side effects, including permanent vision loss. Choosing an experienced surgeon and following your post-op instructions are the best means of infection control.
It is important to contact your doctor right away if you are experiencing:
Without the appropriate intervention from your doctor, these symptoms can quickly worsen.
Following surgery, your doctor will provide detailed post-operative instructions to minimize your risk of infection. Infection is most commonly spread through person-to-person contact or through contact with contaminated objects. In order to prevent infection, you must:
Touching your eyes can introduce harmful bacteria to the treatment area and increase your risk of infection.
Sheets, pillows, and towels are the perfect breeding grounds for harmful bacteria. Following your procedure, keep your bedding and personal items clean.
Your doctor will determine when it is appropriate to start using contact lenses again after your procedure. Once it is safe to do so, be sure to wash your hands before inserting your lenses, remove them nightly, and do not wear them longer than prescribed.
Following your procedure, your doctor will likely prescribe antibiotic eyedrops or oral medication to prevent infection. Be sure to take these as prescribed.
Contaminated water in the ocean, pools, or hot tubs can introduce harmful bacteria to your eyes. For most patients, swimming should be avoided for at least two weeks after surgery.
Eyeshadow and mascara can introduce debris to your eyes. It is important to avoid wearing makeup before and immediately after surgery.
Because delaying treatment for an eye infection can eventually result in permanent vision loss, it is important to schedule a consultation as soon as you notice symptoms. Your doctor can assess your condition and prescribe the appropriate treatment to help you experience a successful outcome.