Proper Eye Care After LASIK to Reduce the Risk of Infection
Myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism occur when the light that enters your eye refracts onto the retina incorrectly, producing a blurred image. The reason this happens is that the cornea, the clear covering of the front of the eye, is a slightly abnormal shape and not perfectly round. These are known as refractive eye conditions, and they are the most common reasons people rely on prescriptive eyewear.
While eyeglasses and contact lenses can provide temporary relief for patients with poor eyesight, LASIK surgery is another popular treatment that provides patients with a long-term solution to their eye disorders.
What is LASIK, and how does it work?
LASIK, or laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis, is a procedure that permanently changes the shape of the cornea, so that light is refracted correctly, and vision is improved.
As its name suggests, LASIK is performed using cutting edge laser technology. During LASIK, a thin flap is cut in the outer part of the cornea, so that the corneal tissue underneath can be reshaped using laser technology. Once complete, the flap is place back over the eye and left to heal naturally.
The actual LASIK procedure usually takes less than ten minutes per eye, depending on your prescription and the amount of correction needed. During the treatment, the laser itself is often used for less than a minute. However, you should still allow a couple of hours for your appointment, which will include time to prepare before your surgery, along with receiving proper aftercare advice. Following our advice after your treatment will help ensure that you get the best possible outcome from your laser eye surgery.
The importance of proper eye care after LASIK
While LASIK is considered incredibly safe, failing to follow aftercare instructions can lead to negative effects. One rare but sight-threatening complication as a result of improper eye care after LASIK is infection.
In most cases, if an infection develops it tends to do so within 10 days of the surgery taking place. However, it is possible for an infection to occur later in the recovery period and beyond, even as far as 8 weeks post-LASIK.
Symptoms of a post-LASIK infection
- Excessive tearing of the eyes
- Extreme sensitivity to light
- Hazy vision
- Pain in the eyes
- Redness or eye irritation that does not dissipate as the eyes recover
You may also experience a decrease in your vision even when wearing eye glasses.
How to reduce the risk of a post-LASIK infection
The best way to minimize your risk of developing a post-LASIK infection is to follow the post-treatment instructions given to you by our eye surgeon. Some of these will include:
- Using the prescribed antibiotics and steroidal eye drops provided. These reduce the risk of infection and reduce inflammation after surgery. Make sure you apply them as directed by using them the appropriate number of times each day, and the suggested number of days they should be used.
- Wear the goggles provided. LASIK goggles are provided to protect the eyes during the critical healing period directly after surgery. Wearing them while you sleep will prevent you from unconsciously touching your eyes.
- Avoid touching your eyes. This includes poking them and rubbing them. Your hands pick up all sorts of microscopic dirt and bacteria during the day, and if you touch your eyes, you can contaminate them. If they feel itchy or scratchy, you can use artificial tears to lubricate them.
- Along with avoiding physical contact with the eyes you should avoid environments that are particularly dusty or smoky, as this can irritate your eyes which are particularly sensitive after LASIK.
If you have any questions about the best way to care for your eyes after your LASIK procedure, we recommend that you ask these at your initial consultation or before the surgery itself. However, if further queries arise during the healing process, our expert team will be on hand to assist you.