Your eyes may feel especially delicate after LASIK, and rightfully so, they’ve been through a lot! After surgery, you’ll have several guidelines to follow to ensure a smooth and speedy recovery. One of the things you may be eager to do with your new eyes is to jump in the pool! No more fumbling with glasses or worrying about your contacts as you splash around. While it may be tempting to go swimming after LASIK, there are several things to consider before taking the plunge.
After LASIK, your eyes can be vulnerable. Even though your vision may improve quite rapidly and your eyes might feel back to normal, there are still precautions that need to be followed in the post-operative time period.
One thing on the top of surgeons’ minds after surgery is preventing infection. Although you’ll be on antibiotics for a few days after LASIK, they don’t prevent all infections, and you’re not on them for long. There are many sources of microbes around us, and water is one of these. Whether it’s a chlorinated swimming pool, a lake, or the ocean, the risk of infection is there.
How Soon After LASIK Can I Swim?
How soon you can go swimming after LASIK depends on a couple of variables: where you’ll be swimming and whether you’ll be wearing goggles.
The swimming pool may be the first place you’ll want to take a dip. About two to four weeks after surgery, this will generally be ok. However, you’ll want to make sure you’re wearing goggles to protect your eyes from irritants and microbes in the water. This will vary for each patient, be sure to talk to your surgeon.
You’ll want to wait a bit longer to swim in natural bodies of water, like lakes, rivers, or the ocean. After three weeks, you can take the plunge, but you’ll still need goggles.
About 4-5 weeks after LASIK, you should be able to swim without goggles, either in the pool or in a natural body of water. By then, the eyes should be sufficiently healed to make this safe, though you may still choose to wear goggles to protect the eyes from microbes and irritants, such as chlorine and salt. Keep in mind, that this can vary for each patient and it's always best to talk to your surgeon or their staff.
Hot Tubs and Sauna
Hot tubs and saunas tend to carry more microbes; the warmth makes a favorable breeding ground for bacteria and other microorganisms and may require a longer time before using them. It’s recommended to speak to your surgeon prior to using a hot tub.
Shower After LASIK
With all this concern over swimming, you may fear that you won’t be able to shower after LASIK. Not to worry, showering is not of concern; you can resume normal hygiene the day after LASIK surgery. Be cautious not to get any shampoo or soap in the eyes, as this can be irritating. When drying off, pat the eyes gently rather than rubbing.
Sun Protection While Swimming
Anytime you’re outside, including at the pool, you’ll need to protect your eyes from UV light. You should be wearing sunglasses for at least six weeks post-surgically, but really, it’s best to make this a lifelong habit. Goggles generally provide UV protection as well.
If you’re looking for a leading laser vision correction center, search no further than the Kraff Eye Institute. Dr. Coleman Kraff serves the entire Chicago metro area, including the western suburbs. Are you ready to take the plunge? Call for your free consultation today.