Tips to Reduce the Risk of Infection after LASIK Surgery

March 7, 2020 — by Thomas Byrd, MD
Tags: Lasik

Applying eye dropsLASIK is a vision-correcting surgery that alters the shape of the cornea to address imperfections that cause nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism. LASIK is a highly successful procedure that can dramatically reduce or eliminate the need for prescription lenses.

While the results of LASIK are overwhelmingly positive, Dr. Thomas Byrd wants his Detroit, MI, patients to understand that it is not a risk-free procedure. A small percentage of LASIK patients experience complications, the most common of which is infection. Fortunately, by following recommended tips to reduce the risk of infection after LASIK surgery, our patients can promote healing and minimize the already low risk of post-surgical complications.

Protect the Eyes after Surgery

The eyes will be sensitive as they heal from LASIK surgery, and it is important that patients give them time to heal without disruption. Immediately following LASIK surgery, we provide patients with protective eye shields, or goggles. The goggles block out smoke, dust, and other potentially dangerous irritants. In addition, the goggles prevent patients from poking, scratching, or rubbing the eyes. We urge patients to wear goggles the first day and night following LASIK, and then while sleeping for at least the first week of LASIK recovery.

Use Medication as Prescribed

Dr. Byrd will provide our Detroit patients with eye drops to be used after LASIK surgery. Antibiotic eye drops and lubricating eye drops should be used as directed. The antibiotic eye drop helps prevent infection, while the lubricating eye drops keep the eyes moist to ease irritation and minimize the risk of dry eye.

Avoid Rubbing or Scratching the Eyes

It is common for the eyes to feel dry and itchy in the days after LASIK surgery. While it may be tempting to rub or scratch the eyes, it is important not to touch them while they are healing. Rubbing at the eyes can disrupt the corneal flap and increase the risk of infection. The provided eye shield and lubricating eye drops can both be helpful in avoiding scratches to the eyes.

Skip Eye Makeup

Any irritants or foreign substances that get into the eyes after LASIK increase the risk of infection. It is safest for patients to refrain from using eye makeup or any other facial products around the eyes for at least one week after surgery.

Stay Away from Pools and Natural Bodies of Water

Swimming should be avoided in the weeks following LASIK surgery. Pools and hot tubs contain chlorine and other chemicals that can dry or irritate the eyes, which make it more likely that patients will rub them and disrupt the healing process, possibly leading to infection. We recommend our Detroit patients stay out of pools for at least two weeks after LASIK. Fresh bodies of water, such as lakes, pose even more of a risk, because they are more likely to contain infection-causing bacteria. LASIK patients should refrain from swimming in fresh bodies of water for at least four weeks after surgery.

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LASIK has been proven to be one of the most successful refractive surgeries, and one of the most effective ways to permanently correct refractive errors. If you’d like to find out if you may be an ideal candidate for LASIK, send us a message at your earliest convenience, or call (313) 383-1300 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Thomas Byrd.

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