Should You Take Time Off of Work for LASIK?

October 15th, 2018
senior man recovering lasik surgery

LASIK recovery times differ patient by patient, so talk to your doctor to determine when it’s safe for you to get back to work.

LASIK surgery is a godsend for a number of reasons: it’s safe, relatively inexpensive, and has given countless people crystal-clear vision, not to mention that it only causes minimal disruption in the patient’s life. It’s performed in the welcoming comfort of your own doctor’s office and only takes about 10 or 15 minutes.

The recovery time is short as well. Because LASIK surgeons ensure that the procedure is as minimally invasive as possible, patients often find that they feel ready to return to work the very next day. In fact, most LASIK patients report feeling back to 100 percent within 24 hours of the procedure. Still, it’s a good idea to remain cautious in the days following a LASIK procedure.

Recovery is a Process

Although LASIK isn’t particularly invasive, the procedure requires an incision in the patient’s cornea. The incision is tiny, but it requires a few days to heal properly. During that time, the eyes are still adjusting to their new shape, and some blurred vision is to be expected.

For that reason, it’s often a good idea to take it easy and avoid overexertion in the days following the procedure, even if you feel well enough to resume work. If your job requires manual labor, it’s likely your doctor will ask you to take a few extra days off to ensure that you get the best results.

That also goes if your work requires a lot of time in front of a computer. Computer screens, as well as televisions, cellular phones and tablets, are a particular danger after LASIK because they can cause eye dryness, strain and irritation, all of which are detrimental to the healing process. So even if you do go back to work right away, it’s important that you’re mindful about your screen time and take frequent breaks in your first few days after the procedure.

Keeping Your Eyes Safe

Not everyone who undergoes LASIK surgery will recover at the same rate. That’s partly because some LASIK procedures will require more extensive incisions, and therefore longer recovery periods, than others. Additionally, some people naturally progress through the healing process more or less quickly than others. Generally speaking, healing rates are linked to the patient’s age, but no one can tell ahead of time how much healing time will be necessary.

Whether or not you choose to go back to work right away, it’s vital that you take steps to keep your eyes healthy. During the healing process, the incision is at elevated risk of infection; if that occurs, it can set back the healing process by days or weeks, or even cause the patient to require a follow-up operation.

Still, post-LASIK infection is relatively rare, and its likelihood can be even further decreased by avoiding swimming pools and jacuzzis for a few weeks after the operation. Wearing eye protection in dusty or smoky environments can stop an infection before it starts. After your LASIK procedure, talk to your doctor about your risk factors — he or she will be able to address your more specific concerns in detail.

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