When is the perfect time to get laser eye surgery?

07 January 2021

Author: Kate Green

perfect time for laser eye surgery

20/20 vision for 2021


You’re probably sick of the “new year, new you” comments that pop up all over the place every January, but what about “new year, new view”? Earlier this week, we wrote about how lots of patients are kicking off 2021 with laser eye surgery, so we thought we should follow this up with some points to help you know when vision correction treatment is the right option for you.


Do you have a stable prescription?


In order for you to qualify as a suitable candidate for laser eye surgery, you need to have had a stable prescription for at least a year. This is because, during laser treatment, we correct your vision precisely based on your current prescription. If your visual requirements were to change dramatically in the years after surgery, you may find that the degree of correction on your cornea no longer has the same affect with your new prescription.


Generally, your prescription becomes more stable once you are past the age of 18, which is why we only treat patients aged 18 and older. As a glasses or contact lens wearer, it’s likely that you are going to your opticians regularly for checkups. Ask them to verify whether your prescription has been stable for over a year, as this is usually a good indication of your suitability for laser eye surgery.


Alternatively, bring your past prescription details to your free consultation at Optimax, and we’ll be able to check your current vision against your prescriptions in previous years. If there has been no change, or just a slight degree of change, you could well be suitable for laser eye surgery.


Are you pregnant or breastfeeding?


When you’re pregnant, your hormone levels change significantly. This affects all parts of your body including your eyes. Pregnancy also brings changes to your metabolism, fluid levels and blood circulation, all of which can change your prescription. Often these changes are temporary, but sometimes they cause a permanent alteration to your prescription.


These fluctuations in your body also continue throughout breastfeeding and can take up to a year to settle back to stable levels. This is why we recommend waiting one year after giving birth or stopping breastfeeding (whichever is most recent) before coming in for a consultation. We want you to be happy with your laser eye surgery results so, the more stable your hormones and prescription are, the higher your chances of achieving perfect vision!


Do you play sports?


Depending on which type of sports you participate in regularly, you may be suitable for one type of laser eye surgery over another. We offer two types of laser eye surgery at Optimax – LASIK and LASEK. You can read about the differences between them in a previous Optimax blog post, to gain a better understanding of how each procedure varies, and which you might be most suitable for.


For both LASIK and LASEK, however, you should avoid any sports that might pose a risk to your healing cornea in the months after treatment. These sports-related risks could come in the form of a tennis ball hitting the eye, a rugby tackle, or even a change in water pressure when you’re diving.


Lots of athletes who have come to Optimax for treatment come during the off-season, allowing them to recover safely at home, without compromising either their eye health or affecting their participation in sport.


We advise avoiding rigorous exercise at the beginning of your recovery journey as any build-up of pressure in your eyes can prevent them from healing properly. We also recommend protecting your eyes from sweat by wearing a headband during sports activities for two weeks following surgery.


For the below sporting activities, recovery guidelines are the same for both LASIK and LASEK treatments:


Jogging - 1 week

Aerobic exercise - 1 week

Yoga/pilates - 1 week

Weight lifting - 2 weeks

Sauna/steam room - 1 month

Swimming - 1 month

Football, non-contact martial arts - 1 month

Skiing, tennis, squash, cricket - 3 months

Scuba diving >30ft - 3 months

For rugby and martial arts, we advise waiting 3 months following LASIK treatment and 6 weeks for LASEK treatment. This is because, during LASIK treatment, a corneal flap is created. Although it seals itself naturally once the laser procedure is over, it takes time to fully heal, even if your eye feels completely fine. With LASEK, no flap is created, so the epithelial cells in your eye regrow, eliminating the risk of the flap being dislodged by a hard impact to the eye.


These recommended timelines for particular sports may affect the point at which you choose to come in for laser eye surgery. We would still encourage you to visit us for a consultation at any point to assess your suitability for laser eye surgery, and we’ll be able to provide treatment at a later date based on your schedule.


How much time will you need off work?


Everyone’s recovery process is different. For LASIK procedures, however, most patients take just a couple of days off before heading back into work again. Of course, it does depend on your job role and daily responsibilities, but a quick return to work is true for most patients with sedentary jobs. To help accommodate this, lots of Optimax patients book in for treatment on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, so that they have the weekend to rest their eyes before returning to work on Monday.


We do advise that you avoid screens for the first couple of days after treatment, so as not to strain your eyes too much. Using the weekend to recover is particularly helpful with this, especially given that most jobs involve a screen these days! You might find that you need to take breaks from your computer more often than usual during the first few days and weeks, as well as lubricating your eyes with hydrating eye drops.


Depending on confirmation of driving standard vision at their checkup appointment either 1 day post-surgery (for LASIK) or 3-5 days post-surgery (for LASEK), most patients are back to driving within just a few days of treatment too. If your job involves driving, this is something to bear in mind, as you will need confirmation from your surgeon or optometrist before you drive again.


Will you take the next steps?


If you’d like to get in touch with us, you can send us a message on our social media platforms or by emailing enquiry@optimax.co.uk. You can also give us a quick call on 0800 093 1110 if you’d like to speak to an advisor on the phone, or you can book in for your free consultation online here. We’re more than happy to answer any questions you might have to see if now is the perfect time for you to come in for laser eye surgery.

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