Are you considering the life-changing LASIK procedure in order to see clearly for the first time without the help of glasses or contacts? Are you also a smoker, and wondering if this will affect your LASIK outcome? Dr. Brian Will of Will Vision & Laser Centers explains the effect that smoking has on LASIK recovery, and how you can enjoy the best results possible from surgery.
Smoking and the Healing Process
Smoking affects the entire body adversely, including constricting blood vessels and depressing a person’s immune system — both of which impair the body’s ability to heal itself after LASIK and other surgeries. Not only does this delay the healing process after LASIK, it also increases a person’s risk of developing a serious eye infection during recovery. This is due to the corneal incision not being able to repair itself successfully after LASIK as a result of the tissue damage caused by smoking. To minimize these risks and ensure that eye health and LASIK results are not compromised, it is recommended that a person quits smoking at least three weeks before having LASIK and continue to abstain for at least two weeks after surgery.
Smoking and Dry Eye Problems
Smoking causes changes in tear protein, which causes many smokers to have problems with dry eyes, including stinging or burning eyes and eye redness. Since one common, though temporary, side effect of LASIK surgery is dry eyes, this condition is made worse for smokers, who already have problems with little or poor-quality tear production. And since your eyes will be more sensitive to smoke, wind and other irritants after LASIK, it is important to avoid first- and secondhand smoke during recovery.
Tips for a Healthy LASIK Recovery
- Quit smoking 3-8 weeks before having LASIK
- Wear sunglasses with full UV-protection when outside
- Use artificial tears to relieve dry eye symptoms
- Eat foods rich in omega-3s (salmon, soy beans, etc.) to assist with corneal healing and help with dry eyes
- Take baths instead of showers to avoid eye contact with water for the first week
- Do not apply lotions, creams or cosmetics to the eye area for the first week
Schedule Your LASIK Consultation
Do you have more questions about LASIK and LASIK recovery? Schedule your free LASIK consultation with Dr. Will by contacting Will Vision & Laser Centers at (877) 542-EYES (3937).