Our patients love that they can get LASIK surgery without missing a lot of work. Most return to their jobs in 2-3 days, sometimes sooner. Returning to work happens quickly, but you may need to take a few special precautions to protect your eyes and increase your comfort, especially if your job requires the use of a computer. These guidelines will help you jump back into work and computer usage after refractive eye surgery.
How Do Computers Affect the Eyes?
Blinking is essential for eye health. Each time you blink, you clean the surface of the eye, removing debris and bathing the eye in fresh tears. These tears provide the eye with needed nutrients. Blinking helps the eye to avoid infection and keeps the eye healthy. A full blink is needed to ensure the tears are swept over the entire surface of the eye.
When you use a screen, including computers, tablets, smartphones, and e-readers, blinking patterns change. Blinking occurs less frequently and the quality of blinking lowers. Researchers have found that patients experience an increase in incomplete blinks when reading text from a computer screen. Fewer blinks and partial blinking can lead to dry eyes, eye fatigue, and a condition known as Computer Vision Syndrome. Right after LASIK, your eyes are healing and these computer related effects can lead to complications from your surgery. If you use screens, you need to be careful to protect your eyes after refractive surgery.
Tips for Safe Computer Use During LASIK Recovery
Avoiding screens entirely isn’t a possibility for most of our patients. Screens are an essential part of modern life, and we use them to work, play, learn, and communicate. The good news is, you won’t have to give up your screens to keep your eyes safe after LASIK. With a few simple guidelines and lifestyle changes, you can continue using screens safely throughout the LASIK recovery process.
- No Screens at All Right After Surgery- For the first day or two after surgery, ditch the screens entirely. Turn off the TV, ignore Facebook, and use this time to rest. Your eyes need time to heal, not tech.
- Limit Computer and Screen Use for the First Week- As you return to work and life, try to be mindful of your technology use. If you can skip the screen, do it. When you need to use a screen, try to limit or reduce your time. We realize that many of our patients use computers for 8 hours a day at work. This is fine if you’re taking the right precautions, but try to find times during the day when you’re not staring at a screen. Limit your technology use when you’re not at work to give your eyes time to rest.
- Blink Often- People have a tendency to blink less frequently when using the computer. Be mindful of this tendency and focus on blinking. Full, complete blinks are essential to restoring moisture and nutrients to the surface of the eye.
- Use Eye Drops- For frequent computer users, eye drops are a must. We’ll help you choose lubricating eye drops to keep your eyes properly moistened. Keep them with you, at your desk, and use as directed by Dr. Will.
- Try the 20-20-20 Rule- The 20-20-20 rule is good for all screen users, regardless of whether you’ve had recent LASIK surgery. Every 20 minutes look away from your screen for 20 seconds and focus on an object at least 20 feet away. A good, long blink at the end is also helpful.
- Don’t Skimp on Sleep- Make sure you’re getting plenty of shut eye after LASIK surgery. Sleep gives the eyes a rest and helps to restore moisture. Pack in early and sleep a little more, if you need it, right after LASIK surgery.
At Will Vision & Laser Centers, we understand that lives are busy and that our patients need to get back to computers quickly after LASIK surgery. We’ll help you create a plan, so you can safely use technology and enjoy the clear vision that LASIK provides. Call us to schedule your consultation with Dr. Will, a top refractive surgeon in the Pacific Northwest.