Protecting your vision against harmful UV rays is important to lower the risk for sun- related eye disease, and is especially important for those who’ve recently undergone LASIK surgery. For people who have had LASIK surgery, it’s especially critical to avoid UV exposure, as the procedure temporarily leaves your eyes more susceptible to damage from the sun’s harmful rays while tissue heals. If you’re considering LASIK to correct your vision, here’s how to keep your eyes protected against UV damage afterwards.

Why Are Your Eyes More Sensitive to Light After LASIK?

During LASIK, your surgeon creates a thin flap in your cornea using a laser device. Then, they remove a small amount of tissue and reshape the surface of your eye. This procedure is safe, quick, and effective for improving vision.

LASIK technology has advanced over the years, and according to a 2017 analysis, the newest lasers have significantly reduced unwanted side effects. LASIK surgery requires a healing period during which the eye is more sensitive to light. Protecting your eyes from bright light (such as UV rays) is important for encouraging proper healing, and it will also help to keep your eyes comfortable during recovery.

How to Protect Your Eyes from UV Rays After LASIK Surgery

During the first 24 hours after LASIK it’s best to rest your eyes. Taking a nap immediately after surgery is a great decision, as it helps your incision sites heal. During the first day after surgery you may be sensitive even to artificial light, so try to avoid or minimize screen time. Keep the shades drawn in your house, and stay indoors to avoid UV exposure altogether.

Most patients find that sensitivity usually improves significantly within the first few days after LASIK. Until then, limit your time outside as much as possible. Avoid being out during the midday hours, when UV rays are the strongest. When you do have to go outside, wearing sunglasses is the simplest and most effective way to protect your eyes after LASIK.

Are Regular Sunglasses Enough After LASIK?

Drugstore sunglasses may be convenient, but they’re not always strong enough to block out all UV light. For the greatest level of protection from UV light, choose sunglasses that block at least 99 percent of UV light or have UV absorption of up to 400 nm. It’s important to safeguard your eyes during a vulnerable healing period.

“Sometimes, eye doctors will provide a special pair of disposable protective sunglasses after LASIK surgery,” says Dr. Evan Loft. “It’s still a good idea to be prepared with a pair of UV-blocking sunglasses that fit right so you’ll have one less thing to worry about while you’re healing.” Sunglasses with polarized lenses may be most comfortable for you during recovery, since they can reduce glares.

If you’re considering LASIK surgery, looking for eyewear to protect against UV rays, or both, turn to Eye Consultants of Atlanta for all of your vision care needs. We have a large selection of UV-blocking and polarized sunglasses available, and our eye specialists can recommend the best services to help you see clearly. To schedule an appointment, complete a request form online or call our office at 404-351-2020.