LASIK eye surgery is one of the most popular laser vision correction procedures available today. It promises people clearer, better sight with fewer side effects than other types of more invasive vision procedures.
However, there's a vital post-operative step you must pay attention to when getting this surgery: using eye shields for sleeping.
What are Eye Shields After LASIK Surgery For?
You typically wear eye shields, or LASIK goggles, for some time after undergoing a LASIK procedure. These eye protection goggles help protect delicate corneal tissue from external forces or abrasions.1
Following the operation, you may experience a sensation of itchiness or burning in your eyes for a few hours. During this time, eye shields help block out any light and irritation that could hinder proper healing.2
While your eyes recover, the eye shields lessen the chance of accidentally rubbing your eyes while asleep. Eye shields also prevent dirt, debris, and dust from entering your eyes while you sleep.3
How Long Should You Use Eye Shields After LASIK Surgery?
Typically, your doctor will instruct you to wear the shield for 5 days to about 1 week after the procedure.2 If you share a bed with someone, you should wear it for ten days. Depending on your healing time and the doctor's advice, it may be longer or shorter.
Does Everyone Need to Wear Eye Shields for the Same Duration?
Not necessarily. Healing times vary from person to person, so the duration of eye shield use may differ. Some people may need to wear them longer or shorter than others.
It's important to follow your doctor's instructions for post-operative care, including the duration of eye shield use. Follow these safety guidelines to avoid further complications that could delay your recovery.
When in doubt, it's best to consult your doctors and ask questions about wearing eye shields before sleeping after LASIK. Your doctor can guide you in making the best decision for your healing.
How to Properly Use Eye Shields After LASIK Surgery
Follow these steps to ensure the optimal use of eye shields after LASIK surgery:4,5
- Gather your supplies. Ensure you get the eye shield, paper tape (6 to 8 inches long per piece), and a mirror in a properly lit room with a comfortable place to sit.
- Wash your hands and face. Using soap, wash your face and hands. Rinse with water afterward. Then, pat yourself dry with a clean towel.
- Prepare the eye shield. Clean it with a damp, lint-free cloth. Wipe the back of the shield as well. Check for any foreign particles, then place the eye shield on your face, with the curved side resting against the bridge of your nose.
- Place paper tape on top of the eye shield. The tape should run from the middle of your forehead to the side of your face, just next to your ear. You can apply a second tape on the other side below your eye if needed.
- Check for fit and firmness. Look in the mirror to make sure the eye shield is positioned correctly. It should fit snugly against your face without coming loose, and there should be no gaps where light or air can enter.
Additional Care Recommendations Post-LASIK Surgery
Being apprehensive about using an eye shield after LASIK surgery is normal. After all, having a foreign object taped on your face can be uncomfortable. However, this is a necessary part of the healing process.
Here are some additional tips to aid in a successful recovery from LASIK:6
- Take your post-operative medications and eye drops as your doctor prescribed
- Avoid strenuous sports, swimming, or any contact sports
- Refrain from rubbing your eyes for two to four weeks
- Use antibiotic and steroid eye drops for at least two to three weeks
- Avoid contact lenses and eye makeup for at least one week
Common Questions on Eye Shields After LASIK Surgery
Why Do I Need LASIK Goggles?
Using LASIK goggles is vital to ensure your corneal tissue heals properly. They protect the area around your eyes from accidental rubbing and keep out dust, dirt, and other debris.
Are Lasik Goggles Comfortable?
Eye shields are generally lightweight and breathable. While others may find them uncomfortable, many people report being able to get used to wearing eye shields.
If it's still uncomfortable to wear, place a cushioning material, such as cotton, between the shield and your face.
How Long Should I Wear LASIK Goggles?
For 5 to 7 days post-op. Depending on your condition, your doctors may consult you to wear them for a shorter or longer period.
Will Wearing LASIK Goggles Prevent Me From My Daily Routines?
The eye shields shouldn't interfere with daily activities such as showering and eating. You only have to wear them at night, so you can go about your daily routine within the day without them.
Eye shields are an essential part of the recovery process for LASIK surgery. Most people must wear them for 5 to 7 days to protect their eyes from irritation, dust, dirt, and other risks of irritation.
Every person's recovery time and needs are unique, so consult your healthcare provider for personalized advice and instructions on proper eye care after surgery. Following these post-op guidelines can help ensure a successful recovery.
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