How Soon After LASIK Can I Resume Normal Activities?
Although individual LASIK surgeons may have different recommendations, here are common "wait times" recommended after LASIK for variety of activities:
Driving. You cannot drive yourself home after LASIK, and you should have someone drive you back to the laser center the following day for your first post-op exam. Your eye doctor or LASIK surgeon will check your vision at that visit and advise you whether you meet the legal vision requirement for driving without corrective lenses (20/40 or better in most states). If you do, you can resume driving that day.
Showering/bathing. It's safe to shower or bathe the day after surgery, but take care to avoid getting soap or water in your eyes for at least a week.
Returning to work. Generally, you can return to work within a day or two, provided you work in a clean environment. Use artificial tears frequently for at least a few weeks to reduce the risk of dry eyes after LASIK, especially if you spend significant time working in front of a computer screen.
Wearing eye makeup. It's best to wait about a week. Also, it's a good idea to discard your old mascara and buy a new supply (to avoid risk of using old mascara that is contaminated with bacteria that could cause an eye infection). That goes for eye shadow and eye liner, too.
Exercising. You can resume exercise within a few days. Don't allow sweat to run into your eyes, and avoid rubbing your eyes for at least two weeks.
Swimming/hot tubs. Wait at least two weeks after LASIK surgery.
Note that these are general guidelines only. Ask your eye doctor or LASIK surgeon for more specific information about when you can resume normal activities after LASIK during your LASIK consultation and/or during your one-day post-op visit.
About the Author: Vance Thompson, MD, FACS, is the director of refractive surgery at Vance Thompson Vision in Sioux Falls, S.D. He also is professor of ophthalmology at the Sanford USD School of Medicine, a leading researcher in technologies for laser and implant vision correction and a member of All About Vision's editorial advisory board.
Page updated May 2018