Accidentally Got Water In Eye After Lasik?

LASIK surgery promises a life free from the daily frustrations of glasses and contact lenses. It’s a beacon of hope for many struggling with vision issues, offering a fast track to improved sight. However, the road to recovery post-LASIK can be daunting, filled with a plethora of do’s and don’ts to ensure optimal healing. 

Accidentally getting water in your eye after LASIK is a common concern many patients face, which can incite panic and a barrage of questions. 

This blog aims to shed light on what steps you should take if you find yourself in this situation and how to minimize any potential harm to your healing eyes.


The Risks of Water Contact After LASIK

Immediately following LASIK surgery, your eyes become more susceptible to infections and irritations. This vulnerability is due to the corneal flap created during the procedure, which needs time to heal properly. 

Introducing water into the eyes too soon after surgery, especially from non-sterile sources like taps, swimming pools, hot tubs, and even showers, can increase the risk of infection and potentially impact the healing process.

Water can contain bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms that can cause serious eye infections, such as microbial keratitis. 

It’s also worth noting that the chemicals in pool water and the natural contaminants in open water bodies can irritate and harm the eyes, leading to discomfort and other complications.


What to Do If Water Enters Your Eyes After LASIK

Don’t Panic

First and foremost, it’s vital not to panic. Accidental exposure to water does not automatically mean you will experience complications, but it is important to act swiftly and prudently.

Avoid Rubbing Your Eyes

The instinct to rub your eyes when something enters them — water in this case — can be strong. However, after LASIK surgery, it’s vital to avoid rubbing your eyes. 

Rubbing can displace the corneal flap created during surgery before it has adequately healed, leading to complications. If you’ve accidentally gotten water in your eye, resist the urge to rub.

Blink Gently

Blinking is your eye’s natural way of cleansing itself. Gentle blinking can help to remove or dilute any contaminants that have entered the eye with the water.

Remember, the keyword here is ‘gentle.’ Vigorous blinking might irritate your eyes further.

Rinse with Preservative-Free Tears

If you’re feeling discomfort or if your eye feels irritated after coming into contact with water, using preservative-free artificial tears can help. These can aid in flushing out any contaminants and provide relief.

Make sure the tears you use are preservative-free to avoid any potential irritation.

Contact Your LASIK Surgeon

After taking the initial steps to mitigate the situation, your next move should be to inform your LASIK surgeon or the eye care team about the mishap. They can provide personalized advice based on your specific case and might request you come in for an examination to ensure everything is healing as expected. 

Don’t wait for your scheduled follow-up appointment to communicate this incident with your healthcare provider.

Monitor for Symptoms

In the days following the incident, be vigilant for signs that could indicate a problem, such as increased redness, a sensation of something in your eye (foreign body sensation), unusual discharge, or a marked decline in vision. 

If you observe any of these symptoms, seek immediate medical attention.


Preventing Future Accidents

Prevention is key when it comes to protecting your eyes post-LASIK. Here are tips to safeguard your eyes against unwanted water contact:

  • Protective Eyewear: Invest in high-quality protective goggles for showering, swimming, or engaging in activities where water exposure is possible. Make sure they fit snugly to prevent water from seeping in.
  • Be Mindful of Showering Technique: When showering, keep your eyes closed and direct the water flow from your forehead downwards, avoiding direct contact with your face.
  • Delay Swimming and Hot Tubs: Follow your surgeon’s advice regarding how long you should wait before going swimming or using a hot tub. These environments significantly increase the risk of exposing your eyes to harmful bacteria.
  • Use a Clean Towel: Always pat your face dry with a clean towel after exposure to water, being careful around your eyes. A fresh towel minimises the risk of transferring bacteria or other irritants to the area.


Why It Matters

Taking care of your eyes post-LASIK surgery isn’t just about ensuring proper healing—it’s also about safeguarding the investment you’ve made in your vision. 

Infections or complications can lead not only to discomfort but potentially to additional procedures or, in extreme cases, a reversal of the benefits gained from LASIK.


When to See a Doctor

Promptly contact your doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms after getting water in your eye:

  • Increased redness
  • Vision changes (blurry vision, seeing halos around lights, etc.)
  • Unusual discharge
  • Persistent pain or discomfort
  • Signs of infection (swelling, pus, extreme sensitivity to light)

The sooner these signs are addressed, the better your chances of avoiding more severe complications.


The Bottom Line

Accidentally getting water in your eye after LASIK is a concern that many share. While prevention is key, knowing how to respond if it happens can ensure your eyes remain healthy and your vision recovery stays on track. 

Remember, when in doubt, always consult your LASIK surgeon or eye care professional. Their guidance is your best resource for a safe and efficient recovery, ensuring that your investment in better vision pays off in the long run.

Your eyes are your windows to the world, and taking care of them post-LASIK is paramount. Armed with the right knowledge and a cautious approach, you can enjoy the countless benefits that LASIK surgery has to offer without unnecessary risk. Keep these tips in mind, and here’s to a smooth recovery and a clear, bright future ahead.


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