Accidentally Rubbed Eyes After Smile

Uh Oh! I Rubbed My Eyes After SMILE Surgery: What Now?

We all do it. That involuntary eye rub after a long day, a yawn, or an errant eyelash. But after SMILE eye surgery, even the gentlest touch can send shivers down your spine. Fear not, fellow SMILE warriors! While rubbing your eyes post-surgery is definitely not ideal, it’s not always a cause for immediate panic.


Why is Rubbing Your Eyes after SMILE a no-no?

Unlike LASIK, SMILE doesn’t create a corneal flap. Instead, it uses a laser to reshape the cornea through the removal of a lenticule of corneal tissue through a tiny incision. While this reduces healing time and minimizes discomfort, the initial days are still crucial for optimal recovery. Rubbing your eyes, even gently, can introduce several risks:

  • Corneal abrasion:
    Rough contact with your fingers or fingernails can scratch the delicate corneal surface, causing pain, blurry vision, and increased sensitivity to light.
  • Infection:
    Rubbing your eyes with unwashed hands or transferring contaminated objects can introduce bacteria or viruses, leading to potentially serious infections.
  • Dislodging the lenticule:
    While highly unlikely, vigorous rubbing could potentially dislodge the lenticule, the reshaped corneal tissue created during SMILE. This can affect your vision and necessitate additional follow-up procedures.


So, You Rubbed your Eyes. What Now?

The gravity of the situation is contingent upon various factors:

  • Time Since Surgery:
    The earlier you rub, the higher the risk of disturbing the healing incisions. During the first week, your eyes are most vulnerable.
  • Intensity of the Rub:
    A gentle brush-off is less concerning than a vigorous eye scrub.
  • Presence of Pain or Vision Changes:
    Any new or worsening pain, watering, blurry vision, or redness are red flags that warrant immediate medical attention.


The Reassurance Rollercoaster

  • Scenario 1:
    Gentle Rub, Days After Surgery, No New Symptoms: Breathe easy! A light touch a few days or even weeks after surgery probably didn’t cause any major damage. The small SMILE incision usually heals quickly, and your surgeon would have informed you about any critical post-operative care. However, keep a close eye (pun intended) on your vision and any discomfort. If anything arises, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor.
  • Scenario 2: Vigorous Rub, Early Post-Operative Period, New Symptoms:
    In this situation, it is imperative to respond promptly. Although the risk of serious complications is still relatively low due to the absence of a flap that can be disturbed, it is crucial to have your eyes examined by your surgeon without delay. They can evaluate the situation, administer any necessary treatment, and provide reassurance. Remember, early intervention is paramount in averting potential issues.


Prevention is Key

To prevent the “eye-rubbing blues” altogether, follow these steps:

  • Master the art of handwashing:
    Regularly washing your hands is the best defense against eye infections, especially during the initial healing phase.
  • Avoid unnecessary touching:
    Unless you’re using medicated eye drops prescribed by your doctor, refrain from touching your eyes.
  • Embrace the eye shield:
    Wear your protective shield diligently, especially while sleeping, to prevent accidental rubbing and bumps.
  • Use artificial tears:
    Dry eyes can be a common symptom after SMILE surgery. If you experience itchiness, avoid rubbing or pressing on your eyes. Instead, use lubricating eye drops recommended by your doctor to soothe and alleviate your symptoms.
  • Maintain a dust and smoke-free environment:
    Keep your surroundings free from dust and avoid areas with smoke.
  • Keep up with your appointments:
    Make sure to attend all scheduled follow-up appointments with your ophthalmologist to monitor your progress.


Preventative Measures to Avoid a Repeat

  • Explore alternative strategies for relieving itchiness:
    Consider using artificial tears as a gentle option instead of rubbing your eyes.
  • Keep your hands occupied:
    Utilize fidget toys or stress balls to provide a constructive outlet for any nervous hand movements.
  • Opt for back sleeping:
    Sleeping on your back reduces the risk of unintentionally rubbing your eyes against the pillow.
  • Cultivate mindfulness:
    Stay attuned to your body and catch yourself before reaching for your eyes, fostering a sense of awareness.



Maintaining open communication is crucial. If you have any concerns, no matter how minor, don’t hesitate to reach out to your doctor. They are there to support you throughout your SMILE journey.

Have faith in the healing process. SMILE has an outstanding safety record, and your eyes have natural resilience. With proper care and a little patience, you’ll soon enjoy crystal-clear vision without the worry of accidental rubbing.

Bonus Tip: Consider investing in comfortable sleep goggles or protective shields to keep your eyes safe and shielded during the night. Sweet dreams and guaranteed clear vision!


Your Path to Clarity

So, rubbing your eyes after SMILE surgery is not ideal, but it doesn’t have to be a vision-altering disaster. By understanding the risks, taking preventive measures, and seeking prompt medical attention when needed, you can confidently overcome this hurdle and achieve a clearer vision.

Remember, knowledge is power, and a little tender loving care goes a long way in preserving your precious eyes. Here’s to a speedy recovery and a world of unobstructed beauty!


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