It is a wonder that in less than 10 minutes, your whole life changes. The whole laser eye surgery takes just 10 minutes and in fact, less in some cases. In my case, it took less than ten minutes and zero pain.
If you have read my before and after experiences of SMILE surgery, you know that the days after surgery are much more important than the precautions you have to talk for the surgery. The seven days following the operation is the most crucial part. From my own experience, I have compiled the following important post op cares after laser surgery (lasik or smile):
1. Use clean tissues to wipe your tears.
No, you won't tear up because you are in pain. You are constantly tearing up because the sensitivity of the nerves inside the eyes increases as they are penetrated deeply. This causes dry eyes, and as a result, the tear glands try to correct it by secreting more tears.
Use of clean and dry tissues is recommended. For a few hours straight, your eyes don’t stop tearing at all. Don’t try to touch around the eyes when cleaning because this might lead to an infection. Allow the tear to fall down on your cheeks and then wipe it. Throw the tissue and use a new one next time.
2. Don't rub or touch your eyes.
I was nearly devastated when a nurse scolded me as I tried to wipe the tears using my hands. She also joked that she would have to tie my hands if I did that again (yikes!). Bottom line: don’t touch around your eyes; even if you think your hands are all clean. Use tissues.
3. Wash the white particles in your eye lashes with hot water and cotton.
When you are constantly using artificial tear to lubricate your eyes, a certain amount seems to dry and get stuck in your eye lashes. These look white when they dry and are hell bend stuck in your eye lashes. Don’t use your fingers to pull them out. Instead, use cotton. Boil some cotton in water and allow it to cool. Once cooled, wash your eye lashes and around your eyes. A note: don’t bring tap water or even pure water near your eyes (read the point below).
4. Don't use water to wash your eyes.
Neutral, pure or tap water is an irritant to your eye at this point. Use artificial tear drops prescribed to you in order to flush out dirt if any. The artificial tears have proper concentration of salts to make sure your postoperative eyes don’t get irritated.
5. Use eye patch for 7 days when sleeping.
The use of eye shields or eye patches is to protect them from accidental impact. When sleeping, your own hands might be the culprit. Flying insects can impact your eyes in dark and in a worst case, a lizard might decide to pee (watch out!). That’s why, use eye shields before sleeping. A bonus of using these eye patches is that you are halfway to completing your pirate costume for Halloween!
6. Don't stop eye drops no matter how good your eyes feel.
Until your surgeon or doctor says, do not stop administering eye drops. They prevent infection, kill microbes and flush out dirt from your eyes. So, even if your eyes look healthy, feels lubricated, don’t stop it under any circumstance.
In my case, I had to use the antibiotics and discomfort drops for 7 days. The artificial drops are still necessary (it’s been two months) and can be used whenever your eyes feel dry.
7. Avoid screen time for as long as you can.
I had prepared myself before the surgery and stocked up on audiobooks and songs from my favorite singers. It is of crucial importance to not expose your eyes to blue light which are emitted from computer screens, tablets and television screens. Activities that require you to stare nearby objects (such as when reading) are also not allowed.
Generally, the doctors ask you to avoid reading and watching screens for about seven days. After this time, you can casually start working again, but only with proper lubrication. When we stare at a screen, we tend to look for a long time without blinking. This can make the condition of dry eyes worse.
If you have to work on a computer and your job constantly requires you to stare at screens, use tear drops frequently. Also practice looking at a faraway object from time to time, breathing normally and getting up to stretch once in a while.
8. Avoid fatty foods and choose more protein and vitamins.
Vitamin A, vitamin C and protein rich foods are all important during this period. No, it doesn’t directly help you recover faster. However, getting your complete dose of vitamins and proteins makes you immune to common illness and conditions like flu or common cold. And trust me, you don’t want to fall sick during the seven days after surgery. Eat healthy balanced diet.
9. Working out is also a no-no.
While every individual’s exercise regimen is different from others, it is absolutely crucial that one does not exercise within 2-3 days of the surgery. The crucial part is to avoid the risk of injury and trauma to the eyes.
10. Avoid dry, cold air and night outs.
I can’t stress this point enough. At one time, your eyes feel healthy and absolutely fine. The next instance, it is itching and feels dry. The problem is worst when during night and if it’s winter, the dry air doesn’t help. Cold air from air conditioning, cold air blowing during winter season feels terrible. That’s why, it will be beneficial for your eye to recover if you avoid late night parties and riding in bikes until your eyes feel much better (which is typically 3-4 months after the procedure).