“Can you watch TV after LASIK?” is a question almost every LASIK patient asks us. That’s because, after LASIK surgery, you’re supposed to rest and keep activity to a minimum. In the age of Netflix binging, resting and keeping activity to a minimum often means one thing: watching TV.
But can you watch TV after LASIK? Unfortunately, it’s not recommended, as are a few other things. If you’re considering LASIK surgery or if you already have surgery scheduled, it’s crucial that you understand the LASIK recovery timeline and that you follow post-surgery guidelines. These guidelines include screen time and a series of simple do’s and don’ts.
Let’s take a few moments to cover the LASIK basics.
Can you watch TV after LASIK? Why it’s not a good idea.
Can I watch TV after LASIK? Can I play video games? What about my phone — can I use my phone after LASIK? To be blunt, there is a 24-hour no-screen time recommendation after undergoing LASIK surgery. That’s because the television and other similar screens (computers, phones, and tablets) can possibly have a negative impact on your recovery process immediately following surgery.
For example, looking at screens reduces your blink rate, which in turn can lead to dry eyes. Keeping your eyes lubricated is a key element of recovering from LASIK. Dry eyes and LASIK surgery often go hand-in-hand during the recovery process, so it’s doubly important to limit the potentially negative impacts of screen time on eye health, especially in the first 24 hours after surgery.
While we understand that you’re bored and probably stuck at home after the surgery, it really is important to follow this recommendation. If you’re wondering what to do after LASIK, consider downloading a few podcast episodes or an audiobook when you’re preparing for your surgery. Alternatively, you can catch up on all that sleep you lost while daydreaming about what life will be like without glasses or contacts.
For more ideas, check out our article on how to help care for someone who just had LASIK surgery.
The risks of skipping the 24-hour no-screen recommendation
Aside from simply feeling eye strain, there are definitely some risks associated with too much screen time post-LASIK. These include but are not limited to:
- Extended recovery time
- Light sensitivity
Remember: You will likely experience minor discomfort after surgery no matter what. Contact your doctor if you have any concerns regarding what’s considered normal after LASIK surgery.
Can you read after LASIK?
After asking us “Can you watch TV after LASIK?” we sometimes get the follow-up question, “Can you read after LASIK? Whether you’re asking about reading an analog book or a book on your tablet, the answer for both activities is, unfortunately, still no. Reading a paper book can also reduce your blinking rate. As mentioned before, though, audiobooks are just fine!
Other activities to avoid after LASIK surgery
Besides watching too much TV, there are a handful of other activities you should avoid after LASIK surgery. Here are a few of the heavy hitters:
- Do not drive: Many people wonder, “How long after LASIK can I drive?” You will need someone to drive you home after the surgery. In fact, Eye Center of Texas’s policy is that you have someone you know pick you up and drive you home after your surgery. (This does not include ride shares!) After that, we recommend that patients avoid driving for the first 24-48 hours after surgery. Of course, the recovery process can vary from patient to patient. It’s important to get the sign-off from your doctor before you get behind the wheel of a car.
- Go ahead and shower: It’s okay to shower the day after surgery, but please avoid getting any shampoo or other chemicals in your face. This also includes post-shower activities, such as applying facial creams and makeup.
- Stay out of the pool: Swimming after LASIK can be problematic. This is because your eyes will be exposed to harsh chemicals or to various bacteria that can lead to infections. In fact, it’s best to avoid stepping in a pool for at least a month after LASIK.
- Protect your eyes: There are many daily activities that can cause issues with post-LASIK eyes. Use common sense and avoid any of these activities that can potentially harm your eyes. This can include anything from sports and exercising to sun exposure and contact lenses. Maintain open communication with your doctor and get all of your questions answered regarding activities that are unsafe post-LASIK.
Post-LASIK tips to remember
Whether or not you manage to get through that 24-hour no-screen recommendation, here are a few tips that can help you get through LASIK recovery.
- Adopt the 20-20-20 Rule: If you choose to ignore the plethora of advice telling you NOT to watch TV and to sit through an episode of your latest Netflix obsession anyway, at least follow the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. These breaks will help you limit eye strain and dry, red eyes.
- Lubricate, Lubricate, Lubricate: You can also use eye drops for dry eyes after LASIK. Eye Center of Texas will provide you with a set of prescription eye drops for immediately post-op. After that time, it is recommended that you use preservative-free eye drops and to limit your usage to 4 times a day.
- Pay Attention: If your eyes feel strained or uncomfortable at any part during the day, take notice and make a change. Focus on something else, close your eyes for a few minutes, or pop in a few eye drops. And no matter what… don’t forget to blink regularly.
A seamless recovery starts with Eye Center of Texas
So, can you watch TV after LASIK? No, not for at least 24 hours. The good news? This advice comes from a company that has years of experience helping their patients recover and thrive after LASIK eye surgery.
Eye Center of Texas has performed over 75,000 successful LASIK eye surgeries, and we are dedicated to providing all of our patients with a seamless recovery. From surgery preparation to post-surgery treatment, our goal is to make sure all of our patients have the right tools to follow all LASIK best practices.
If you have more questions regarding activities considered safe post-LASIK or if you’re considering LASIK surgery, we’re here for you. Give us a call at 713-395-1515 or contact us online to set up a LASIK consultation today.
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