We’ve already covered the importance of eye health in our article ‘Taking Care of Your Eyes: a Quick Guide for Veterans’, explaining how you can look after your eyes. Sometimes, you may need corrective surgery on your eyes; lazer vision correction (LVC) and especially LASIK are now some of the safest surgical procedures. Yet, 2021 research published in Clinical Ophthalmology notes that many people still delay or choose not to have LVC out of fear of the potential pain and failure of the operation Fear of possible complications post-LASIK, such as ghosting, halos, glare, difficulty with night vision, or dry eyes, are also common.
These concerns are normal, but LASIK patients can rest assured that excellent clinical results with minimal side effects are currently the norm within the industry. These side effects are minimized by proper aftercare, which is why optometrists stress the need for patients to wear sunglasses after LASIK. In fact, many even suggest making it regular practice months and years down the line.
How does wearing sunglasses help us post-LASIK surgery? Here’s a quick guide to answer this question.
Why you need sunglasses after LASIK
During LASIK surgery, the surgeon will create a semi-circular incision on the top layer of the cornea using a laser. This forms a flap that can be lifted, which in turn allows a different laser to reshape the deeper layers of the cornea. Once the treatment is complete, the flap is lowered over the treated tissue and left to heal.
While this tissue heals, it is essential that it is not exposed to dust, bright lights, or any other irritants. Otherwise, you risk irritation, infection, scarring, or other complications that may slow the healing process or cause post-op damage.
Sunglasses help to block out allergens and smoke, and create a barrier that also prevents patients from rubbing their eyes. Sunglasses will also help your eyes adjust to any light sensitivity and contrast sensitivity as your new corneal contour heals. 2022 research published in StatPearls highlights that visual aberrations are common and reported by 20% of patients. These visual disturbances tend to stabilize three to six months after the procedure, but until then, they can be rather serious and uncomfortable. This can cause LASIK patients to squint or cover their eyes. Wearing sunglasses will help decrease any discomfort and minimize interference.
Characteristics for sunglasses after LASIK
Patients are usually provided with a pair of dark sunglasses upon completion of their LASIK procedure. These are usually expected to be worn the rest of the day following treatment and while outdoors for at least the first week of LASIK recovery. Afterward, patients can usually switch to their own pair of sunglasses.
When choosing your own pair, it is important to buy from a reputable store that guarantees complete UV protection. The lens material when you buy Oakley sunglasses online has a UV coating that naturally blocks UV radiation and won’t wear off over time — unlike UV coatings on sunglasses of lesser quality. Polarized and iridium lens options are also available, with the former reducing the glare from other surfaces and the latter reducing individual light waves and enhancing others.
In fact, the polarized lenses from Ray-Ban are said to block more than 99% of reflected light around you, and their mirrored lenses reduce glare for visual comfort near water and snow — which can be beneficial for LASIK patients who live near the water. That is why it is important to prioritize functionality just as much as style during this delicate healing period.
That being said, style still matters because your lenses should provide sufficient coverage to avoid UV light sneaking in from the top, sides, or bottom. Purchasing sunglasses at a reputable optical shop means that it’s more likely that you’ll have opticians available to assist with fitting. The frame should fit comfortably on your face, meaning that the lenses should be roughly the width of your face, and the temples should fit snugly behind your ears without excessive pressure.
Wearing your sunglasses post-LASIK helps ensure that your eyes heal smoothly and successfully. Even after your eyes have fully healed, however, doctors recommend sunglasses outdoors because harsh UV rays always have the potential to damage eye tissues. A good pair of shades can therefore be an investment for both fashion and good eye health.