Most jobs today require some form of computer use throughout the day. When we are not working, we spend our spare time on our computers or smartphones to pay bills, catch up on the news, or chat with friends. Computer use can pose problems for our eyes even before throwing LASIK into the picture. Because we blink about half as often when staring at screens, we may experience dry eyes and eye fatigue. To help protect our patients’ eyes, the doctors of Laser Vision Correction Center of New Jersey in West Orange provide detailed guidelines for computer use after LASIK.
This is especially important after surgery. You should refrain from using a computer, smartphone, or watching TV for a few days to up to a week following surgery. During this time, your vision is stabilizing, and the added strain could lead to complications. If you use a computer for work, you will need to check with your doctor to determine when it is safe to begin working again.
After you begin to return to normal computer activity, take frequent breaks to rest your eyes. Letting your eyes rest will help prevent dryness and fatigue. It is also important to make sure you are getting enough sleep at night. This is the longest period of rest your eyes get each day, and your body restores nutrients to the eyes during this time, making sleep critical for eye health.
Even after your doctor clears you to begin using computers again, you are still at a greater risk for experiencing dryness. To combat this, we recommend using artificial tears frequently. As your eyes continue to heal, you should rely on artificial tears less and less. If dryness continues to persist, you should talk with your doctor about other solutions to manage the condition.
This is something everyone who works on computers should do, but it is even more important after LASIK. A good rule of thumb is to take a brief break after 20 minutes of computer work. Look away from your computer screen for about 20 seconds. If you can focus on something in the distance, that works even better. Make sure you continue to blink throughout this break, which will help keep your eyes moist.
During normal, non-screen-related activities, we blink about 18 times a minute. When we are staring at screens, for work or otherwise, we blink about half as many times. Blinking is generally an involuntary response, meaning we do not have to think about doing it – our eyes just blink naturally. When doing computer work, we need to consciously remind ourselves to blink often. The act of blinking will help combat dryness, especially after LASIK.
LASIK is one of the most popular laser correction surgeries because it results in a quick recovery period. That does not mean it is not without limitations during that time. To learn more about what you can and cannot do after LASIK, contact our office to set up a consultation.