Dos and Don'ts After ICL Surgery
Congratulations on getting ICL surgery. You may have some questions about what to do for the first few weeks after ICL. What can you do to have the best recovery after ICL surgery? What are the restrictions? Here are the most important "Dos and Do Nots" to follow after ICL surgery to keep your eyes healthy and vision clear.
DO learn how to actually get your eye drops into your eyes
This sounds like such a simple concept, but dang this task is difficult for people not used to eye drops. Pretty much in the beginning people drop and pray that the eye drop goes into their eye rather than all over their eyelids and cheek. This sound like you?
Here is the best technique to get eye drops within the eye. Start by tilting your chin upwards to the sky. This opens up the surface area of the eye. You can create even more surface area by pulling your lower eyelid down with one finger. We want as much landing room as possible for the eye drop!
The next step is to make sure the eye drop is centered over the eye. This is easier said than done. Start by staring directly at the tip of the eye drop bottle. If you are looking at the tip of the bottle (and assuming that your head is still tilted back), then there is a good chance that the eye drop bottle is within the vicinity of your eye. Go ahead and give a slight squeeze until one single drop comes out of the bottle. Hopefully this one single drop hits the surface of the eye.
Proper technique to put eye drop in eye
That's all that's needed! The volume of liquid in one single drop is more than enough to completely coat the surface of the eye. BUT, avoid the temptation to immediately reach up with a tissue and soak all the eye drops out of the eye. Close your eyes and give it about 20 seconds to get the best absorption of the eye drop. If you have to take another prescription eye drop (which at this point, you probably do), wait about 3-5 minutes for the previous eye drop to completely absorb into the eye before adding the second eye drop. We don't want to wash out the eye drops before they can do their work.
DON'T try to work on improving your beach body
Yes it's going to be awesome not needing glasses or contact lenses on the beach. But no, now is not the time to hit the gym and tone up your arms and legs. During the first week after ICL surgery, we want to avoid performing any strenuous activity. This includes vigorous activity, this includes heavy lifting, this can even include bending over.
The tiny incisions used during ICL surgery all seal up watertight on their own without needing any stitches. And during the first week after ICL surgery, we want to avoid reopening these incisions and causing any leaks. It's very rare for this to actually occur but we are cautious folk. So after ICL surgery we want to avoid raising the pressure in the eye. Raising the pressure in the eye can cause fluid to leak out (since the pressure outside of the eye is lower - physics).
When performing heavy lifting or other strenuous activity, often people modify their breathing technique. They frequently perform something known as a Valsalva maneuver. This causes the pressure to go up in the cranium which in turn causes the pressure to go up in the eye as well.
Pressure can also go up just by bending over. By the law of gravity, bending over can cause the pressure to increase in the head and thus the eyes. So avoid excess bending over after ICL surgery.
DO find a cool pair of shades to wear outside
A really cool thing after getting your vision corrected is that you can wear whatever sunglasses you want! You don't have to worry about getting prescription sunglasses to wear.
After ICL surgery, you may be a little more sensitive to light. There are a few reasons why this is the case. First off, there is a very small amount of inflammation after ICL surgery. This is why you take a steroid eye drop to reduce this inflammation. Inflammation can cause a little bit more sensitivity to light and until the inflammation goes away a pair of shades can help the eyes feel more comfortable.
Second, you no longer need any glasses in front of your face! Glasses will actually block a very small amount of light from reaching the eyes (because you can see the glasses, it means they aren't completely transparent). Thus, when outside, the glasses will block just a little bit of sunlight from reaching your eyes.
While a very cool property of the ICL lens is that it does actually block UV light, the ICL lens is also a very transparent lens. It can actually be difficult for eye doctors to see this lens under a microscope unless you are trained to look for it. Thus, when you are out in sunlight, more light will reach the eye. Everything will appear brighter. What can help? A sweet new pair of sunglasses.
DON'T try out your new bathing suit
Yes, I know that you will finally be able to swim and see things at the same time. It's very freeing. But wait up for that. For the first few weeks after ICL surgery, you don't want to go swimming. This includes lakes, rivers, oceans, pools, hot tubs; any body of water you can swim in.
You want to avoid swimming after ICL surgery because we want to prevent an infection. Bacteria love bodies of water. Early on after ICL surgery, there is a very small chance that bacteria in water can get through your ICL incision into your eye and cause an infection. But this is something easily preventable. You just simply avoid dunking your head into water.
DO become good pals with your eye doctor by going to your appointments
Think you can get an ICL lens and skip town? (Doubtful that many people actually think that way) Think again! You want to go to your post-operative visits to make sure that everything is healing up as intended.
At the post op visits a few critical things are checked:
- The pressure within the eye is checked. Having a high eye pressure can be uncomfortable and be problematic if nothing is done to reduce that pressure (see also What Causes a Headache After ICL Surgery?).
- The position of the ICL lens is checked. Your eye surgeon will want to see that the ICL has the proper size and fit for your eye.
Post op visits also help to educate you on what you can expect as you recover from ICL surgery.
If you have questions or concerns in between your appointments, DO give your doctor's office a call. They want to hear from you to help you out!
DON'T decide now is the best time to mash and prod your eye
If you like to rub your eyes, now is the time to break that habit. If heavy lifting and bending over can potentially cause the small ICL incision to leak, you better believe that mashing in on the eye can do the same thing. Pressing in on the eye WILL increase the pressure. We want to avoid that from happening during the first few weeks. But there really isn't a good reason rub or prod your eyes anyway (before or after surgery).
Side note: In fact, people who chronically rub their eyes can develop weakening of their cornea called keratoconus. This weakening can cause the cornea to change shape into a cone-like shape causing blurred and distorted vision.
For the first week, you really want to avoid messing with the eyes or around the eyes. Frequently there are makeup restrictions to prevent you from accidentally rubbing the eyes in the process. Also frequently you'll be given an eye shield to wear at night to prevent you from inadvertently rubbing your eyes when you sleep. Both are great ways to keep your eyes protected.
DO show off your new eyes and vision
Finally the most important step 😆! Definitely show off your new ability to see without glasses and contact lenses. It's a very cool thing! Make your friends jealous.
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