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The Best Way How To Shower After Lasik

The Best Way How To Shower After Lasik

What can you do to protect your eyes after lasik? There are certain water precautions that are important to follow to allow for best recovery and outcome after lasik. And these water precautions apply to all parts of your life. This includes showering. Do you have to stop showering? Fortunately no, but If not done properly, showering after lasik can increase the risk of infection and / or cause you to develop extra inflammation on the surface of the eye.

The risk of infection is the greatest in the first 24 hours after lasik and thus, showering should be avoided during that time frame. However, after that, by following some basic techniques, you can reduce and / or eliminate that risk and keep your lasik recovery on course.

Lasik doesn’t have to prevent you from showering (thank goodness; for you and everyone else in your life). So let’s learn how to stay safe in the shower following lasik eye surgery.

Keep Water Out Of Eyes

One of the primary goals after lasik is avoid getting water in the eyes. There are two main reasons we want to avoid water:

  • Prevent infection
  • Prevent additional irritation to the eyes

Infection

Fortunately, it is very rare to have an infection after lasik. There just isn’t much opportunity for bacteria to gain a foothold underneath the lasik flap.

When the lasik laser creates the lasik flap, it creates a thin break in the very surface layer of our eye called epithelium. This epithelium serves a critical purpose in protecting our eyes from - you guessed it: bacteria! So when there is a thin break or scratch in this epithelium, bacteria can slip through and cause an infection.

But this thin break heals up very quickly. Within a few hours after lasik, much of this scratch has healed over. This is a very narrow window.

However, after this scratch heals over, the epithelium isn’t as strong as it normally is. There still can be the potential, albeit small potential, for bacteria to slip by. Thus after lasik we want to avoid situations which can introduce bacteria onto the eye.

Water contains bacteria. Granted some water contains more bacteria than other, but unless you have sterile water such as that found in preservative-free artificial tears or something to prevent bacteria from growing, such as preservatives in your prescription eye drops, there is a chance that water source can contain bacteria.

Luckily, shower water is cleaner than lake or ocean water. But the risk isn’t zero.

Additional irritation to the eyes

Ever get shampoo in your eyes? It burns!!

Shampoo will irritate the eyes. It will cause some short-term damage to the epithelium on the surface of the eye. This damage will actually cause a small amount of inflammation on the surface of the eye as our body responds to this damage.

After lasik, we want to avoid causing extra inflammation on our eyes.

Everyone after lasik will have some degree of short-term dry eye on their eyes. The laser treatment and the lasik flap disrupt small nerves within our cornea. These nerves have the role of telling us to produce tears. Until these nerves regenerate and grow back after lasik, we can't produce tears as well as before. And the eye dries out.

When the eye dries out, some microscopic short-term damage occurs to the epithelium on the surface of the eye. Once again, this creates inflammation.

The problem with inflammation is that it will actually cause MORE dry eye. Inflammation further reduces our ability to produce tears and inflammation can also disrupt our natural tear film on the surface of the eye.

So to allow the eyes to heal up after lasik, it is not only important to treat the eyes with frequent preservative-free artificial tears to prevent the eyes from drying out, it is also important to prevent inflammation from contributing to the dry eye.

Long story short, we want to avoid getting shampoo in the eyes.

Tips On How To Shower After Lasik

It is often recommended to avoid showering for the first 24 hours after lasik. This is after-all, the window of highest risk for getting water in the eyes. After that window, you can resume showering but it is important to take a few things in to consideration:

  • Don’t stare right at the shower head. Intuitive, right? If you are looking up and into the shower faucet, a jet stream of water will be pouring into your eyes.
  • Keep your eyes closed when water is running over your head. Water will drip down your head and over your eyes. Keeping your eyes closed prevents this water from dripping into your eyes.
  • Wash your hair so that the water drains backwards. Face away from the shower faucet and tilt your head backwards so that less water will drip over your eyes.
  • Save washing your head for the end of the shower. That way you can use a towel to lightly dab and absorb the excess water collected on your eyelashes when you dry off. This avoids the need to open your eyes and have the water drip into the eyes and also the desire to rub away the excess water with your hands; both things we want to avoid.
  • If you want to get extra fancy, you can always get a shower shield. These plastic shields attach to your forehead before showering to prevent excess water from running into your eyes.
  • And of course, you can always take a bath!

These tips aren’t very complicated and make a whole lot of sense. Avoid situations in which water can drip or splash into the eye. But unless you take a mental note ahead of time, it is easy to forget about these extra precautions when you are in the shower.

Summary

If you are reckless with your eyes in the shower, you can increase the risk of infection. You can also cause extra inflammation to build up on your eyes and cause more dry eye and a longer recovery. But fortunately, it is pretty easy to shower safely. The most simple instructions are to avoid having your eyes open when water can splash or run into the eyes. By being aware of these simple steps, you can stay clean after lasik.

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