Need To Know Precautions on Weight Lifting After Lasik
What happens when you just got lasik and you want to work on your biceps, abs and hamstrings. What are the most important considerations for weight lifting after lasik eye surgery? You don’t have to stop your weight lifting regime, but you do have to make certain adjustments in order to keep your eyes healthy post lasik.
Are there restrictions with weight lifting?
Weight lifting seems pretty unrelated to the eyes. And that is pretty much true. Pushing your hardest rep on the bench press won’t cause any problems with the lasik flap after lasik eye surgery. It won’t cause the lasik flap to dislocate.
This issue after lasik isn’t with the weight lifting itself, the issue is with sweat. After lasik we want to avoid getting sweat in the eye for the first few weeks.
Sweat causes issues after lasik in two different ways
When sweat is produced from your sweat glands, it starts out clean. However, this sweat passes over your skin. On the surface of your skin exists normal bacteria. As the sweat drips off your forehead, it can actually pick up this bacteria. If this sweat then drips into the eye, this bacteria can get onto the surface of the eye.
One of the primary goals after lasik is to prevent bacteria from getting onto the surface of the eye. This is especially important during the first few weeks after lasik. Immediately after lasik, there is a break at the edge of the lasik flap. This break provides easy access for bacteria to get underneath the lasik flap. The biggest risk for bacteria is within the first few hours after lasik (when nothing has healed up).
Pretty quickly, however, this break heals up as the epithelium on the surface of the cornea grows over. This epithelium provides a barrier to keep bacteria out. But initially, this epithelium isn't as strong as usual. As such, until it returns back to normal, we want to be extra cautious to keep bacteria (and thus sweat) out of the eye.
Sweat also contains a high amount of salt. Salt will irritate your eyes. Everyone after lasik will have some dryness in the first few months after the procedure. Tiny nerves exists all throughout the cornea. These nerves are able to detect when the eye dries out. They then send a signal to produce more natural tears for the eye. Creating a lasik flap, however, breaks the connection of some of these nerves. Until these nerves regenerate, the eye has a reduced ability to produce natural tears. If this dry eye isn’t treated (with artificial tears), inflammation can build up and cause more dry eye.
But anything that irritates the eye can also cause inflammation to build up. Sweat falls into this category. The salt from sweat can irritate the eyes and not only cause discomfort but also cause extra inflammation and dryness. Best just to avoid all of that by keeping sweat out of the eyes.
Good news! There are great ways to keep sweat out of the eye
There is a workout accessory that goes around your forehead that collects sweat and keeps it from dripping in your eyes. Yes, I’m talking about an athletic headband or sweatband
Yes, some people think a sweatband may be tacky. But sweatbands can be really really useful. There are also more modern fashionable versions such as a bandana or workout beanie which can also be helpful.
In addition to a sweatband, it’s also a good idea to carry around your own personal towel to dab any extra sweat that may bead up around the eyes. But make sure you AREN’T rubbing the eyes with this extra towel. You don’t want to rub the lasik flap out of position and cause a flap dislocation (see also Everything You Need To Know About Flap Dislocation After Lasik)
By keeping the sweat out of your eyes, you are able to do your normal weight lifting routine after lasik without any issues.
Note: if you are the type of person who has such a vigorous workout that you would completely sweat through and soak and saturate the sweatband, you may want to consider toning down your workouts for the first few weeks after lasik. No need to push the envelope when you are healing
Other best practices while weight lifting
Even though we want to avoid extra sweat, we don’t want to avoid drinking water while working out. After lasik, you want to avoid getting dehydrated. If you get dehydrated, the eyes will dry out more. And if the eyes dry out more, you will notice more blurriness and fluctuation of vision. So, in addition to carrying your personal towel, you will want to carry a water bottle to sip on while you are working out.
Make sure to clean your hands before touching near your eyes or eyelids. Weight lifting equipment is shared equipment. You can’t expect that it is going to be perfectly clean. Gyms will frequently have hand sanitizer nearby which you should use frequently in order to keep your hands clean. Use it liberally.
With some slight adjustments you can safely do weight lifting after lasik. Now, it doesn’t mean you can hit the gym the same day as the lasik procedure (remember, we want the epithelium to heal over the lasik flap); but after your surgeon gives you the "all clear" the next day you can get back into your normal weight lifting routine. Leaving you with both stronger muscles and stronger eyes.
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