When Is it Safe to Drive after LASIK?

By William Holcomb on December 13, 2016

Blurry night visionFor most day-to-day tasks, clear vision is a necessity. Unfortunately, many people do not have naturally clear vision. Vision impairment is a common problem, affecting nearly 300 million people worldwide. The most common forms of vision impairment are nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.

Patients who experience any of these vision problems must rely on corrective lenses for clear vision. Alternatively, patients can undergo LASIK, which offers long-term vision improvement results. Following LASIK treatment, over 90 percent of patients benefit from 20/20 vision or better.

While vision improves almost immediately after LASIK, patients should be prepared for the healing period. Patients will need to refrain from certain activities, including driving. Dr. William E. Holcomb discusses driving after LASIK, and offers his Cullman, AL patients some tips to ensure their safety on the road.

Can I Drive Myself Home after LASIK?

LASIK surgery is a quick procedure that is performed on an outpatient basis. Dr. Holcomb uses numbing eye drops to ensure comfort throughout the procedure, but the patient remains awake for the duration of treatment. Although patients are not put under general or IV anesthesia, we do not allow patients to drive themselves home following LASIK treatment. Patients will need to have a friend or family member who can drive them.

There are a number of reasons why driving is prohibited immediately after LASIK treatment. The first is that we use a mild sedative prior to treatment to help patients relax. Patients may not drive when they are under the effects of this sedative.

Second, vision will be blurry immediately after LASIK. Many patients notice an immediate improvement in vision, but it will take some time for vision clear.

Finally, the eyes are likely to be sensitive to light immediately following LASIK treatment. We provide dark glasses for our patients to wear after treatment and recommend that they rest their eyes as much as possible for the first twelve hours after LASIK.

How Soon Can I Drive?

Patients will have a follow-up appointment the day after LASIK treatment. As a safety precaution, we advise patients to have a friend or family member drive them to this appointment. During this follow-up, we will examine the eyes and test the patient’s vision. If the vision has improved to the degree that driving is safe (typically 20/40 vision or better), patients will be given the okay to drive. The majority of patients are able to drive home from their first post-LASIK appointment.

Safety Tips

During the first few days after LASIK, patients will continue to experience side effects of treatment. To ensure safety while driving, patients should adhere to the following safety precautions:

  • Use sunglasses when outside or driving to avoid sensitivity to sunlight
  • Avoid driving if the eyes feel tired or strained, or if vision is blurry
  • If halos or glares are an issue, avoid driving at night until this side effect has subsided

Schedule an Appointment

LASIK surgery offers people clear vision without the hassle or inconvenience of glasses or contact lenses. If you’d like to learn more about the LASIK procedure or the recovery period that follows, schedule an appointment with Dr. William E. Holcomb at your earliest convenience.

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