How Soon After LASIK can I Swim?

Ophthalmologist & LASIK Surgeon Serving Chicago, Lombard & Naperville areas of Illinois

Posted: July 29, 2019

Woman swimming after LASIKIn the mid-summer Chicago heat, fewer things are more refreshing than a dip in your local pool or into the waves of Lake Michigan. If you wear glasses or contacts, however, you may feel like you're making a frustrating compromise: you either fumble without glasses, risk losing a contact lens in the water, or shell out money for prescription swim goggles.

LASIK surgery can alleviate that issue. After your procedure, you'll be able to swim with clear vision and without worrying about lenses. Read on to learn about the LASIK recovery timeline and how soon after your surgery you can get back in the water.

LASIK Recovery

LASIK is a minimally invasive surgery that does not require general anesthesia. It has a very light recovery process — so light, in fact, that many patients can drive and resume work the day after their procedure.

One of the most critical aspects of LASIK recovery is avoiding contact sports and physical athletic activities, such as tackle football or basketball, while your eyes heal. Therefore, swimming can be an excellent way to relax and exercise when you're unable to engage in other activities. However, you can't jump in the pool right away.

Swimming After LASIK

Your eyes are more vulnerable to irritation and infection in the weeks after LASIK. Swimming pools are chlorinated and disinfected. That chlorine can irritate sensitive eyes during your recovery.

Natural bodies of water, such as rivers, lakes, and oceans, aren't chlorinated. They may contain higher levels of bacteria that could cause eye infections, as well as dirt and sand particles that may irritate your eyes.   

Here is a general timeline for how quickly you can get in the water after your procedure:

  • 1 week after surgery: You can swim in a chlorinated pool. Be sure to wear goggles.
  • 2 weeks after surgery: You can sit in a hot tub and swim in natural bodies of water, such as lakes, rivers, and oceans. You can also resume low impact water sports such as kayaking and snorkeling. You should still wear goggles when swimming.
  • 3 weeks after surgery: You can engage in all water sports, including high-impact activities such as water polo, but you must still wear protective goggles.
  • 4 weeks after surgery: You can swim without goggles and open your eyes underwater.

Anytime you're outside, including at the pool or beach, take care to wear UV sunglasses to protect your eyes. This is especially crucial in the first six weeks after your procedure.

Do I Have to Wait to Shower After LASIK, Too?

No, you don't. You can shower and bathe immediately after your LASIK surgery. Be extra careful not to get soap, shampoo, or water into your eyes, though. When you dry off, whether after a bath, shower, or swim, be sure not to rub your eyes with your towel.

Schedule Your Chicago LASIK Consultation Today

Dr. Richard Foulkes is one of Chicago's leading LASIK physicians. He has more than 20 years of experience and has performed more than 48,000 LASIK procedures. He is dedicated to giving you comfortable, professional care that leaves you with clear vision.

Dr. Foulkes serves Lombard, Naperville, Downers Grove, and nearby areas of Chicago. Call (630) 724-1400 today to schedule a consultation.

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