LASIK Eye Surgery Recovery Time for the Everyday Athlete

Many people are under the misconception that LASIK recovery time is long, and exercise, training and strenuous activities are not possible right away. However, this is a myth; for most people, LASIK recovery time allows them to return to work the next day and certain levels of exercise are possible shortly after.  Providence Eye discusses how LASIK recovery time impacts the everyday athlete.

General Timeline for Returning to Sports

We’ll go more into detail about running, swimming and contact sports below, but here is a general idea of how long you’ll need to wait post-LASIK surgery to return to some of your favorite sports:

  • Working out at home
  • Running
  • Biking
  • Yoga at home
  • Racquet sports, such as squash and racquet ball (eye protection always required)
  • Tennis (eye protection for one month)

Sports You Need to Wait 2 Days After LASIK Surgery:

  • Working out in a public gym
  • Group exercise class
  • Barre
  • Spin
  • Yoga in a studio
  • Hot yoga in a studio

At Providence Eye, we advise patients to wait five days before playing contact sports after LASIK to ensure optimal LASIK aftercare and healing. Once the five days have passed and patients are ready to play contact sports after LASIK, Dr. Mozayeni recommends wearing eye protection for at least one month.

Running After LASIK

Whether you are a weekly jogger or marathon veteran, the everyday runner athlete can quickly resume their routine. After a LASIK recovery time of just two days, runners can resume their normal running routine, not even missing half a week of training or body conditioning.

After a quick LASIK recovery time, runners can enjoy many great benefits by eliminating the:

  • The need to clean and find your contacts or glasses before going to the gym or outside to run
  • Burning, stinging and itching symptoms associated with sweat mixing with contacts and contact fluid
  • Difficulty glasses cause when trying to exercise or run
  • The need to stop and clean glasses due to sweat and condensation
  • The possibility of breaking or losing your glasses during exercise and training

Swimming After LASIK

For swimmers, the after LASIK recovery time is a required two-week hiatus after procedure day. It is important to keep water (pool, hot tub, lake, ocean, pond) out of your eyes and not submerge your head in water to maximize protection from infection and allow your reshaped corneal tissue to heal. Keeping your eyes free ofdirty, germy and/or chlorinated water for 14 days also reduces chances for infection.

A quick LASIK recovery time allows swimmers to quickly see the long-term benefits including: 

  • Minimized risks for eye infections, as chlorinated water can cause infections in contact wearers
  • Clear vision while swimming for those who wore glasses and were not able to wear contacts
  • Eliminated expenses for high priced prescription goggles
  • No more lane guesstimation; greatly improved ability to see swimming lanes clearly

Contact Sports After LASIK

Contact sport athletes represent another category of individuals who can enjoy the quick LASIK recovery time after surgery. However, this category of athlete requires a little additional care. First, the all-laser blade-free LASIK is particularly important. The corneal flap made with a laser has a better adherence versus one made with a blade, allowing a shorter LASIK recovery time. This is one reason why the military does not allow blade LASIK. The LASIK recovery time is as little as two days, which allows people who like to play contact sports such as racquetball, tennis, volleyball, soccer, basketball, football and baseball to pick up their rackets, knee pads and cleats, as long as reliable protective eye wear is worn. These protective goggles should be worn for an entire month after LASIK, as it is imperative to protect your eyes from sudden jabs, bumps and acute trauma. However, with such durable protective eyewear, LASIK eye surgery patients can still enjoy playing their favorite sports within a half week after their procedure, never missing any training or playing time.

It is generally recommended that certain sports where sudden, blunt person-to-person contact is highly likely or guaranteed should be avoided completely for the first month to maximize safety and reduce chances for corneal displacement. Activities including karate, krav maga, kung fu and other martial arts pose higher injury risks due to their offensive and defensive processes.

The short LASIK recovery time helps contact sport athletes quickly eliminate:

  • Chances for broken glasses
  • Expensive prescription sports goggles purchases
  • The likelihood for contacts to fall out or shift out of place during games or matches
  • Risks for eye injuries from broken glasses
  • The irritation involved when sweat or sunscreen enters the eye and reacts with contacts and contact solution

If you are an everyday athlete that has thought about LASIK but feared your recovery would take too long or the procedure would not allow you to exercise for several weeks, we invite you to schedule a complimentary LASIK consultation with Dr. Mozayeni today.

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