Travel by Airplane After LASIK
LASIK is a convenient outpatient procedure that allows a return to normal activity almost immediately, but what about flying after LASIK? Many patients worry that the change in air pressure involved in airline travel may be a hazard for those with surgically altered corneas. Fortunately, in most cases, there is nothing to fear.
Flying after LASIK can usually occur within a few days of the surgery, though you should always check with your doctor to make sure since your doctor knows the exact procedure that was performed on your eyes. The main thing you may notice, if you do fly, is that the air in the aircraft cabin may cause your eyes to feel a little bit itchy and dry. It is imperative that you do not rub your eyes during the postoperative period. Instead, try using artificial teardrops to lubricate the eyes, or close your eyes and let your eyelids protect them for a while.
If you do choose to fly, make sure it is not until after your post-operative appointment. LASIK is a delicate procedure, and it is only after your ophthalmic team has determined that your eye has sufficiently recovered that you should fly after LASIK. If an emergency mandates that you fly before this point, ask your surgeon to recommend another specialist at your destination, so that you may be seen when you arrive.
While flying after LASIK is not dangerous, there are some procedures after which air travel is not advised. In a case where a bubble of gas is placed in the eye, flying can be hazardous. These are not typical procedures, but typically are those that involve operation on the retina. An example of this type of procedure is retinal detachment repair. The reason flying after such a surgery is dangerous is that gas within the eye can expand at high altitudes, causing damage to the eye and the vision.
As stated above, it is always important to consult your surgeon before making decisions about activities following your LASIK surgery, including flying after LASIK. If you are looking for a doctor in the Dallas area, consider leading surgeon Gary Tylock, of Tylock-George Eye Care and Laser Center. With over twenty-five years in the field, Dr. Tylock has actually been instrumental in the development of equipment used in laser vision correction. Visit the Tylock website to learn more, or connect with the online community on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Linked In.