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Superficial Keratectomy Postoperative Instructions

Postoperative Instructions: Superficial Keratectomy

Activities and Restrictions:

  • Be careful not to rub, bump, or press on your operative eye for 1-2 months
  • You may bathe the day after surgery. When bathing, keep water out of the operative eye.
  • Do not go swimming, use a hot tub, spa or whirlpool for at least 10 days to reduce the risk of infection.
  • Resume driving only when advised by your doctor and when you feel confident and safe.
  • You may return to work with a light workload after four or five days.
  • Do not use eye makeup, colognes, or aftershave for 5 days. Do not use mascara for 2 weeks. Use care when removing makeup. Avoid rubbing your eyelids aggressively. A magnifying mirror will make it easier to apply you makeup. Using fresh mascara or liquid eyeliner after surgery will reduce the risk of infection from the product being contaminated.
  • Wear sunglasses for comfort as needed. You may be slightly more light sensitive for the first couple of weeks after surgery.
  • Avoid dirty, dusty and smoky environments for 1 week. The first reflex might be to rub the eye which we do not want you to do.
  • Remember that you should wear safety glasses if you are doing anything during which you might get hit in the eye, poked in the eye or have anything splash in your eye after surgery. Industrial grade, wrap-around safety glasses may be obtained at any hardware store or home center.
  • Use recommended artificial tears on a regular basis the first month after surgery even if you do not feel as though you need them.
  • Your glasses prescription can be updated 2 months after surgery when the vision has stabilized.

Common Symptoms during Recovery:

  • It is common to experience varying degrees of discomfort beginning 30 to 90 minutes following the surgery as the numbing drops begin to wear off. Many patients describe this sensation as feeling like an eyelash is in the eye or lodged beneath the contact lens. This rarely lasts more than a few days and is a normal part of the healing process. Remember that the doctor will put a contact lens in your eye directly after surgery to act as a bandage. It is important not to remove the contact lens for any reason because without it, the pain will increase and your eye may not heal normally.
  • A contact lens that has fallen out accidentally should NOT be reinserted. If you do so, the contact lens has likely been contaminated therefore increasing the risk of infection, which could permanently affect your vision. Instead, continue using your eye drops, gently tape the eye closed and call us so that we can insert a new contact lens that same day or the following morning.
  • The bandage contact lens in combination with lubricating drops, prescription eye drops (to be used as directed by the surgical team) and mild, oral analgesics should provide relief. Also, you can place a cold washcloth or an ice pack over the eye to help relieve discomfort (10 minutes on, 10 minutes off and repeat as needed). In most cases, the bandage contact lens will be removed by the doctors on the 4th or 5th postoperative day. After this, the eye will become more comfortable and your vision will begin to improve.
  • You may experience watery eyes, a runny nose, light sensitivity and eye redness during the early postoperative period. This is normal and is caused by the post-surgical eye irritation.
  • You may experience “hazy” vision during the recovery period. The vision should begin to stabilize after the bandage contact lens is removed from your eye. Although visual recovery is slower for some patients, most experience improved vision by one month.
  • Some patients have dry eye symptoms causing a sandy sensation or eye tenderness. This may persist for several weeks following the surgery and is best treated with frequent artificial tear use.
  • Infection is very rare but is the most serious problem that can present after this procedure. It is important to be evaluated immediately if you experience extreme pain, eye redness, sudden blurred vision and/or discharge.
  • It is very important that you make it to all of your postoperative examinations so that if any changes or complications arise, they can be addressed immediately.