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Watching TV puts a strain on the eyes, so if you’re recovering from LASIK, it’s best avoided for the first 24 hours. But if you love nothing more than snuggling up on the sofa with a box set, don’t worry – after a day or two, you’ll be able to catch up on all the episodes you missed. Here we’ll explain the LASIK recovery period, how screen time affects your eyes, and what you can do to mitigate dry eyes and eye strain when watching TV.

Allowing your eyes to heal

LASIK has a fast recovery time, and many patients are back at work and carrying on with most of their daily routine within a day or two of surgery. But in the first 24 hours after LASIK it’s very important to give your eyes time to heal.

For the first few hours, you’ll need to rest your eyes; keep them closed and remain in a dark place if you can. To prevent infection you should avoid anything getting into your eyes, so stay away from dusty places and don’t rub your eyes. You’ll need to wear eye guards when you go to bed at night, and you shouldn’t wear eye makeup or get water in your eyes (opt for a bath instead of a shower.) You’ll need to apply antibiotic eye drops and artificial tears. During this time you shouldn’t do anything strenuous for your eyes, so screen time should be avoided.

After 24 hours have passed, you will have a check-up from your surgeon, and it’s likely that you’ll be able to resume many of your usual everyday activities, including reading and watching TV. It’s good to be aware of the effects that screen time can have on our eyes, however, and take measures to mitigate these.

watching TV after LASIKHow screens affect our eyes

Even in healthy individuals who haven’t undergone eye surgery, too much screen time can be problematic. Whether you’re watching TV, browsing your smartphone or spending hours at the computer, looking at a screen for extended periods of time can cause eye strain and / or dry eyes.

What makes screens such a problem? There are two main factors:

  • When watching TV, we blink less frequently, meaning that our eyes dry out more easily.
  • The glare that comes from the screen makes us vulnerable to eye strain.

Tips for watching TV after laser eye surgery

When watching TV after LASIK it’s particularly important to take good care of your eyes, so follow these tips to ensure optimum recovery:

  • Take regular screen breaks – walk away from your computer every 20 minutes at work, and avoid box set binges in favour of short periods of viewing.
  • Make sure you don’t sit too close to the TV.
  • Consider adjusting your screen settings and the lighting in the room to reduce glare.
  • Use eye drops to prevent dry eyes.
  • Enjoy the clarity: following surgery you’ll be able to see things more clearly than ever!

Find out more about what’s involved in LASIK laser eye surgery and how it can improve your vision.