Can I swim after laser eye surgery?

24 January 2023

Author: Kate Green

swimming after laser eye surgery

Can I swim after laser eye surgery?


We hear from lots of our patients that one of the best parts of life after laser is going on holiday. From not having to pack your contact lenses and contact lens solution, and not worrying about losing your prescription sunglasses, to jumping in the pool without removing your lenses or glasses first – the benefits are endless! We see lots of patients visit us in the spring time so that they can be glasses-free for their summer holidays, and one of the first things they often ask is when they can go swimming after having had laser eye surgery.


We tend to advise our patients to wait a month after their LASIK or LASEK surgery before going swimming again. Read on to discover why that is and our other advice for protecting your eyes and vision after laser eye surgery.


What is laser eye surgery?


Laser eye surgery is a procedure to improve your vision by reshaping your cornea. By changing the shape of the cornea, light refracts differently into your eye which can correct your vision – whether you’re long- or short-sighted – leaving you free from relying on glasses and contact lenses. We offer both LASIK and LASEK here at Ultralase. At your free consultation with us, your optometrist will recommend the type of laser treatment best suited to you, based on a number of factors including your prescription and eye health. Find out more about the difference between LASIK and LASEK.


How long after laser eye surgery can I swim?


After your laser eye surgery, be that LASIK or LASEK, your eyes will be more vulnerable to infection and irritation while they heal. This is why we recommend that patients wait a month before resuming swimming or water sports. Chlorine in swimming pools can irritate your eyes during this sensitive healing period. However, this doesn’t just mean you can swim in fresh water instead as it can carry waterborne bacteria. Wait until your eyes are fully healed and the optometrist has given the go-ahead for you to take up swimming again.


How can laser eye surgery benefit swimmers?


Patients who swim regularly often tell us how much laser eye surgery has improved their overall experience – not to mention not needing prescription goggles anymore! If contact lenses cause you irritation throughout the day, once you’ve taken them out for your swim, your eyes are still likely to feel sensitive. The chlorine can aggravate that sensation, leading to an unpleasant swim, but having laser eye surgery can eliminate this issue in the future.


It goes without saying that you should never swim with contact lenses in – not only because it’s uncomfortable but because it can lead to nasty, sight-threatening eye infections. Swimming with glasses is also highly impractical, and prescription goggles are expensive. Goggles also seem to be one of those items which are constantly mislaid and, given that prescription goggles need to be custom made for each person, it can turn into a pretty pricey mistake.


We’ve treated a few patients who participate in triathlons, and they have highlighted to us the benefits of being able to hop out of the water and jump straight on the bike, without worrying about contact lenses or glasses. Even when it comes to being spontaneous and jumping into the pool on holiday, laser eye surgery means you can do that without thinking twice about your eyes!


Swimming after laser eye surgery


Ultimately, until your optometrist at Ultralase has confirmed that you can resume swimming after your laser eye surgery, we wouldn’t recommend that you do so. This is typically around a month after your treatment but can depend on a number of factors to do with your own healing journey and your overall eye health. If you experience any signs of infection, contact us for medical advice as soon as possible and ensure that you continue to use any prescribed eye drops.


Laser eye surgery is truly life-changing and can transform so many life experiences, including swimming. If you’d like to book in for your free consultation to find out if you’re suitable, you can do so in 3 easy ways:


We look forward to seeing you in an Ultralase clinic soon!

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