LASIK surgery has become one of the most popular and widely performed eye procedures in many parts of the world. This procedure essentially involves re-sculpting the cornea, and then the patient can leave the hospital right after surgery. However, going scuba diving after LASIK eye surgery may not be a good idea.
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Scuba Diving after LASIK Surgery
Diving exposes the entire body, including the eyes, to increased barometric pressure. Failing to properly manage or adapt to this pressure change increases the likelihood of experiencing “the bends.” It is also worth noting that increased barometric pressure does not necessarily affect the eye’s vitreous and aqueous fluids, because they are not compressible. However, any gas that might have been trapped inside your eyes during the surgery would be compressed while scuba diving. This is dangerous given the nature of LASIK procedures.
In general, surgeons performing this procedure cut and pull back the outer flap of the eye. This allows them to resculpt the cornea and then replace eye flap pulled back to its original position. While diving, changes in barometric pressure will certainly have an impact on gas trapped inadvertently during LASIK eye surgery; this further leads to possible dislodgement of the unhealed eye flap.
In general, the deeper you dive, the higher the likelihood of severe complications. This happens because gas volume will change at a rate inversely proportional to diving depth according to Boyle’s gas law. For this reason, it is not advisable to go diving immediately, or even a few days, after undergoing this surgery. Diving also increases risk of infections caused by bacteria present in many open waters, such as oceans.
If you have had LASIK surgery and would like to go scuba diving, you should wait until your eyes heal. By waiting, you won’t run the risk of causing your eye flaps to become dislodged while under deep sea waters; or of bringing further injury to your eyes and delaying the healing process.