Skip to Content

How do you keep your eyes still after LASIK?

LASIK (Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis) is a type of refractive eye surgery that uses a laser to reshape the cornea and improve vision. Many patients wonder how they can keep their eyes still during the initial healing process after LASIK to allow for proper recovery.

Why you need to keep your eyes still after LASIK

Keeping your eyes still and avoiding rubbing or touching them is very important after LASIK surgery for several reasons:

  • To allow the corneal flap created during surgery to fully adhere and seal.
  • To prevent dislodging the flap, which could lead to vision problems or infections.
  • To avoid disrupting the reshaped cornea and impacting the results of the surgery.
  • To reduce inflammation and irritation as the eyes start to heal.

During the first 24 hours after the procedure, the corneal flap is most vulnerable to displacement. After this critical period, patients still need to be very careful not to rub or bump their eyes for at least the first week as the flap continues to heal.

Tips to keep your eyes still and avoid rubbing after LASIK

Here are some useful tips to help keep your eyes calm and still after LASIK surgery:

Wear the eye shields as directed

Your surgeon will provide you with plastic eye shields to wear at night as you sleep. This will prevent you from inadvertently rubbing your eyes when you are not consciously controlling your movements.

Use lubricating eye drops frequently

Your eyes may feel scratchy or dry after LASIK, especially in the first few days. Use the lubricating drops as directed by your surgeon to relieve discomfort and reduce the urge to rub your eyes. Some common drops prescribed include artificial tears, gels, or ointments.

Avoid touching the eye area

Be very mindful not to touch the area around your eyes, even if you have an itch or irritation. Instead, use a clean tissue to lightly dab or pat the skin around the eyes if needed.

Keep a barrier near the eyes

Consider lightly tucking a clean handkerchief into your collar or shirt near the eyes. This acts as a reminder barrier to keep your hands away from rubbing the eyes.

Keep your hands busy

Keep your hands occupied with activities like squeezing a stress ball so you don’t unconsciously rub your eyes. Some patients wear light gloves or mittens to prevent touching the eyes while awake.

Avoid eye makeup

Don’t wear eye makeup like mascara or use eye creams for at least a week until the eyes have had time to heal properly.

Take breaks when using digital devices

Looking at screens can cause eye strain or fatigue after LASIK. Take regular breaks from digital devices and be sure to use proper lighting and device positioning to reduce discomfort.

Use sunglasses outdoors

Wearing UV-blocking sunglasses when outside will protect the eyes from wind, debris, and sunlight irritation. This helps prevent squinting or rubbing the eyes.

Adjust your sleeping position

Avoid sleeping on your stomach or rubbing your eyes on the pillow. Use an extra pillow to prop up your head at night.

Ask for help with eye drop administration

Have a family member or friend help administer prescribed eye drops for the first few days to avoid touching the eyes yourself.

Stay relaxed

Practice relaxation techniques like deep breathing to stay calm. Anxiety or stress can increase urges to rub the eyes.

Use a humidifier

A humidifier adds moisture to the air, helping relieve dry eye discomfort that could cause rubbing.

Medications to prevent eye rubbing after LASIK

Some doctors may prescribe sedative medications to take at bedtime to prevent nocturnal eye rubbing in the first week after surgery. Common options include:

Medication Effects
Oral sedative pills Induce drowsiness and sleep to prevent unconscious eye rubbing
Oral anti-anxiety medication Reduce anxiety that can lead to touching the eyes
Oral muscle relaxants Relax muscles that control eye movement and touching

Talk to your ophthalmologist about whether any supplements or medications may be helpful for your specific case.

What to do if you rub your eye after LASIK

If you accidentally rub your eye in the first weeks after LASIK, don’t panic. Here’s what you should do:

  • Do NOT continue to rub – immediately pull your hand away from the eye.
  • Gently flush the eye with lubricating drops to ease any discomfort.
  • Check vision in the rubbed eye – contact your surgeon if any sudden changes.
  • Take any prescribed anti-inflammatory drops to prevent infection.
  • Avoid touching the eye again and reinforce prevention tactics.
  • See your surgeon promptly if you have any concerns.

With proper precautions, most patients are able to avoid rubbing or touching the eyes during the recovery period after LASIK surgery. Be patient with the healing process and persistent in keeping your hands away from the eyes. Contact your ophthalmologist right away if you have any worrisome symptoms after accidentally rubbing the eye.


Keeping your eyes calm and hands away from rubbing is critical to proper healing after LASIK surgery. Use protective eyewear, control behaviors, practice relaxation techniques, and talk to your doctor about medications that can aid in preventing eye rubbing during the recovery period. Be vigilant but don’t panic if accidental touching occurs – just reinforce prevention tactics and contact your surgeon with any concerns.