If you are a frequent flyer, live abroad or you are considering having laser eye surgery but have an upcoming holiday it’s important you know how soon after surgery it is safe to fly again.
Generally, there are no real, direct risks related to flying after your procedure, however, it is advised that you wait for at least a week until flying again purely for your own comfort and the ability to see your treating surgeon again if you need to. If it is absolutely essential you fly sooner than this it is important you consult your surgeon as ultimately the final and professional decision is down to them and will be different for different people. Everyone’s eyes heal at different rates so this will affect the decision your surgeon will come to.
The only issue flying will cause is dryness of your eyes. The altitude has no effect on your eyes, however, the atmosphere inside an aeroplane is extremely dry and will dry your eyes out quickly. Following laser eye surgery your eyes are more likely to be drier than usual so make sure to take your lubricant eye drops on any flight with you to prevent your eyes becoming dry.
Having dry eyes does not directly affect the healing of your eyes after surgery but it can make them itchy, which in turn increases the likelihood of you scratching or rubbing your eyes and increasing the risk of infection. The chances are your eyes will feel more uncomfortable sitting on an aeroplane than they would if you were sitting in your living room.
Obviously long-haul flight are worse than short-haul as your eyes are exposed to the dryer atmosphere for longer but the advice for both are the same – take your lubricant eye drops!
It is important to bear in mind that part of your post-surgery care is for you to attend two follow-up appointments. The first appointment is a day after surgery. The second appointment is usually scheduled for 5-7 days after the initial follow-up appointment. We do ask that you attend both these appointments before flying, which does mean it’s likely to be a full week after your surgery before you are able to fly to accommodate these follow-ups