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Climbing after Lasik

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feifei · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 0


I just did lasik to correct my visions, and the doctor said no dusty environment (I guess no rock climbing then) or strenuous activities for a week. But I wonder if it's safe to fall while bouldering or to take a big whipper after that one week.

If anyone has done lasik please let me know! Much appreciated!

JK- Branin · · Southern New Hampshire · Joined Nov 2012 · Points: 58

I'd ask the doctor...

Glass Tupperware · · Atlanta · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 45

So, the main concern is flap complications. Your cornea has a ~200µm thick flap that is currently mostly held in place by surface tension. It's best to avoid disrupting this flap (getting dust in your eye, swimming with your eyes open, etc) until the cornea has a little time to heal. If you disrupt the flap and don't deal with it properly, the epithelial cells on your corneal surface can potentially invade this flap and create serious issues for your future eyesight.

There are alternative corrective procedures such as LASEK and PRK that do not create a flap, but have longer/more painful recovery times. I had LASEK a little over a year ago, and was back taking falls within a week (I think I took 4 days off). But, I didn't have to worry about flap complications

Asking your doc is probably the best way to go, and if you notice anything weird you should tend to it quickly. If I were you, I'd probably climb/boulder at the 1 week mark. But, they're your eyes!

Ross Ayer · · Southington, CT · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 60

wear goggles! lol

John Wilder · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Feb 2004 · Points: 1,530

The first time I had lasik, I waited a month before i started climbing.

The second time I had the procedure, I think I waited 2-3 weeks. I wasnt really in a rush because having eye problems is not something I need in my life, and a longish break now and then is good for the body. I timed my second surgery for my annual sabbatical from climbing (August), so I wouldnt be in a rush to get back on the rock anyway.

The best advice I can give is follow the post-op instructions exactly, get a good pair of sunglasses, and be patient. As far as recoveries go, lasik is pretty relaxed.

jdejace · · New England · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 5

I got cleared for everything after a couple of weeks. Falls shouldn't be a big deal, it's mostly getting something in your eye and rubbing them that'll screw you.

Obviously, you should ask your ophthalmologist.

feifei · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 0

Guys, thanks so much for the input!

None of the staff at lasik center climbs, so I guess they are not sure about what kind of risks it involves. They just gave me a very conservative answer of a month. I think I'll wait for at least a week though; getting chalk in my eyes wouldn't be fun.

Matt Westlake · · Durham, NC · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 588

Just wait a bit until your eyes feel more normal. I have had a variety of eye stuff done from LASIK up to retinal detachment surgery and a few things in between (got a bit unlucky) and your best bet is just suck up the wait time and avoid getting potentially infectious gunk and dirt in your still healing eye. +1 on John Wilder's recommendation for some good sunglasses. Post any of these surgeries my eyes have always been (and remained) more sensitive to light. My vision is a bit complicated but I also noticed that I have a bit harder time with strong contrast - things like looking at a corner on a shadowy arete with bright light behind it. I guess it depends on where you climb but as an NC trad climber I run into a lot of crunchy lichen bits and dirt that just seems to want to get into my eyes which sunglasses also help fend off.

Good luck and take your time. Enjoy your new and improved vision - the post glasses/contacts life is such an improvement. Growing up wearing glasses was annoying at times but my worst experience might have been with contacts. I was scubadiving and managed to blink both lenses out into my mask while about 40 feet down...

Fernando Cal · · Long Beach, CA · Joined Dec 2015 · Points: 5

I got lasik a few years back. Wait a few days. Besides, after a few days of rest you give your muscles some time to heal and come back stronger. Give your eyes time to properly heal. I waited a week before doing any sort of activity after my procedure....but im not a doctor

Bread Pirate Rahsahbi · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2015 · Points: 0

i had lasik a few years ago so forgive me if i dont remember all the details.
my eye doctor was most concerned about the increase in pressure in your eye related to strenuous exercise and advised that i take two weeks off (could be more or less time depending on age? i was 22 when i had it). i did this and had no problems

cyclestupor · · Woodland Park, Colorado · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 93

When I had LASIK (over 10 years ago), I ended up with severely dry eyes for about 5 months (if I remember correctly) after surgery. Although you may not have as severe of a problem with dry eyes as I did, almost everyone who gets LASIK will have dry eyes to some extent. The reason for it is that when they cut the corneal flap, they damage/sever some of the nerves responsible for controlling tear production.

If your corneal flap hasn't healed yet, then combining dry eyes with a dusty environment is a recipe for disaster. Make sure you bring eye drops and/or eye wash with you to the crag. If you have trouble with allergies (as I did), you may have to use some hypoallergenic eye drops without preservatives.

Also, as others have suggested, sunglasses are a must.

Ryan Bowen · · Bend, Or · Joined Mar 2017 · Points: 85

I had Lasik back in October. Took about a month for my flaps to heal completely. If the doc said to wait, just take time off. Your eyes are about the most important thing that we take for granted. One month of no climbing is nothing compared to a lifetime of eye issues because you rushed the healing process.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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