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How Soon Can I Go Running After Lasik Eye Surgery?

I'm an avid runner, and I'm supposed to have my Lasik procedure in about a week. I'm wondering how soon after the procedure I'll be able to be running again. Is it possible that the impact from running might affect my recovery or the healing? Or is there no risk involved?

Doctor Answers 10

How Soon Can I Run After LASIK

You can resume running after LASIK within three to seven days if you wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from external elements such as sun and wind.  It is also important to not rub your eyes. Perspiration may cause your eyes to burn so consider running with a sweatband and/or hat.

San Diego Ophthalmologist
4.5 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Running and Exercise After LASIK

It is important to remember that while LASIK is associated with a rapid visual recovery it is still a surgical procedure that requires the healing of tissues. It takes about 6 months for the LASIK flap to reintegrate into the cornea strongly enough that it is difficult to lift or dislodge. However everyday after the procedure the flap adhesion strengthens.

We recommend our patients sleep with a shield for the first week after surgery and wear protective eyewear (sun or clear) to avoid rubbing the eyes. A month after surgery the flap is extremely unlikely to be dislodged. A week out after the procedure it I believe it is safe enough to jog if protective eyewear is in place.

Arthur Benjamin, MD
West Hollywood Ophthalmologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Running After LASIK

Most people can go running a week after LASIK. Your surgeon will see you one week post-op and at that time he should be able to tell you for certain, but be careful even one week after surgery. It is best to approach exercise with caution for at least a month after surgery.

Michael K. Tracy, MD
San Diego Ophthalmologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Exercise after LASIK

Reasonable running and exercise is not a problem the next day after LASIK.  I usually tell patients to make sure to keep their eyes lubricated with frequent artificial tears and protected from the wind.  Also if you are running or working out in a gym, avoid fans as they can exacerbate dryness.   Dryness is something that can negatively impact your recovery process.  I do have my patients refrain from swimming for a week after LASIK

Paul C. Kang, MD
Washington DC Ophthalmologist

Running is allowed the day after LASIK

Running is allowed the day after surgery. Speedy recovery is one of the great things about LASIK.

Christopher Coad, MD
New York Ophthalmologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Running post LASIK

On average many LASIK surgeons would likely recommend waiting about 7 days before resuming strenuous activity and exercise after uneventful LASIK surgery. Since running, unlike team sports like football, basketball and soccer, is lower risk for direct ocular trauma, it can often be resumed sooner but protective eyewear should be used. That being said, there is always risk with any physical activity of developing a flap complication, inflammation or infection. Since every surgery is unique and everyone heals differently I would defer to your surgeon for guidance on resuming running and other physical activity.

Christopher Starr, MD
New York Ophthalmologist

Avid Running Post-LASIK

For avid runners, waiting a week Post-LASIK would be recommended to ensure that the body has had ample time to recover from the procedures.  Although most people return to their daily routines the day after their procedure, routines that are physically vigorous ought to be on hiatus for a week until your Dr. gives you the green light that everything has properly healed.  The biggest fear is injury to the eye during rigorous activity.  It can be as mindless as rubbing your eye if a particle flew in there while running or an object striking the eyes during the run. 

Once your doctor gives you the okay to run again, be sure to wear sunglasses to protect your eyes during the day.  Regardless of if you have had LASIK or not, sunglasses are always a good idea to protect your eyes from harmful sun rays.

Robert T. Lin, MD
City Of Industry Ophthalmologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Exercise after LASIK

My patients are able to run the next day...  The few restrictions I give are:  no swimming, hot tube or steam baths for a few weeks and nor rubbing of the eyes for 4-6 months.  That's it!

Cary M. Silverman, MD
West Orange Ophthalmologist

How Soon Can I Run After LASIK

I typically advise my patients who are avid runners to wait about 4-5 days before running again. There are two reasons why. The first is to avoid perspiration getting into the eyes. This is, frankly, less of an issue in March in the midatlantic than, let's say, August. The second reason is to avoid the rare instance of something hitting your eye while running......a tree branch is a good example. So for these two reasons, a week off of running is more than enough time. If you have some sunglasses, or your doctor provides a pair post surgery(my office does), then I would wear them while running for the first week or two just to be on the safe side.

Anthony J. Kameen, MD
Baltimore Ophthalmologist

Running after LASIK vs LASEK

any activity after LASIK that can result in your eye getting hit by something puts you at risk of having the LASIK flap that's been cut come back up. every high-volume refractive surgeon (defined as performing 1,000 cases or more every year) has seen SEVERAL patients who had LASIK who got hit in the eye with a ball, or a finger playing basketball, or falling down and the FLAP COMES BACK UP. sometimes, the flap is actually torn off. often, it can be sewn back in place, but usually this results in some fine wrinkles in the flap called striae, which often cause diplopia, or double vision. rarely, you can't find the flap, as it winds up on the playground or whatever, so you're missing a part of your eyeball forever, which does not exactly enable you to see a normal 20/20 afterwards

what the average person doesn't realize is that the LASIK flap NEVER FULLY HEALS and can be VERY EASILY DISLODGED FOR YEARS AFTERWARDS. that's why a surgeon can enhance a LASIK years afterwards simply by lifting the flap back up and lasering the bed and putting the flap back down--because the flap never seals down fully!

this is why i switched my entire practice to LASEK a few years ago, because there isno flap at all in the first place. this is why i have boxers, wrestlers, mixed martial arts professionals, and military special forces patients in my office every week--because they cannot afford the risk of trauma to the eye and having the flap come up, so they can only get the safer non-cutting LASEK.  So, to answer your question, it is never fully safe to engage in ANY CONTACT SPORTS after LASIK, but it is 100% safe after the noncutting LASEK and epiLASEK procedures (we recommend 1 week after for sports and 2 weeks after for contact sports, including getting hit in the head with someone else's elbow in a metal cage, which apparently is what the professional mixed martial arts guy i did LASEK on last week does for a living!);)

Emil Chynn, MD, FACS, MBA

Emil Chynn, MD
New York Ophthalmologist
4.5 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.