A commerical jet.

You’ve recently undergone LASIK surgery, and now you’re wondering, “Can you fly after LASIK?” Rest assured, you’re not alone in asking this question. This comprehensive guide will address air travel concerns and precautions after LASIK surgery, ensuring you’re well-prepared for your next journey.

Key Takeaways

  • Consult a surgeon before flying after LASIK surgery to understand potential complications.
  • Use artificial tears and stay hydrated during flights to reduce discomfort post-surgery.
  • Follow activity restrictions, attend postoperative appointments, and contact your surgeon with any concerns for successful recovery from LASIK surgery.

Is It Safe to Fly After LASIK Surgery?

A person wearing glasses before and after laser eye surgery

Most patients find flying safe after LASIK surgery, but they should remember the healing process, timing, and potential complications during air and travel plans. Most patients receive authorization to fly after their post-operative consultation, typically within a day after the procedure. However, individual recovery times vary, so consult your surgeon before travelling.

For a smooth and comfortable flight experience, understanding the factors contributing to healing and potential complications during your journey is beneficial, helping you to fly sooner.

Healing Process and Flight Timing

While flying within a day or so after LASIK surgery is generally safe, doctors recommend waiting at least a week before taking to the skies to ensure proper healing and avoid discomfort. It’s worth noting that the healing process after LASIK generally takes 3-6 months, during which visual acuity is expected to improve gradually.

Many patients worry about the effects of cabin pressure on their eyes following LASIK surgery. However, it is not believed that altitude has a significant effect on LASIK wound healing. Attending a post-operative appointment guarantees proper healing and guides the safe timing to fly post-LASIK surgery.

Potential Complications During Air Travel

While flying after LASIK surgery may seem daunting, potential complications during air travel are manageable. Dry cabin air and the potential for infections are the primary risks that may be encountered during air travel after LASIK surgery. To ensure a comfortable flight and allow your eyes to heal properly, using artificial tears, staying hydrated, and minimizing eye strain is recommended.

Dry cabin air can aggravate dry eyes, a common transient side effect of LASIK surgery. The low humidity and air circulation in the atmosphere inside the cabin can further dry out the eyes and increase the risk of infection. Hence, LASIK patients should use eye drops to keep their eyes lubricated during air travel to minimize possible complications.

Precautions for Flying After LASIK Surgery

Using eye drops to keep eyes moist after LASIK, pre-flying.

Taking certain precautions can help ensure a comfortable flight after LASIK surgery. Most doctors agree that it is typically safe to fly one-day post-LASIK surgery, although it may take a few days in some cases. To make your journey an enjoyable experience, consider implementing strategies such as the use of artificial tears, adequate hydration, and reduced eye strain.

The following sections will delve deeper into these precautions, offering valuable insights to enhance your air travel experience post-LASIK procedure and LASIK surgery.

Keeping Eyes Moist with Artificial Tears

Utilizing artificial tears regularly during air travel can help maintain eye moisture and avert any discomfort caused by dry cabin air. Following LASIK surgery, lubricating eye drops or artificial tears can be utilized to maintain ocular moisture. Your physician may recommend antibiotics or steroid eye drops for post-operative use. It is advisable to utilize preservative-free eye drops for optimal results.

Applying artificial tears every few hours during air travel after LASIK surgery is advisable, particularly for patients in extremely dry, climates and air-conditioned environments. Keeping the eyes lubricated throughout the trip ensures comfort and promotes healing.

Staying Hydrated and Avoiding Alcohol

Drinking water and avoiding alcohol during flights can help maintain hydration and facilitate the healing process following LASIK surgery. Maintaining adequate hydration can help keep eyes lubricated and reduce any discomfort caused by dry cabin air.

Dehydration can cause occlusion of the central retinal veins, leading to inadequate blood flow and swelling. This can result in:

  • Eye dryness
  • Irritation
  • Blurred vision
  • Headaches

Hence, maintaining hydration is crucial for your eyes healing and your eyes’ health post-eye surgery.

Minimizing Eye Strain and Screen Time

Reducing screen time post-LASIK surgery is vital as prolonged gazing at screens laser eye surgery can increase eye dryness and strain, hindering healing. It is recommended to abstain from looking at screens for at least 24 hours after LASIK surgery.

Decreasing the time spent on digital devices and allowing for periodic rest periods can help decrease eye strain during air travel following LASIK surgery. Taking breaks from reading and engaging in other activities, such as listening to music or podcasts, can reduce eye strain and promote a comfortable flight experience.

Post-LASIK Activities and Restrictions

Awareness of activity restrictions and gradual resumption of low-impact activities post-LASIK surgery is crucial. The subsequent sections will discuss the recommended waiting periods for swimming and water sports, and suitable low-impact activities during your recovery.

Swimming and Water Sports

It is recommended to abstain from swimming and water sports for at least two weeks and one week post-LASIK surgery to reduce the risk of complications and infections. To further protect your eyes, it is advised to:

  • Wait at least 1-2 weeks before swimming in pools
  • Avoid submerging your eyes underwater for approximately one month following LASIK surgery
  • Wear goggles during water activities to prevent potential irritations.

Avoiding chlorinated pools for the initial few weeks post-surgery is recommended to reduce the risk of infection. Following these guidelines can help ensure a safe and smooth transition back to your favourite water sports and activities.

Low-Impact Activities

A person practicing yoga, a low-impact activity, after LASIK surgery, which raises the question: Can you fly after LASIK?

Low-impact activities that can generally be resumed after 2-4 weeks of LASIK surgery include:

  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Walking
  • Gentle stretching
  • Light exercises

Engaging in these activities can assist in the healing process while avoiding any strain or irritation to the eyes, especially when wearing glasses or contact lenses.

Before resuming low-impact activities, consulting your surgeon is crucial as they can provide advice tailored to your surgery and recovery process. Adhering to their guidance ensures a safe return to your favourite activities without risking complications or eye damage.

Consultation with Your Surgeon

A person wearing glasses and talking to a doctor

Scheduling post-operative appointments and addressing any concerns or questions with your surgeon is crucial to ensuring a smooth recovery and safe air travel after LASIK surgery.

The subsequent sections will delve into the significance of post-operative appointments and effective communication with your surgeon to address any concerns or questions.

Post-Operative Appointments

Attending follow-up appointments guarantees proper healing and guides on the safe time to fly post-LASIK surgery. The typical schedule of post-operative appointments following LASIK surgery includes appointments at:

  • 24 to 48 hours
  • one week
  • one month
  • three months
  • six months
  • one year after the surgery.

These appointments allow your surgeon to monitor your healing progress and provide personalized advice on when it is safe to fly and resume various activities. Adhering to the follow-up appointment schedule is essential for a successful recovery and a comfortable flying experience post-LASIK.

Addressing Concerns and Questions

Communicating concerns or questions with your surgeon is vital to ensure a comfortable and safe flying experience post-LASIK surgery. If you experience any of the following, it is crucial to contact your surgeon for further guidance:

  • Worsening vision
  • Significant pain
  • Signs of infection (such as fever)
  • Redness
  • Eye irritation that does not go away as advised

You should consult your doctor if you experience any unusual symptoms or discomfort in your eyes after flying post-LASIK surgery. Open communication with your surgeon can help address any concerns and ensure a successful recovery and comfortable air travel experience after laser eye surgery.


In conclusion, flying after LASIK surgery is generally safe, but it’s essential to consider the healing process, timing, and potential complications. Following the recommended precautions, attending post-operative appointments, and consulting with your surgeon can ensure a smooth recovery and enjoy a comfortable and worry-free flying experience after LASIK surgery. So, pack your bags and prepare to embark on your next adventure with a clear vision!

Frequently Asked Questions

How soon can you fly after LASIK?

You can fly on the day of the LASIK procedure, while for SMILE patients, 24-48 hours is the recommendation.

Can you fly a plane if you get LASIK?

Yes, you can usually fly a plane after getting LASIK. Your doctor will likely advise you to wait a few days before flying, and SMILE patients may need to wait 24-48 hours. Always check with your doctor for their specific recommendation.

Does altitude affect LASIK eye surgery?

LASIK and PRK Laser Vision Correction perform well at high altitudes, while Radial Keratotomy (RK) has been associated with visual problems at extreme altitudes above 9,000 feet.

How can I keep my eyes moist during air travel after LASIK surgery?

To keep your eyes moist during air travel after LASIK surgery, it is recommended to use artificial tears for dry eyes every few hours.

When can I resume swimming and water sports after LASIK surgery?

Staining from swimming and water sports for at least one week post-LASIK surgery is recommended, so you should resume these activities afterward.


  1. American Academy of Ophthalmology. (2020). LASIK surgery: What to expect after LASIK. https://www.aao.org/eye-health/treatments/lasik-surgery-what-to-expect-after-lasik
  2. Brue, S. (2018, March 26). Flying after LASIK: What you need to know. Vision Source. https://www.visionsource.com/blog/lasik/flying-after-lasik-what-you-need-to-know
  3. Erickson, P. (2018, October 29). Flying after LASIK: Tips for a smooth trip. All About Vision. https://www.allaboutvision.com/visionsurgery/flying-after-lasik.htm
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  6. National Eye Institute. (n.d.). LASIK eye surgery. https://www.nei.nih.gov/learn-about-eye-health/eye-conditions-and-diseases/lasik-eye-surgery
  7. Oschner, J. (2018, April 12). Flying after LASIK surgery: Tips and advice. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/eye-health/flying-after-lasik#preparation
  8. Parkhurst, G. (2018, October 2). Flying after LASIK surgery: What you need to know. All About Vision. https://www.allaboutvision.com/visionsurgery/flying-after-lasik.htm
  9. PR Newswire. (2018, September 10). Flying after LASIK? Here are 5 tips for a smooth trip. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/flying-after-lasik-here-are-5-tips-for-a-smooth-trip-300710413.html
  10. Vision Source. (2020). Flying after LASIK surgery. https://www.visionsource.com/blog/lasik/flying-after-lasik-surgery


Photo graph of Dr. Conlon operating with loops on.

Dr. M. Ronan Conlon started his career in the field of ophthalmology at the same time as the development of refractive eye surgery in Canada. In 1996, he brought laser technology to Canada from Germany, which allowed him to perform laser eye surgery before it was available in the United States. With the establishment of the Conlon Eye Institute, Dr. Conlon has performed more than 40,000 refractive procedures and has advanced his expertise in LASIK and refractive cataract surgery.

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