Can skydiving affect your eyes? Skydiving includes high speed freefall, variations in air pressure, temperature changes and the need for safety eyewear during the jump. People who have just undergone LASIK surgery might be (understandably) concerned about these variables since they can all affect the eyes.
What is LASIK Surgery?
To understand the compatibility of skydiving and LASIK surgery, it’s crucial to grasp the surgery process and its impact on vision correction. LASIK, or Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis, is a surgical procedure designed to permanently reshape the cornea, correcting common refractive errors like nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. The result? Clearer vision without the need for glasses or contact lenses. Imagine experiencing the thrill of skydiving and getting a clear view of our beautiful planet from thousands of feet in the air without needing corrective lenses!
Can You Skydive After LASIK?
Good news! The answer to the burning question, “Can you go skydiving after LASIK?”, is an affirmative: Yes! In general, skydiving after LASIK is considered safe as long as you’ve followed the post-LASIK recovery guidelines provided by the eye surgeon. It is crucial to follow these recommendations to ensure optimal healing and minimize any potential risks.
How Long After LASIK Can You Skydive?
Consulting with your eye care specialist or optometrist before starting any physical activity following LASIK, including skydiving, is key. They will evaluate how your recovery process is going and advise if your eyeballs are ready to brace the winds of skydiving or engage in any other activities.
The recovery period for LASIK starts about 24 hours after the surgery but will take a few weeks for the eyes to stabilize completely. Most optometrists will advise patients not to engage in any high-impact sports, including skydiving, for at least two to four weeks following surgery. Which is why we, and many others, recommend waiting at least one month following LASIK surgery before attempting to skydive.
However, if you rather err on the side of caution, usually all restrictions are lifted by the end of three months after the LASIK procedure. By this time, patients are usually cleared to take on more eye-impacting activities such as water skiing, scuba diving, snowboarding, and yes – skydiving. After six months, the eye should be healed enough to handle the wind speeds of skydiving freefall without goggles. That said, goggles are usually required for skydiving in general.
We want to reiterate that we are skydivers, not eye specialists! So, please consult your eye surgeon before attempting to skydive.
Potential Risks of Skydiving After LASIK
If you follow doctor’s orders, the risks associated with skydiving after LASIK are relatively low. But it is essential to be aware of potential issues that could impact your precious peepers. Here are some risks that could come with skydiving after LASIK:
- Improper Healing
The biggest risk of skydiving after LASIK eye surgery is not giving your eyes time to heal before going skydiving. This could impact the corneal flap and even potentially ruin the procedure.
- Dry Eyes
Cold air flowing into your eyes at 120 mph would cause any normal person to have a bit of dry eye. Recent LASIK patients may suffer modest dry eye symptoms throughout the recovery process which could be increased after skydiving.
- Eye Infections
There is the risk of eye infection when exposed to unfamiliar surroundings.
- UV Exposure
At greater altitudes during a skydive, you are more exposed to the sun’s dangerous UV rays.
Tips for Skydiving After LASIK
For individuals gearing up for skydiving adventure post-LASIK, here are some essential tips to provide some added comfort and enhance your experience:
- Wear Goggles
Goggles are usually required to make a skydive even if you haven’t had a recent LASIK procedure. Make sure the goggles are comfortable to wear and do not put any pressure or pain on your eyes. If you’re a sport jumper, wearing a full face helmet would be even better!
- Bring Artificial Tears
Application of artificial tears before and after the jump can lessen the possibility of aggravating dry eye.
- Practice Good Hygiene
To reduce the risk of eye infection, practice good hygiene and refrain from contacting your eyes with unwashed hands and maintaining clear eyewear protection.
- UV Protection
Eyes post-LASIK surgery are more sensitive to the sun’s UV rays. If you can, consider wearing UV-protective eyewear like UV-blocking sunglasses or goggles to protect your eyes from damaging UV radiation.
- Inform Your Instructor
For tandem skydivers, be sure to communicate to your tandem instructor that you’ve had a recent LASIK surgery and address any specific concerns or accommodations you may need. They may even have some recommendations to minimize the impact on your eyes while in freefall.
Skydiving After LASIK at Skydive STL
At Skydive STL, your safety and comfort are our top priorities. And just like we provide special goggles that fit over top of your prescription glasses, or snug to your face for contact lenses – we will take the same care for our customers who have had recent LASIK eye surgery.
First, we will always recommend consulting with an optometrist before attempting to skydive. Once you’re approved, please inform your instructor about your recent procedure so that we can better accommodate you. Instructors have ways of minimizing airflow to your eyes by choosing special goggles and making adjustments as necessary.
Imagine enjoying the experience of flying through the skies without fear or worry that you might lose your expensive glasses or contacts, or that you’ll miss the whole experience because you can’t see! Now that you know clear vision at high altitudes is possible (if your optometrist says so), you can confidently pursue your skydiving dreams with Skydive STL!