Can you Scuba Dive after Lasik Surgery?

Can you Scuba Dive after Lasik Surgery?

Perfect vision is something many of us might take for granted. Fortunately, those of us with less than ‘perfect’ vision, have many options available! Lasik surgery is a common procedure to improve your eyesight and free yourself from the everyday annoyances of glasses and contact lenses. 

Unfortunately, it is not a procedure that everyone can afford.

However, if you find yourself fortunate enough to be considering this method of corrective eye surgery, there might be some things you are questioning. The most important question of course- can you Scuba dive after Lasik surgery?

Within this article, we will answer some of the most common questions about this topic, such as:

  • What is Lasik surgery?
  • Should you have it?
  • Conditions Lasik Surgery can Correct
  • Scuba Diving after Lasik surgery
  • Being Careful after Lasik Surgery

So, let’s dive into the first question!

What is Lasik Surgery?

Laser-assisted in situ keratomileuses (LASIK) is the most common and effective eye surgery. This procedure uses a cutting laser to change the shape of the cornea to improve your vision. Lasik surgery provides a great alternative and avoids the everyday constraints of contacts and glasses! 

In someone with normal vision, light enters the eye and is refracted by the cornea, hitting the retina behind. If you suffer from near-sightedness, far-sightedness or astigmatism, the cornea is unable to correctly refract the light, causing blurry vision. 

The cutting laser is used to change the shape of the cornea with extreme precision.

Correcting the refraction of light ensures it focuses onto the retina, creating clearer vision.

After the procedure, your vision will be blurry for a while. Follow the surgeon’s instructions, such as immediately resting in a dark room and using antibiotic eye drops.

These actions should help you on a speedy road to recovery!

Should you have Lasik Surgery?

If you suffer from near-sightedness, far-sightedness or astigmatism, Lasik surgery can help you get rid of glasses and contacts for good! There are some other refractive procedures available, so ensure you consult your doctor to determine if Lasik surgery is a good option for you. 

There are many reasons to consider Lasik surgery. You might be frustrated with always misplacing your glasses or having them fog up when you enter a warm room from the bitter cold outside. 

Perhaps you want to wake up every morning, look out the window and be able to see! (Without having to first reach for your glasses or endure the fiddly routine of contact lenses, avoiding poking yourself in the eye!)

When it comes to diving, it is possible to Scuba dive if you wear glasses or contact lenses!

Prescription Scuba diving masks are available, or you can wear contact lenses and a ‘normal’ lens mask! 

Unfortunately, both of these options are ‘make do’. Prescription masks can be expensive when having a primary and a backup, and you cannot buy any mask you like the look of.

Scuba diving with contact lenses is also an option, however, there is a risk of losing it if you have to clear your mask or swap to a spare. Imagine your dive buddy signalling a shark is in the distance but you’ve lost a contact lens and all you see is a white blob! Not something you would want to miss!

If missing a shark was not bad enough, water could also dry the lens out, potentially scratching your eye. Ouch!

Lasik surgery can improve both your every day and Scuba diving convenience if you suffer from the three conditions mentioned above! 

Let’s have a look at these three types of vision problems.

What is Near-Sightedness?

Suffering from near-sightedness means light rays focus in front of the retina, causing blurry vision. This can be caused by a sharper curved cornea or a slightly longer eyeball. Close objects can be seen clearly, however, objects in the distance get lost in a blur.

You are likely to suffer from near-sightedness if you present any of the following symptoms:

  • A blurry vision of faraway objects
  • Squinting often to see clearly
  • Eyestrain and headaches
  • Poor vision while driving

What is Farsightedness?

Farsightedness is the opposite of near-sightedness. Instead of light focusing on the retina, it focuses slightly behind it! This can be caused by a shorter eyeball or a flatter cornea. 

The following symptoms suggest farsightedness:

  • Blurry up-close objects
  • Squinting to see up-close objects clearly
  • Suffering from eyestrain, burning or itchy eyes
  • Headaches when completing an up-close task such as reading, writing and working at the computer

What is Astigmatism?

Astigmatism is a condition where the cornea curves and flattens unevenly, causing blurry vision with both near and far sight. 

Symptoms of this condition are:

  • Blurry vision
  • Squinting
  • Eyestrain and headaches

If you suffer from any of these symptoms above, you should always consult a doctor and an optician. Specific glasses and contact lenses can correct these conditions. After speaking with a professional, you might choose Lasik surgery to amend your cornea shape and improve the light refraction. 

If you have decided Lasik surgery is right for you, I am sure you are wondering, can you Scuba dive after the procedure?

Can you Scuba Dive after Lasik Surgery?

You can Scuba dive after Lasik surgery. However, you should wait until your eyes have fully healed. Healing time depends on the person and the previous prescription.

Lasik surgery cuts and pulls back a flap of your eyeball, to provide access to the cornea. This flap is then pulled back into position after sculpting the cornea.

Waiting until your eyes have fully healed decreases the risk of dislodging the flaps or having a bacterial infection.

Some medical conditions can prevent you from Scuba diving, but luckily Lasik is not one of them!

As mentioned above, Lasik surgery pulls back a flap of your eyeball to gain access to the inner eye. The laser reshapes the cornea, then the flap is replaced. It is therefore not recommended to go scuba diving for a few weeks after the procedure.

When completing your PADI Open water and PADI advanced courses, you will learn some of the basic physics of diving

When Scuba diving, pressure is exerted on the body and increases with depth. We have air spaces within our body which we equalise throughout the descent. For example, we equalise our lungs by breathing steadily, and never holding our breath.

Breathing removes the pressure on our lungs, preventing any damage. Scuba divers do the same to the air space within their masks. Blowing slightly out the nose, the air is released into the Scuba mask to equalise the air space and prevent a tight squeeze on the face.

Our eyeballs are surrounded by aqueous fluids, therefore are not compressible and do not require equalising. Increasing pressure does not affect our eyes, however, after Lasik surgery, an air bubble might be trapped within the eye.

Air, of course, is compressible.

This is another reason why you should wait for your eyes to fully heal after the procedure, to prevent any possible air bubbles or dislodging an unhealed flap on your eyeball. 

Another reason why you must allow your eyes to heal before diving is the risk of eye infections. While scuba diving, you might laugh or smile, letting water trickle into your mask. Or maybe your mask was accidentally knocked off your face by your buddy or the strong tail of an inquisitive seal. 

If this happens, you will need to clear your mask or possibly swap to your spare. Bacteria in the water can enter your eye and cause infection.

Usually, our eyes naturally avoid infections, but if you have previously had Lasik surgery, you do not want to take this extra risk!

Post-Lasik, surgeons recommend avoiding getting water in your eye for two weeks, and to avoid swimming for three! Ensuring your eyes have healed by allowing enough time and using the antibacterial eye drops correctly, will decrease the chances of infections. 

After having any procedure, you should get checked by a doctor to ensure you are fit and healthy enough to go Scuba diving. It is best to have peace of mind, knowing your eyes have healed properly. 

Why Should you be Careful after Lasik Surgery?

Immediately after Lasik surgery, your eyes will still be repairing from small flaps having been cut, opened, and put back. It is recommended that you protect your eyes from sunlight, water and even during your sleep for the first couple of weeks. 

Lasik provides you with freedom from glasses and contact lenses, however, while you are healing you need to be careful. Wearing sunglasses to protect your eyes from sunlight will help prevent scarring and irritation.

Surgeons advise against any creams or make-up rubbed around the eyes for the first two weeks, or until approved by your doctor! As your eyes are still healing, any exercise and contact sport should be detained for four weeks! 

Even while sleeping, you should protect your eyes with an eye shield. This avoids touching your eyes in your sleep and dislodging the flaps. Just as you should be careful during everyday life, returning to Scuba diving after surgery requires extra cautiousness. 

Always take it easy after any medical surgery! As difficult as it is to put your hobbies on hold while you recover!

If you find yourself missing Scuba diving while you are on the mend, try reading one of the 7 best books for Scuba divers!

Don’t Forget Your Dive Insurance!

Before you go out on any dive trip or holiday, it is essential to make sure you have insurance that covers you if something goes wrong. Check out our dive insurance article for more information.

Or go straight to these dive insurance company websites:


Diver Alert Network (DAN)

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Final thoughts

Lasik surgery creates incredible benefits, allowing you to put your glasses and contacts away in a draw, not to be needed again! From everyday life convenience, to even improving your scuba diving experience, Lasik surgery is an awesome procedure. 

You can Scuba dive after having Lasik surgery! Although, it is strongly encouraged to wait until your eyes have fully healed, preventing pain, injury, or infection. 

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Bethany Nyquist

Bethany is a writer, an Environmental Scientist and Dive Master, exploring the underwater world. Practising Underwater Photography, Bethany aims to raise awareness for and help protect marine life.

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