A Guide To Alcohol And Laser Eye Surgery

18 May 2021

By Author: Alex J Shortt

Medically reviewed on 17-August-2023

If you’re planning on having laser eye surgery, you probably have many questions about what you can and can’t do before and after your procedure.

If you’ve got social events coming up, you might be wondering if you can drink alcohol after laser eye surgery.

It can be challenging to know precisely when it is safe to drink alcohol again during the recovery period after laser eye surgery – this guide will help answer your questions.


Drinking Before Laser Eye Surgery

It is generally advised that you refrain from any alcohol or, at the very least, keep consumption to a minimum before having laser eye surgery.

 The recommended time to abstain from alcohol before laser eye surgery can vary. It’s most commonly advised to avoid alcohol for at least 24-48 hours before surgery. However, this can depend on individual circumstances and the specific guidelines of your surgeon. It’s crucial to follow the instructions given, as your surgeon will have the best understanding of your medical history and the details of your surgery.

 Alcohol may interfere with any eye drops or medications given during the procedure. If you feel nauseous, overly tired or off-balance as a result of drinking alcohol from the night before, this is also not ideal, as it will make the experience more uncomfortable than it needs to be.

It would help if you also tried to get a good night’s sleep so that you are refreshed and ready for your appointment, which alcohol may prevent you from doing. 

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    How Can Alcohol Affect Your Laser Eye Surgery?

    Alcohol can have several effects on the body that might complicate surgery or recovery. Here are a few reasons why it’s usually advised to abstain from alcohol before surgery:

    Dehydration: Alcohol can dehydrate the body. Adequate hydration is essential for healing and recovery after surgery.

    Blood Thinning: Alcohol can thin your blood, increasing the risk of bleeding during and after surgery.

    Interactions with Medication: Alcohol can interact with medications you might be taking before or after surgery, potentially causing adverse effects.

    Impaired Immune System: Alcohol can impair your immune system, potentially affecting your body’s ability to heal post-surgery.


    Drinking After Laser Eye Surgery

    Once you have had your laser eye surgery, you may want nothing more than to relax with a glass of wine at home. However, doctors advise that you avoid alcohol for one week after your surgery to facilitate the recovery process. This is to ensure that your body’s healing process can take full effect and to avoid dehydrating your eyes. Alcohol could also interfere with any drops or medications you are given to use for the first week after surgery. On the day of the surgery, it is advisable to rest just as you would after any other procedure, drink lots of (non-alcoholic) fluids and get as much sleep as possible. This will help to ensure that your recovery goes smoothly.

     Other reasons why patients should avoid drinking after laser eye surgery include potentially delayed wound healing and impaired judgement and coordination. Post-surgery, avoiding activities that could harm your eyes, such as rubbing them or exposing them to contaminants, is important. Alcohol impairs judgment and coordination, increasing the risk of accidental injury to the eyes during the recovery period.

     Of course, the above guidelines mean that attending social engagements immediately after your surgery is not a great idea. But what if something comes up that you really can’t miss? In this case, it is best to stick to soft drinks and avoid tiring yourself out by staying out late. Avoid potentially dusty, very bright, and dry environments. It’s important to remember that you have just had surgery and that your body needs to rest and recover. Try to prioritise your recovery over social events in the week after your surgery to help ensure you get the best possible results from your treatment.

    What Else To Avoid

    We’re often asked questions about what to avoid doing after laser eye surgery. There are a range of things that should be postponed for up to several weeks afterward, and patients must be aware of this to plan around it.

     Here are some of the things that you should avoid after laser eye surgery:

    Showering – you should avoid showering or bathing immediately after your surgery, but you can resume doing so the day after. Ensure you avoid water entering your eyes for the first few days after surgery. 

    Driving – you should not drive until an expert has given you the go-ahead. This is a safety precaution, as some people experience blurred vision shortly after laser eye surgery. You will have a check-up the next day, where you will be advised on your current level of invention.

    Make-up – you should avoid wearing eye make-up for two weeks after your surgery to avoid getting chemicals in your eyes. You can wear make-up on the rest of your face if you’d like to, so you are careful around the eye area.

    Swimming – this can vary depending on what type of surgery you have had. You are usually advised avoid swimming for a week or two after surgery. 

    For more information on what you can and cannot do before or after laser eye surgery, speak to your Optegra surgeon, who will happily answer your questions.

     For more information on what you can and cannot do before or after laser eye surgery, speak to your Optegra surgeon, who will be happy to answer all of your questions.


    Author: Alastair Stuart. Alastair is one of a handful of surgeons worldwide who has received formal Laser Eye Surgery Training. He completed a fellowship in Refractive Surgery under Professor Reinstein at the London Vision Clinic where he worked for a further 4 years before joining Optegra. Alastair offers treatment for both private and NHS patients.

    Alex Shortt Headshot

    By Author: Alex J Shortt

    Mr Shortt is a leading ophthalmic surgeon and an expert in the fields of cornea, cataract and refractive surgery.

    Medically Reviewed Date: 15th January 2024


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