LASIK, a popular and successful laser eye surgery, effectively corrects refractive errors like nearsightedness and astigmatism. Nonetheless, many individuals encounter dry eye symptoms post-procedure, impacting their comfort and overall wellness.
This condition occurs when your eyes do not produce adequate tears or those produced evaporate too quickly. This causes irritation, redness, burning, and blurred vision. People often experience these symptoms after LASIK surgery due to changes made to the eye during the procedure.
These changes include creating a flap in the cornea. This can damage the nerves that regulate tear production and sensation. Also, reshaping the cornea can impact blinking and tear distribution, causing inflammation and reducing tear secretion and quality.
Dry eye symptoms typically resolve in most people within a few months as the eye heals and nerves regenerate. However, evidence suggests that 10–40% of individuals may experience symptoms six months after surgery. While rare, some people may experience these symptoms for over a year after the surgical procedure.
Some factors that may increase the risk of developing dry eye after LASIK are:
Having dry eye before the procedure.
Being female or post-menopausal.
Wearing contact lenses.
Having a high degree of vision correction or adjustments during surgery.
To prevent dry eye after LASIK, consult an ophthalmologist before the surgery to thoroughly evaluate your eye health and tear function. Your doctor may recommend pre-surgery treatments for dry eye, including:
Using artificial tears or lubricating drops regularly.
Taking omega-3 fatty acid supplements or eating foods rich in omega-3s.
Using warm compresses or eyelid massage to stimulate tear glands.
Avoiding environmental factors that can worsen dry eye, such as wind, smoke, air conditioning, or low humidity.
If you experience dry eye symptoms after LASIK, follow your doctor’s instructions and use the prescribed medications and eye drops as directed. Common treatments include:
These can temporarily relieve dryness and irritation by supplementing your natural tears. Depending on your symptoms and your doctor’s advice, you may need to use them several times daily.
These can reduce inflammation and pain in the eye and improve tear quality and production. They may include steroids, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or cyclosporine.
Eye doctors insert these small devices into the tear ducts to block tear drainage and retain more moisture in the eye. Depending on your preferences and needs, they can be temporary or permanent.
This device applies heat and gentle pressure to the eyelids to unclog the oil glands responsible for tear production. It improves tear quality and stability, ultimately reducing dry eye symptoms.
Dry eye after LASIK is usually temporary and manageable with proper care. If severe pain or worsening symptoms occur, seek immediate medical attention. Regular follow-up exams with your doctor are essential to monitor your eye health and recovery.
LASIK can cause dry eye, but you can control it with the proper care and treatment. This will let you enjoy better vision for a long time. It is best to contact your eye doctor if you have any questions or worries about dry eye after LASIK.
For more on LASIK, call Dry Eye Center of Alabama & Family Eye Care in Homewood, AL at (205) 490-2322 to schedule an appointment today.