Dry eyes are one of the most common LASIK side effects, affecting 50% of post-operative patients. The condition, which is part of the healing process of the cornea, often presents itself in the form of blurry vision as well as itching, redness, or soreness of the eye. It typically goes away after a few weeks.
What causes dry eyes after LASIK?
The laser vision correction procedure involves the creation of corneal flap or removal of corneal tissue (ablation). This process also severs the nerve fibers that supply information to the lacrimal gland, which is responsible for secretion of tears needed to lubricate and moisturize the eyes. When your eyes fail to sense the need to lubricate, it will not produce adequate tears. Hence, the dry eyes.
Is there a way to manage dry eye syndrome?
The American Optometric Association lists different ways to manage dry eye symptoms:
- Add artificial tears – Preservative-free, artificial tear solutions can temporarily restore moisture to the eyes and reduce burning or stinging sensations.
- Increased tear production – Prescription drops such as Restasis help increase natural tear production. Eye doctors at Houston LASIK & Eye also recommend consumption of omega-3 fatty acids.
- Decrease ocular surface inflammation – Warm compresses, eyelid washes, and prescription eye ointments can help reduce the swelling and stinging sensation.
For patients with pre-existing condition, a common practice among Houston eye doctors is the insertion of Punctual Plugs into tear ducts to treat dry eyes before performing laser eye surgery.
Am I at risk for dry eyes?
Anybody may develop dry eyes after LASIK. However, some groups are more at risk than others. A study conducted by researchers at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas showed that participants who underwent laser eye correction for myopia had 47% incidence rate. The study, which was published in the March 2006 issue of the American Journal of Ophthalmology, also showed that 25% of these affected participants continued showing dry eye symptoms six months after the surgery.
Women age 40 and above and patients taking allergy medications, cough medications, or anti-depressants are also at higher risk for developing dry eye.
I have a case of dry eyes. Can I still get LASIK?
Patients with pre-existing dry eye condition must be fully evaluated. In most cases, the surgeon will attempt to treat the disease before performing a surgery. If your case is severe, the surgeon may even tell you that you are not a good candidate for laser eye surgery.
Pre-surgery Eye Screening
Having an adequate quantity of quality tears is essential to a successful laser vision correction procedure. The accuracy of measurement during corneal topography of aberrometry is actually compromised when you have inadequate tear film. A faulty measurement, in turn, will affect the outcome of your eye surgery. Hence, eye doctors at Houston LASIK & Eye carefully screen all patients during consultation. The staff will be evaluating your team film using tests that include keratometer imaging and Schirmer test among others.
Houston LASIK & Eye leads in providing premium LASIK technologies to Houston, Sugar Land, and the surrounding region. The Center’s award-winning medical director introduced revolutionary technologies such as iLASIK to the region. This technology is used by NASA astronauts, Navy SEALS, and Air Force fighter pilots. At Houston LASIK & Eye, you can now receive the same treatment. For more information, please call (281) 240-0478.