Last updated on June 6th, 2017 at 05:51 pm
Dry eye is common after LASIK vision correction surgery. In fact, research shows that almost half the patients who go through LASIK have some degree of dry eyes following the procedure, and symptoms often can persist for weeks, months or perhaps longer.
However to keep the problem in point of view, lots of people who seek LASIK currently have dry eyes. As an example, contact lens wearers who discover their lenses uneasy due to the fact that of dry eyes might examine LASIK as an option due to the fact that they do not wish to use eyeglasses.
Luckily, screening for LASIK has resulted in advances in dry eye detection and treatment. Many individuals desiring laser vision correction now have the possibility of actually solving their pre-existing dry eye issue if it is resolved in the LASIK assessment.
How Does LASIK Cause Dry Eyes?
LASIK causes some nerves in the cornea to be cut, which decreases corneal level of sensitivity to some degree. In action, you eye might not sense the need for lubrication, triggering your body to produce less tears, resulting in dry eye syndrome.
Dry eyes after LASIK can cause both pain and less than optimum visual outcomes. For this factor, numerous eye surgeons now suggest that you use lubricating eye drops or other treatments to assist keep eye moisture. As a preventative measure, you also might be offered treatments to increase eye lubrication in advance of a LASIK procedure even if you don’t have any sign of dry eyes.
Sometimes where dry eyes are of extra concern, corrective vision procedures that do not involve producing a thin flap on the eye’s surface area — such as PRK — may be recommended rather of LASIK.
Dry Eye Screening for LASIK Patients
Both the quality and the quantity of tears you produce are factors in the advancement of dry eyes, which likewise can impact healing after eye surgery.
Since eye surgeons now increasingly recognize that the best LASIK results might depend on managing dry eyes, you probably will undergo screening in advance of a procedure.
Various tests for identifying dry eyes consist of:
- Schirmer test. A thin strip of paper placed under the lower eyelid to measure tear production.
- Tear breakup time. Placement of a percentage of dye on the eye’s surface area to monitor how tears are dispersed when they “break up” on the eye’s surface.
- Imaging. Keratometers or other instruments that provide a view of the tear film without touching the eye’s surface.
- MMP-9 Testing. To perform this is a painless test, your doctor will collect a little sample of your tears from the inside of your bottom cover. Within minutes, you’ll understand whether you have high levels of a protein that can cause you to have problem with inflammatory dry eye after LASIK.
While evaluating you as a possible candidate for a LASIK procedure, your eye surgeon also might have to identify if you have an underlying condition that may be triggering dry eyes.
Who Is Most at Risk of Dry Eyes After LASIK?
Research at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston has actually shown that people with high degrees of myopia have a higher risk of dry eyes after LASIK than people with lower degrees of nearsightedness prior to surgery.
Other causes of dry eye syndrome prior to or after LASIK consist of:
- Older age, particularly if you are female and have actually gone through menopause.
- Allergy medications (antihistamines), particular blood pressure medications and anti-depressants that can reduce eye wetness.
- Autoimmune diseases such as Sjogren’s syndrome.
- Abnormally dry climates or environments, such as a space that is extremely heated up or air-conditioned.
Even if you already have dry eyes, you could still have LASIK if you receive treatments such as prescription eye drops.
Again, having dry eyes prior to a LASIK procedure will not instantly remove you as a candidate. However your eye surgeon will need to think about the seriousness of your condition and the possibility of reliable treatment prior to recommending a procedure.
Treatment of Dry Eyes Before and After LASIK
Even if you do have a pre-existing dry eye condition, LASIK surgeons might think about treating you prior to LASIK or other treatments instead of removing you as a prospect.
Your eye surgeon may likewise treat you for dry eyes prior to a LASIK procedure as a preventative measure, even if your tear production ordinarily is normal.
You may be encouraged to take flaxseed oil or fish oil orally for several weeks before your vision correction surgery to improve your tear movie. You likewise may have to use lubricating eye drops before and after a LASIK procedure.
Your eye surgeon also may recommend prescription eye drops such as Restasis to lower inflammation and help your body develop more tears.
Other typical dry eye solutions include punctal plugs, which block tear drain channels to increase moisture on the eye, and anti-inflammatory medications such as corticosteroids administered as eye drops.
Preventing Dry Eyes After LASIK
When meeting with your LASIK surgeon during your assessment as a prospect, ensure you point out any eye symptoms that could suggest a dry eye issue, such as a foreign body sensation or eye inflammation. Even extreme tearing can show that you have dry eyes.
Older people, especially those who take medications such as anti-depressants, have a higher risk of dry eyes after LASIK.
Studies suggest that taking omega-3 fatty acid supplements and consuming food containing these “great fats,” such as salmon, can assist keep a healthy tear movie. Drinking a lot of water also can help keep your body — and your eyes — effectively hydrated.
Also, ensure you have a frank conversation with your LASIK surgeon about the possibility of developing dry eyes following a procedure. Ask what specific steps can be taken in case of dry eyes to restore the eye’s tear film and comfort up until healing is total.
Again, bear in mind that many dry eye symptoms following a refractive surgery procedure normally are reasonably moderate and vanish in time. However, some LASIK patients have actually reported severe and ongoing issues with dry eyes.