Dry eye syndrome is the most common side effect of LASIK, especially in the weeks following the procedure. Here’s what you need to know about LASIK-related dry eye syndrome and how it’s treated.
Many people choose refractive surgery like LASIK to permanently correct their vision without the need for glasses or contacts. And although it’s considered a safe and effective procedure, LASIK carries risks of complications and adverse effects, just like any other surgery.
One of the most common post-LASIK complications is dry eye syndrome, a condition characterized by chronic eye dryness. In fact, about 95% of patients report having symptoms of dry eye syndrome for up to a few days or even weeks after surgery. That number drops to about 60% a month after LASIK and by 6-12 months post-surgery, most patients have recovered. Few patients report having symptoms of dry eye syndrome a year after surgery and beyond.
Symptoms of Post-LASIK Dry Eye Syndrome
Patients may experience any number of the following dry eye symptoms following LASIK:
- Feeling that something is stuck in the eye
- Eye fatigue
- Blurred vision
- Reduced visual acuity
- Why Can LASIK Cause Dry Eye Syndrome?
Why Can LASIK Cause Dry Eye Syndrome?
LASIK can disrupt the feedback system that alerts your brain about eye dryness.
During LASIK, the surgeon makes tiny incisions in the cornea that can damage corneal nerves, making the cornea less sensitive to stimuli and sensations. Because of this, the normal cornea nerve impulses that control tear production may not function fully, and signals that would ordinarily tell the brain to begin tear production may not be sent.
This results in underproduction of tears, and a dry ocular surface.
Who’s at Risk of Developing Post-LASIK Dry Eyes?
You’re more likely to develop dry eyes following LASIK if any of the following apply to you:
- Preexisting dry eye syndrome
- High myopia before the surgery
- Older age, especially a woman after menopause
- Have an autoimmune disease, for example Sjorgen’s syndrome
- Take certain medications that dry out the eyes, like allergy medication, blood pressure regulators or antidepressants
- Live in a dry environment
Your surgeon will evaluate your ocular condition before performing surgery, and take into account any risk factors for developing dry eye syndrome after the procedure.
How We Can Help
Whether you have dry eyes or not, annual eye exams are vital for maintaining healthy eyes and clear vision. If signs of dry eye syndrome are detected during the examination, we’ll discuss the next steps to take for restoring healthy and refreshed eyes.
Many eye diseases can be quickly and easily diagnosed during a Comprehensive eye exam, Pediatric eye exam and Contact lens eye exam. If you were diagnosed with an eye disease, such as Cataracts, Astigmatism, Pink Eye or conjunctivitis Myopia or Nearsightedness , Glaucoma, Macular degeneration, Diabetic retinopathy, or Dry eye, you may be overwhelmed by the diagnosis and confused about what happens next. Will you need medications or surgery – now or in the future? Is LASIK eye and vision surgery an option for you ? Our Houston eye doctor is always ready to answer your questions about eye disease and Contact lenses.
Book an eye exam at Vision Trends of Long Point eye clinic near you in Houston, Texas to learn more about your candidacy for contact lenses and which type is right for you. Call 833-219-0010
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My eyes are always burning and tired, what is causing this and what can I do about it?
These are often signs of dry eye syndrome, a very common condition that affects many people over time. Women are generally more prone to developing these symptoms and aging is often a cause as well. Dryness of our eyes is often due to a decrease in the oil production in our eyelid glands which causes the surface of the eye to become irritated. Certain medications and health issues can also contribute to dryness. There is no true cure for dryness but many treatments are available such as the use of artificial tears, nutritional supplements incorporating Omega 3, prescription medications such as Restasis, and eyelid hygiene. No single treatment works for every individual so we customize treatments for each person and their specific condition.'
Are there some every day activities that can cause Dry Eye?
Yes. Generally, those that suffer from allergies, or have systemic inflammatory diseases like arthritis and Sjogren's, or those who use the computer or digital devices often and even contact lens wearers tend to be more susceptible to dry eye symptoms.
Am I a good candidate for refractive surgery?
Patients who are at least 18 years of age, have healthy eyes that are free from retinal problems, corneal scars, and any eye diseases are generally suitable. Many patients who are nearsighted, farsighted or have astigmatism are potential candidates. We will also discuss your lifestyle needs to help you decide if LASIK is the best alternative for you. If you would like to schedule a free LASIK consultation, please contact our office.
What are some of the qualifications for being a good LASIK candidate?
Some of the qualifications include having healthy eyes, good general health, corneas that are not too thin, stable vision, a prescription that is not too high, realistic expectations, and being at least 18 years of age.