Dry Eye After LASIK: Why It Happens and How to Manage It

Taking lubricating drops for dry eyeDuring LASIK surgery, a laser creates a flap in the corneal surface as part of the reshaping and contouring process. This leads to some nerves in the corneal surface getting severed, which affects your eye’s ability to respond by producing tears. Hence, dry eye syndrome is common among many patients who undergo laser vision correction.

The team at our Chicago, IL eye care center would like to address some of the common concerns that patients have about dry eye after LASIK. We’ll then note a few simple remedies that can make post-LASIK dry eye less of an issue.

How Long Does the Dry Eye Last?

Significant dry eye will typically last for a few weeks after LASIK is performed. Several months of dry eye bouts are not uncommon either. Most patients will notice improvements in dry eye attacks after several months. Only in very rare instances do the dry eye issues become permanent and constant.

People with Dry Eye Syndrome Already Cannot Undergo LASIK

Because of the risk of dry eye after LASIK, people who already suffer from dry eye syndrome are not ideal candidates for LASIK. The surgical procedure would make the existing dry eye problems even worse. Rather than risk a patient’s comfort and wellness, it’s best that people with dry eye syndrome undergo a different treatment for their vision correction needs.

Risk Factors for Post-LASIK Dry Eye

We should note that there are certain risk factors that can make dry eye worse after undergoing LASIK surgery. These risk factors include the following:

  • Advanced age
  • Menopause
  • Severe myopia (nearsightedness)
  • Use of certain medications (antihistamines, antidepressants, blood pressure medication)
  • Dry weather or environment

These risk factors are taken into account when determining if LASIK is an ideal treatment option for a patient.

Proper Hydration

One way to help prevent a serious bout of dry eye is to hydrate regularly throughout the day. Drinking water helps your body function optimally, prevents potential issues with dry eye attacks, or can minimize the severity of a bout of dry eye.

Use of Eye Drops

Lubricating eye drops are a must in the weeks and months following LASIK surgery. Be sure to use these over-the-counter eye drops any time your eyes are red or irritated. They will soothe the eyes and provide much needed relief in the event of a dry eye attack.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

We’ve heard a lot about the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, a type of healthy oil found in certain fish (e.g., salmon, sardines, cod). There is some research that suggests that omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce the severity or frequency of dry eye attacks. The fish oil may be taken naturally and incorporated into your regular diet, or patients may take supplements instead.

Anti-Inflammatory Drugs

Anti-inflammatory medications can help reduce manage the discomfort of dry eye and keep symptoms under control. Your eye doctor or general practitioner can recommend certain medications to you based on your situation.

Contact Primary Eye Care Associates

For more information about dry eye after LASIK and how to manage it, be sure to contact Primary Eye Care Associates. The team at our practice will help you experience renewed comfort following your laser eye surgery procedure.