LASIK, a popular procedure for correcting refractive errors, often leads to dry eye post-procedure. This article explores this common issue and provides guidance on handling it.
LASIK is a very safe surgical procedure, but as with any surgical procedure, there are risks of side effects which patients should be aware of before deciding to undergo it in their trusted eye care clinic.
Dry eye is, by far, the most likely side effect following LASIK.
Approximately 95 percent of patients will experience some amount of dry eye following the procedure. Read more about it here.
In most cases it subsides. Most of the time, the symptoms of dry eye experienced are mild.
While dry eye after LASIK is very common overall, there are some factors which have been found to increase one’s risk of developing symptoms.
Dry eye has several common symptoms. If you are experiencing them, especially for an extended period of time, it is likely that you are experiencing dry eye. Apart from the obvious feeling of dryness in the eyes, symptoms can include:
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, call your eye doctor to schedule an evaluation.
There's still debate among eye doctors on the exact reason why dry eye is so common following a LASIK procedure. However, there are a couple of theories:
One is that due to the nature of the procedure, which involves the reshaping of the cornea by removing some tissue from beneath it, some nerves in the area are cut. This has no impact on vision, but it can temporarily impact the communication between the cornea and the tear glands, leading to drye eye, though it is generally short-lived.
Another possibility is that post- LASIK dry eye is due to inflammation from the surgery. Additionally, the newly reshaped cornea may alter the way that the eyelid interacts with the surface of the eye. Both of these issues can lead to dry eye.
In the vast majority of cases, dry eye which manifests shortly after LASIK will get better within 6-12 months.
Even if you are only experiencing mild dry eye symptoms, it is a good idea to speak with your eye doctor.
It is difficult to completely avoid dry eye post LASIK. However, if you closely follow the postoperative instructions given to you by your eye surgeon, you will have a better chance of minimizing symptoms, if not avoiding them completely.
As mentioned previously, for mild cases of dry eye, basic treatments like eye drops or artificial tears can suffice. In more severe cases, you should see your doctor for advice. Even for mild cases, it is recommended to at least speak to your doctor to get recommendations as opposed to self-treating, so you can minimize the chances of making things worse.
If you don’t already have a trusted optometrist, you could start your online search by typing in phrases such as "eye doctor near me," "optometrist near me," or "Dry eye specialist near me."
Dry eye is a very common side effect following LASIK procedures. However, in most cases it is mild and easily treatable. If you are experiencing symptoms of dry eye following LASIK, or if you have additional questions prior to your LASIK procedure, you can reach out to your nearest Amplify EyeCare practice either via a call or in-person visit. Our team of eye care professionals is ready and equipped to provide you with the care you need.