LASIK Eye Surgery and Dry Eyes
- Posted on: Jul 25 2012
It is not uncommon for
LASIK eye surgery patients to experience
dry eyes after surgery. In fact, nearly half of all LASIK patients do experience
temporary, mild dry eye symptoms following surgery. For some, the condition
may linger for several months.
Sometimes, dry eye is a side effect of LASIK eye surgery, but other times,
patients already had dry eyes prior to surgery. During LASIK eye surgery,
the surface of the eye is penetrated and corneal nerve sensitivity can
be reduced. The severity of myopia determines how deep the laser must
go to reshape the eye. The deeper the laser must go to remove corneal
tissue, the greater the chances that corneal nerve sensitivity will be
reduced. When the eye fails to sense a need for moisture and lubrication,
it does not produce adequate tears and dry eyes result.
To treat dry eyes, many eye surgeons recommend the use of lubricating eye
drops to help the eyes maintain moisture. Some LASIK patients will be
given prescription eye drops. If dry eyes are a potential risk for you,
your surgeon may even recommend the use of eye drops prior to surgery.
In severe cases, PRK or other alternative vision correction procedures
may be recommended to reduce the risk of dry eyes.
During your pre-surgery screening, your doctor will conduct any of a variety
of tests to detect dry eyes. Dry eyes may affect the outcome of LASIK
eye surgery in that the quality and quantity of tears your eyes produce
can affect healing time. During the pre-surgery screening, your doctor
may also be able to detect other conditions that may be causing your dry eyes.
Other factors that can cause dry eye before or after LASIK include:
- Older age
- Females who have experienced menopause
- Taking allergy medication
- Taking blood pressure medication
- Taking antidepressants
- Some autoimmune diseases like Sjogren’s syndrome
- Living in a dry climate
Rarely will dry eyes or the risk of dry eyes eliminate you as a candidate
for LASIK eye surgery, but your doctor will consider both severity of
your dry eyes and how effective pre-surgery treatment is before recommending LASIK.
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