LASIK and Dry Eye: Keeping Side Effects and Risks in Mind

LASIK and Dry Eye - El Paso

Apr 24, 2015 @ 11:25 AM — by Paul S. Gulbas, M.D
Tagged with: Lasik | Dry Eye |

A woman using eye dropsThe team at El Paso Eye Surgeons has helped numerous patients achieve excellent vision thanks to LASIK surgery. LASIK reshapes the cornea and treats nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism, eliminating a patient's dependence on corrective lenses.

All surgeries involve side effects, and LASIK is no exception. With that in mind, we'd like to consider how LASIK and dry eye syndrome are linked.

About Dry Eye Syndrome

Dry eye syndrome refers to the lack of tear production. When this occurs, the eyes can become red and feel irritated, making it very uncomfortable to do simple tasks.

Why does dry eye occur after LASIK?

During LASIK surgery, a small flap is created on the cornea, which is the clear, frontal portion of the eye. This flap is created on the epithelium, which is the topmost layer of the cornea. The flap is pulled up in order for a laser to be used to reshape the corneal contour, after which the flap is placed down again.

When the epithelial flap is created, nerves in the cornea are severed, which affects the function of your tear ducts. The nerves will heal with time, but because of the flap, the tear production of the your eyes may be reduced.

How long will the dry eye last?

Dry eye after LASIK typically lasts for a few weeks at its most serious phase, though patients can expect occasional attacks of dry eye in the months ahead. In very rare cases, the dry eye may be persistent and chronic, though all precautions are taken during the treatment phase in order to minimize the potential for serious complications such as this.

Dealing with Dry Eye Syndrome After LASIK

LASIK patients are advised to carry liquid tears with them at all times after their LASIK surgery. This will allow the LASIK patient to remedy the sudden attack of dry eye with simple eye drops that can be purchased over the counter.

LASIK patients are also advised to avoid environments and spaces that may be arid or full of dust, pollen, and smoke as these can all trigger an attack of dry eye.

What Pre-Existing Dry Eye Syndrome Means for Prospective Patients

If a patient suffers from dry eye syndrome before undergoing LASIK surgery, he or she will be considered a poor candidate for the procedure. This is simply to a common sense measure to prevent even more serious and chronic dry eye syndrome for the patient.

Alternatives to LASIK for Patients with Dry Eye

If a patient has pre-existing dry eye syndrome, the ideal ways to correct his or her vision is to rely on corrective lenses such as contacts and glasses. All options for proper vision correction can be discussed in greater detail during the consultation process.

Learn More About LASIK from the Team at El Paso Eye Surgeons

If you are interested in LASIK surgery and would like to find out if it's the ideal option for you and your needs, it's of the utmost importance that you contact our laser vision correction center today. The entire team here at El Paso Eye Surgeons will answer all of your questions and address all of your concerns.