LASIK surgery involves reshaping and altering the curvature of the cornea to improve vision, but in doing so, the procedure can also affect the tear film and tear production. It’s not something to be alarmed about, however, as it’s relatively mild and considered as a common side effect of the surgery. In fact, according to experts, as many as eight out of ten LASIK patients experience dry eye symptoms in the following weeks.
Even so, nobody wants to deal with the itchy, stinging feeling of dry eyes, especially while recovering from LASIK. Fortunately, your eye surgeon can help you manage the symptoms to give you relief.
Minimizing Dry Eye Risks
Some people are more susceptible to developing dry eye after LASIK due to different factors. For instance, people with higher degrees of myopia can be at greater risk of dry eye than people with lesser degrees of nearsightedness. The same is true for older people, female patients who have undergone menopause, people with autoimmune diseases and those who are taking allergy, blood pressure, or antidepressant medications.
Surgeons usually try to resolve these complications before LASIK to minimise risks and to reduce the chances of developing dry eye post-surgery. It’s also a good idea to have an honest discussion with your surgeon about the possibility of getting dry eye. This way, you can take steps to restore the tear film.
Prescription Eye Drops
Dry eye can be treated using several methods, but most doctors suggest using preservative-free artificial drops to give the eyes much needed moisture. In other cases, particularly for patients who already suffer from dry eye syndrome or keratoconjunctivitis sicca, topical cyclosporine eye drops may be prescribed. You may also be instructed to try blinking more frequently especially when using the computer or mobile devices to help stimulate tear production.
Keeping properly hydrated is one of the best remedies for dry eye. Drinking plenty of water and other fluids goes a long way in replenishing fast evaporating tears. You can also try adding more omega-3 rich foods like salmon in your diet. Omega-3 is a “good fat” that helps maintain a healthy tear film. If that is not an option for you, taking omega-3 supplements is also ideal.
If you’re undergoing LASIK any time soon, mild dry eye is something that you may need to expect a few weeks following the surgery. If you experience severe and ongoing dry eye symptoms, however, you need to come in for a follow-up visit with your doctor.