LASIK Surgery

When considering LASIK surgery, it is important to be informed about the surgery, what to expect before and after and what risks may be involved. 

DRY EYE AFTER LASIK

As with all medical procedures, there is always the possibility of risks and complications. One of the possible complications following LASIK eye surgery is dryness in the eye. For most LASIK patients the dry eye is not significant enough to cause difficulties. For those that have some trouble, the dry eye symptoms are usually temporary and are gone at the end of the normal six month healing period.

If you experience LASIK induced dry eye, many doctors will recommend using artificial tears for relief. In fact, many doctors advise using artificial tears following LASIK eye surgery even if you don't think your eyes feel dry.

Other steps you can take to manage dry eye symptoms include:

Check Medications - Many medications can contribute to dry eye symptoms, including antihistamines, allergy medicine, hormone replacement therapy, and various other over-the-counter and prescription medications.

Drink Water - If you are dehydrated, so are your eyes. It may seem obvious, but drink plenty of water or other restorative fluids to stay hydrated.

Avoid Dry Areas - Dry air will dry eyes. If possible, avoid air conditioning, heating, extreme cold weather and extreme hot weather. As air movement will also dry eyes, avoid having a fan blow directly on your face.

Humidify - Moist air can help dramatically. If possible, use a humidifier at work and at home. At night, use a humidifier while you sleep.

Wear Sunglasses or Protective Lenses - In general, it helps to protect your eyes from windy weather and extreme hot or cold weather.

Causes of Dry Eye

Although the exact reasons for LASIK induced dry eye are not understood, it is believed to be caused by a combination of events. It is generally thought that LASIK induced dry eye is caused by the nerves in the cornea being severed when creating the LASIK flap, when the excimer laser removes the corneal tissue, and/or by the change in the shape of the cornea. The disruption in the corneal nerves may cause the tear system to not properly function temporarily.

When the corneal nerves heal, the dry eye symptoms usually disappear. When considering difference in technique, studies have not yet found a difference in the risk of dry eye between using the intralase or microkeratome to make the flap. Dry eye occurs less with surface laser (PRK/LASEK) than with LASIK because no flap is created, but other considerations have made LASIK the most common laser eye surgery.

All dry eye symptoms should be discussed with your doctor so the proper tests and exams can be performed to exclude any other health concerns or contributing causes.