Dry eye syndrome is the most common side effect of LASIK, with as high as 95% of patients reporting dry eyes after surgery. But it is important to keep in mind that as high as 75% of patients have dry eye before surgery.
Given this, it’s critical to carefully evaluate the causes of dry eye before any LASIK surgery in order to avoid or ameliorate post-surgery problems. In fact, it is best to address those causes before you undergo any type of refractive surgery.
What Causes Dry Eye After LASIK?
Some of the key factors in generating additional tear flow to compensate for dry eyes are the sensory nerves on your cornea that signal the need for additional tear production. With LASIK those nerves are temporarily damaged and as a result can’t send signals to the tear glands.
So you can expect some dry eye immediately after LASIK which can continue for weeks or months after as those nerves grow back. This is true especially during the first 6 weeks after surgery.
LASIK vs PRK
Surgeons have two major choices for refractive surgery: LASIK and PRK.
In a review of research studies, the Ophthalmology Times article “Dry eye: PRK or LASIK?” found that both types of surgery were effective in correcting vision. They further found that while nerve density recovery may be faster with PRK, it will return to normal over time with both. Even so, they suggested that surgeons consider PRK over LASIK for those with pre-existing dry eye syndrome.
It’s a tough choice, but the key is to first treat your existing condition and only then undergo surgery. This will ensure that your postoperative recovery will be smoother with few surprises.
Selecting an Optometrist
Another key to success is to select the best optometrist to work with on your eye healthcare. We can diagnose existing problems, treat them, and guide your selection of vision correction options, whether that be glasses, contact lenses, or surgery.
We’ve been treating dry eye for over 30 years, including pre- and postoperative surgical care. We are set up to help alleviate the symptoms of dry eye with the very latest treatments whenever needed and for whatever underlying cause.
Give us a call and let’s get started providing you superb vision care and treating your dry eye.
Use our contact form or call us at 972-612-2099.
Disclaimer: The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.