How Common Is Dry Eye after LASIK?

May 29, 2019 — by Thomas Byrd, MD
Tags: Lasik

Eye drops being applied to a patient’s eyeLASIK surgery can produce clear vision in patients that suffer from nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. One common side effect that patients may experience after LASIK surgery is dry eye. Dry eye is characterized by a scratchy or irritating sensation in the eye.

At Byrd Eye Clinic, Dr. Thomas Byrd will screen you for known dry eye risk factors before performing LASIK surgery at our Detroit, MI eye clinic. Fortunately, for good candidates, dry eye after LASIK is a temporary condition. The majority of patients experience relief from dry eye in the days and weeks following LASIK as the eyes naturally heal.

Does LASIK Cause Temporary Dry Eyes?

During LASIK surgery, incisions are made in the cornea and the underlying tissues are reshaped with an excimer laser. This surgical process affects the corneal nerves and reduces corneal sensitivity. As a result, your body may not recognize the need for lubrication, and may temporarily produce fewer tears.

In addition, the creation of the incisions and adjustments made to the cornea can cause the eyes to feel itchy for a few days after LASIK.

Because dry, itchy eyes are common side effects of LASIK surgery, doctors recommend the use of lubricating eye drops after LASIK surgery.

How Can I Prevent or Reduce Dry Eye after LASIK?

Before you undergo LASIK surgery, Dr. Byrd will go over your post-operative instructions, including how to treat dry, itchy eyes. It is important to take your prescribed eye drops to reduce inflammation and the risk of infection. In addition, many patients find that over-the-counter, lubricating eye drops offer relief during the healing period.

Patients may also find that resting the eyes, particularly in the hours after surgery, can improve comfort.

In the days following LASIK, try to limit screen time to reduce dry eyes. Looking at a computer, phone, tablet, or TV screen can reduce how much you blink, further contributing to dry eyes.

In addition, you can place cold compresses over your closed eyes.

Am I at Risk for Dry Eye Syndrome after LASIK

Some patients have a higher risk of developing permanent dry eye syndrome after LASIK surgery. During your consultation at our Detroit eye clinic, Dr. Byrd will determine if LASIK or an alternative treatment is appropriate in your case. If you are at risk for dry eye syndrome, PRK may be better suited to your needs.

Your LASIK screening may involve:

  • Observing tear breakup time: Dr. Byrd may place a small drop of dye on your eye to observe how your tears naturally spread across the eye’s surface.
  • Schirmer test: A special strip of paper is placed under the eyelid to measure tear production.
  • Imaging:  Keratometers and other advanced imaging instruments can measure the quality of tear film without touching the eye’s surface.

Contact Our Office Today

If you have concerns about the side effects that may occur after LASIK vision correction surgery, including dry eyes, Dr. Byrd will be glad to answer your questions. To schedule your LASIK consultation, contact our office online or call (313) 383-1300.

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