One of the most effective ways to correct vision problems is with LASIK (laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis) refractive surgery. This involves the reshaping of the cornea, the eye’s front surface, to permanently deal with nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism. But much research has revealed that LASIK can cause dry eye syndrome in patients following the procedure. Is there truth to this?
Is LASIK a Trigger for Dry Eye Syndrome?
While up to 95% of patients report dry eye symptoms after LASIK, nearly half to three-quarters of them already had some degree of dry eye even before the procedure. Dry eye typically gets better after LASIK. Only in rare cases are there patients that suffer from chronic dry eye after the surgery. Screening for LASIK, however, has led to advances in detecting and treating dry eyes. This allows patients with pre-existing dry eye problems the opportunity to solve this issue when addressed in their LASIK consultation.
How Does LASIK Cause Dry Eyes?
LASIK eye surgery can reduce corneal sensitivity to some degree so your eyes may not sense the need for lubrication. When your body generates fewer tears, it can result in dry eye syndrome. No worries, however – a PROWL (Patient-Reported Outcomes with LASIK) study by the U.S. FDA shows that, of those who reported having dry eyes before LASIK, about 60% of them revealed that their symptoms had resolved after the procedure. Those that reported dry eyes after LASIK have continued to see improvement in their symptoms over time.
Who’s At-Risk for Symptoms?
There are certain factors that make it likely for a patient to have dry eyes after LASIK. These include:
- Those who had pre-existing dry eye symptoms before LASIK
- Patients who wear contact lenses
- Those with a higher degree of myopia
- Elderly patients, especially females going through menopause
- Those who take allergy medications and certain blood pressure medications and antidepressants. These can lower the production of tears in the eyes.
- Those who have diabetes or autom-immune diseases like Sjogren’s syndrome
How Do You Deal With Dry Eyes After LASIK?
As a precaution, a trusted optometrist like Northern Virginia Doctors of Optometry might treat you for dry eyes before undergoing LASIK, even if your tear production is normal. They may recommend prescription eye drops as well. It’s important that you mention any symptoms of dry eye to your optometrist during your LASIK evaluation so the necessary steps are taken.
For safe and worry-free LASIK co-management services, look no further than Northern Virginia Doctors of Optometry. Come visit us for a comprehensive eye exam, and we’ll determine if LASIK is a great option for you. We serve the areas in and around Alexandria, VA. Call us at (703) 660-9494, or fill out this form to schedule your appointment.