What To Do About Dry Eyes Following LASIK Procedures

Lasik Dry Eyes One of the most common side effects of LASIK surgery or refractive surgery of any kid is dry eyes. Dry eyes can last for a few days, for several weeks, or for months following surgery.

Surgeons are increasingly searching for new and effective tools to help prevent dry eyes following LASIK procedures. One way to avoid dry eyes is to avoid LASIK if you suffer dry eyes before surgery. Patients who have dry eye syndrome normally will usually have worsening symptoms following any LASIK procedure.

What Are Dry Eyes?
Anyone can have dry eyes, even those without LASIK surgery. Some patients have dry eyes before having LASIK procedures performed, placing them more at risk for irritation following surgery. Dry eye is a common condition suffered by millions of people. It results from an inability to produce tears or decreased production of fluid from the tear ducts located in the eyes. This can be a hereditary condition, or one caused by illness or injury. Some people notice they experience dry eyes during certain weather conditions.

Usually, having dry eyes does not present many problems. Doctors often prescribe artificial tears to people with chronic dry eyes. This is a simple and proven method for relieving the itching and discomfort associated with dry eyes. Other people rely on over-the-counter medications to combat occasional dry eyes, which may result from illness. Any medical treatments designed to correct dry eyes usually focus on restoring the eyes' ability to produce natural tears.

Here are common symptoms of dry eyes to look out for:

  • Stinging or burning sensation of the eyes
  • Infrequent tearing, even at times when tearing seems necessary
  • Redness or swelling of the eyes
  • Scratchy feeling in the eyes, as if a foreign substance were in the eye
  • Light sensitivity
  • Eyes that fatigue easily
  • Difficulty seeing, including having blurry vision
Some people with dry eyes and vision problems find it impossible to wear contacts. This is one reason many people with myopia or related vision problems seek corrective surgery, like LASIK, to improve their vision. LASIK can be very effective for restoring vision in people with dry eyes, even if people with dry eyes are more at risk for complications.

Dry Eyes Treatment And Prevention
If you do suffer dry eyes following LASIK, be sure to contact your surgeon. He or she may prescribe special eye drops that will help ease your discomfort. Some other ways to improve your symptoms including wearing shades, resting frequently and avoiding spending long hours at a computer or reading for several days following surgery. Occasionally a surgeon must prescribe medications to help replace natural tears.

The good news is most patients' dry eye symptoms do resolve within a few months at most following surgery. If you have concerns about dry eyes following lasik, be sure to consult with your LASIK surgeon BEFORE you undergo the procedure. Your surgeon may adapt his or her techniques to help minimize your risk of developing LASIK dry eyes.

For more information on dry eyes, check out: The LASIK Surgery Checklist

Bring this list with you and ask your doctor about ways you can reduce side effects associated with LASIK surgery.

Caring For Your Dry Eyes
Whether you opt for LASIK surgery or not, you should take care to protect your eyes. If you suffer from dry eyes, you can adopt simple lifestyle changes that can dramatically improve your vision. Here are a few tips to consider for combating eye fatigue and improving the sensations you feel in your eyes:

  • Protect your eyes by wearing sunglasses. UV rays can damage your eyes, leading to many problems including dry eyes.
  • Try wearing protective gear when biking or out on windy days, as these conditions can worsen symptoms of dry eyes.
  • Increase the humidity in your home, which helps lubricate your eyes naturally. You can buy a cold air humidifier just about anywhere. Just add water, plug it in, and give your eyes a much-needed break.
  • Try to avoid rubbing your eyes if they feel irritated, as this can introduce bacteria into your eyes, making your condition worse.
If you find simple measures are not enough to relieve your symptoms, be sure to check back with your eye doctor for a follow-up visit. Your doctor may try a different prescription or recommend re-treatment of your eyes to improve your symptoms. He or she may also refer you to a specialist to rule out any underlying health conditions that may contribute to your symptoms.

For more information on dry eyes, LASIK and more, check out the following resources:

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