LASIK has been a miracle for many people, but it’s not a perfect process. It is, after all, surgery. In order to improve your eyesight permanently, you will need to go through the recovery process. One of the most common side effects of LASIK is post-LASIK dry eye. Luckily the problem is usually short lived. However, there are certain steps you can take to reduce the odds of contracting post-LASIK dry eye, and ways to treat it if you do.
Find Out if You Already Have Dry Eye Before Getting LASIK
Most doctors do this during the screening process anyways, because the results of LASIK can be affected by pre-existing dry eye. During your consultation, doctors will look over your complete health history, and you will undergo a comprehensive eye examination. Eye professionals look specifically at the structure of your eye, how you blink, closely examine your eyelids and cornea for irregularities pertaining to dry eye, and evaluating tear production (how much fluid is being produced, and if it has the correct balance of water, oil, and mucus).
Should we find signs of dry eye, we may send you to visit our dry eye specialist, Dr. Pedram Hamrah. He and his team are specially trained to deal with dry eye, through a variety of treatments.
Treating Dry Eye
While dry eye is annoying, uncomfortable, and can potentially lead to worse problems, it is by no means untreatable. Several options exist and can be combined for maximum effectiveness.
- Eye drops are effective at immediate relief and are easily purchased over the counter at most grocery stores. Alternatively, more serious cases of dry eye might warrant prescription eye drops. These help reduce chronic inflammation of the eye area, which can prevent tears from forming. Other ways to reduce inflammation may come in the forms of ointments, warm compresses, or eyelid cleaners.
- Some minor surgery is available if there’s an issue with the way your eyes drain fluid. Plugs can be inserted into some of these natural drains to prevent tears from leaving your eyes. If the problem lies within tear production, another method might be to break apart waxy buildup inside the meibomian gland (which produces the oil your body uses to prevent tears from evaporating too quickly.
Dry Eye Prevention
If you’re concerned about getting dry eye after LASIK, consider the following:
- Dry eyes can be exacerbated by climate. Get a humidifier to combat a dry atmosphere.
- Remember to blink while spending time on screens. Look away from the screen altogether for about 20 seconds every 15 minutes.
- Take supplements, specifically ones that replenish omega-3 fatty acids. Fish oil and flaxseed oil can help tear production.
Don’t let the fear of dry eye stop you from experiencing life through your own eyes. Fill out our simple consultation form to get started! Contact our Boston office with any questions about LASIK or to schedule a LASIK consultation!