Many people suffer from dry eye syndrome. It’s a common condition caused by inadequate tear production.
This can affect either the number of tears produced or if you produce low-quality tears. If you have chronic dry eye or are prone to dry eyes, you may have heard that you can’t have LASIK.
That isn’t exactly true. Having LASIK while experiencing dry eye symptoms can be dangerous, but it’s possible to treat dry eye before having LASIK. Keep reading to learn more about dry eye and LASIK!
Dry Eye Complications
Having dry eye and LASIK, or any eye procedure can make it harder for your eyes to heal. Your eyes need proper moisture to stay healthy.
This is especially true if you’re recovering from an eye injury. Having a procedure performed on your eyes can also make it harder to produce tears.
If you have dry eyes before LASIK, those symptoms will be even worse after the procedure. This can make the healing process uncomfortable. It may even lead to complications, like an eye infection.
Treatment before LASIK
Before having LASIK, you’ll go through various exams. This is to make sure your eyes are in good shape to undergo the procedure.
One of these exams measures your tear production. Another exam will measure the quality of your tears and how well they disperse over the surface of your eye.
If any of these exams find you have dry eye or may be more prone to it, your eye doctor will recommend waiting to have LASIK. If your dry eye is especially severe, your ophthalmologist may decide LASIK isn’t safe for you.
Otherwise, they’ll recommend treatment before reassessing you for LASIK. Dry eye treatment can be as simple as a few lifestyle changes.
If you live in a dry environment, you may need to hydrate more, use a dehumidifier, and take over-the-counter artificial tears. Certain nutrients, like omega-3 fatty acids, can also help tear production.
You can get omega-3 from supplements like fish oil or flax seed oil. You can also incorporate it into your diet by eating more fish, walnuts, and other omega-3 rich foods.
If none of these changes work, you may be able to undergo a small procedure to insert punctal plugs. Punctal plugs block your tears from draining through your tear ducts.
This forces your tears to stay on the surface of your eye longer. When your tears stay in your eyes longer, it allows your eyes to receive enough moisture even if you produce fewer tears.
Before you can undergo LASIK, you need to have your dry eye symptoms under control. Treatment is often successful, meaning many people with dry eye syndrome can go on to have LASIK.
Recovery with Dry Eye
If you’re prone to dry eye, even if you’ve had it treated, it’s possible to still have issues with it after LASIK. For this reason, you should continue with any changes you’ve made to your diet and environment.
While recovering from a vision correction procedure like LASIK, it’s normal if your eyes feel dry. This is common if you’ve never had dry eyes before.
Be sure to take the medication your eye doctor prescribes after the procedure. They may also recommend you use artificial tears for relief during this recovery period. Always ask them about any over-the-counter medication before using it.
Ready to find out if LASIK could be right for you? Schedule your LASIK consultation at New England Eye Center in Boston, MA today!