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Dry Eye after LASIK

By Andrew Holzman on June 20, 2011

Charlottesville LASIK

For the vast majority of LASIK patients, the benefits of the procedure far outweigh the risk of side effects and complications that can result from surgery. One of the side effects associated with LASIK is dry eye; dry eye after LASIK affects about 50 percent of those that undergo the procedure. For most patients, dry eye dissipates a few weeks after surgery. As the Medical Director of TLC Laser Eye Centers' McLean, Virginia location, I work to educate my patient base about the symptoms, causes, prevention, and treatment of dry eye after LASIK.

Symptoms of Dry Eye

The symptoms of dry eye after LASIK include:

  • Pain
  • Itchiness
  • Stinging
  • Sporadically blurred vision
  • A "gritty” sensation, as though a piece of sand is stuck in the eye

Causes of Dry Eye after LASIK

Decreased nerve sensitivity of the cornea causes dry eye; when the nerves do not sense dryness, they fail to produce tears. This results in the uncomfortable symptoms associated with dry eye.

Prevention and Treatment of Dry Eye

At TLC Laser Eye Centers of Tysons Corner, all of my potential LASIK patients are screened for dry eye prior to undergoing surgery. The amount and quality of tears are measured to determine if you are a good candidate for LASIK surgery. If the results of testing show that you have a propensity for dry eye, you may be a better candidate for PRK surgery rather than LASIK.

If you are cleared for LASIK surgery, the best way to prevent and treat dry eye after surgery is to use the lubricating eye drops that are prescribed to you. Patients can also try taking flaxeed oil or fish oil supplements in the weeks leading up to surgery to improve tear film and production.   Many patients also benefit from punctal plug insertion which blogs the egress of tears into the nasal canal, thereby increasing the tear lake.    Beyond this, prescription medication called REstasis is frequently beneficial.  Studies have shown increased comfort and better visual outcomes in dry eye patients that are on Restasis.   Avoiding forced air from vents and fans, keeping the eyes moist with lubricants and frequent breaks/blinks from the computer terminal are all recommended as well.

If you are interested in undergoing LASIK surgery at TLC Laser Eye Centers of Tysons Corner, contact my practice today.

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