Dry eyes are a common symptom after LASIK surgery. Studies show that almost half of LASIK patients experience dry eyes to some degree following the procedure. Though symptoms typically disappear in a matter of days, in certain cases they can persist for weeks, and even months.
The cause of dry eyes post-surgery is that the nerves on the treated eye are momentarily interrupted by the laser process. In addition, tear duct production becomes slightly irregular because of the changes in the glands surrounding the eyelids. When these two mechanisms are affected, the patient may experience dry eye after LASIK surgery.
Other causes of post-surgery dry eyes include:
- Older age
- Intake of certain medications that decrease eye moisture
- Autoimmune diseases
- Unusually dry climates or environments.
Aside from discomfort, dry eyes can lead to less-than-satisfactory results. Thus, your eye doctor will likely attempt to help you prevent it before it develops. Here are some of the solutions that he or she may recommend. These can be used both before and after LASIK surgery.
- Artificial tears/prescription eye drops
- Food and supplements rich in flaxseed oil and/or fish oil
- Anti-inflammatories such as corticosteroids
Your doctor will also want you to keep yourself adequately hydrated, so maintain your eight -glasses-of-water-a-day routine. He or she may also advise you to have tear duct plugs (aka punctal or lacrimal plug) inserted into the drainage channels in your eyes to increase moisture.
For more information on the causes, risk factors, and treatments pertaining to dry eyes after LASIK surgery, book an appointment with your eye doctor.