Dry eye is one of the most common reasons patients visit an eye doctor. It occurs whenever there’s an imbalance between tear production and drainage. Risk factors include age, certain medical conditions and some types of medication. It can also be diagnosed following a vision correction procedure, particularly LASIK or laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis.
The Most Common Complication for LASIK
Research reveals that almost half of the patients who undergo LASIK surgery report dry eye symptoms following the procedure. The degree of discomfort – itching, aching and burning sensation in the eyes – may vary. Some may experience these symptoms for a short while, while others for a few weeks or even months.
Every optometrist, however, notes that LASIK in itself isn’t often the trigger for dry eye syndrome. In fact, people who seek LASIK treatment already have the condition. For instance, people who find contact lenses uncomfortable to wear because of dry eyes may find LASIK a better alternative to eyeglasses.
How LASIK Causes Dry Eyes
All surgeries involve cutting tissue: during LASIK, the cornea is cut along with some nerves. This can temporarily reduce the sensation you have on the surface of the eye to some degree. In response, your eyes may not sense the need for moisture so they produce fewer tears. Discomfort and less-than-optimal visual outcomes can lead to dry eyes following LASIK.
What Can Be Done About It
Because of this possibility, LASIK patients who experience dry eye symptoms following the procedure are prescribed lubricating eye drops to alleviate the itchiness and discomfort, and to maintain eye moisture. Even if one doesn’t have dry eyes, treatments to increase eye lubrication can be given in advance of a LASIK procedure as a precautionary measure.
Many eye surgeons now believe that controlling dry eyes can provide the best LASIK outcomes. If you are considering LASIK to improve your vision, you’ll want to visit an eye doctor first. At Advanced Eyecare Consultants, we provide treatment for dry eyes as well as pre-op consultation for vision correction procedures like LASIK.
We offer a wide range of professional eye care services. To schedule an appointment, call us at (847) 438-7700 or (847) 680-8484. We serve residents of Barrington, IL, and the surrounding communities.