When you think LASIK eye surgery, dry eyes might not be the first thing that comes to mind. Typically included in the list of benefits of LASIK eye surgery are improved vision, permanent results, and the ability to dispense with expensive glasses and contacts. In fact, the list of pros for LASIK eye surgery is so long that it’s easy to not take into consideration LASIK’s few drawbacks, such as the increased likelihood of having dry eyes.
While it is true that your risk of suffering from dry eyes grows after receiving LASIK eye surgery, dry eyes are manageable, and there are simple steps you can take to find relief. Better still, your dry eyes can often be addressed before the LASIK procedure; screening for LASIK helps patients detect, treat, and take preemptive measures to help alleviate their dry eye symptoms. These are facts you should know about dry eyes and LASIK before you schedule a consultation.
Why People Get Dry Eyes After LASIK
During LASIK eye surgery, a small flap is cut into your cornea. This flap allows for the laser to reach your eyes, reshape them, and correct your vision. However, this flap can also reduce your corneal sensitivity, such that your eyes don’t notice their own dryness and, as a result, produce fewer tears.
Many people who pursue LASIK eye surgery already struggle with dry eyes before receiving the procedure. If you already suffer from chronic dry eye, it may be in your best interest to choose an alternative procedure, PRK or Visian ICL, instead of pursuing LASIK. Alternatively, some patients will be encouraged to undergo a corrective procedure for dry eye prior to receiving LASIK.
Screening for the Risk of Dry Eyes Prior to LASIK
In order to determine your risk for dry eye after LASIK, your doctor may want to perform a test(s) before moving forward with the procedure. Methods of testing include but are not limited to:
- Eye Imaging: Using various instruments, your eye doctor can view your tear film without having to touch your eye.
- Schirmer Test: In this simple test, a doctor places a thin strip of paper underneath your eyelid in order to gauge tear production.
- Tear Breakup Time Analysis: Using a small amount of dye, your doctor analyzes how your tears are distributed and how quickly they break up once they reach your eye’s surface.
Depending on your test results, your doctor may recommend that you receive basic treatment for your dry eye symptoms before you undergo the LASIK procedure. Dry eye treatments are typically simple and non-surgical and include prescription eye drops, specialty supplements, and anti-inflammatory medications.
How To Relieve Dry Eyes After LASIK
If you do receive LASIK eye surgery, most doctors will recommend that you use lubricating eye drops in the weeks and months after your surgery. Taking flaxseed oil, fish oil, or eat food rich in Omega 3 fatty acids in the weeks before your LASIK procedure, can help improve your tear production. Taking these same oils after your LASIK procedure can help you maintain a sufficient amount of eye moisture.
Have Questions? Talk To Houston’s Best LASIK Eye Surgeons
There are many factors to consider before you receive LASIK eye surgery in Houston. To determine if LASIK eye surgery is right for you, schedule an appointment with the Houston LASIK experts and corneal specialists at Eye Center of Texas. Our Texas eye care team will guide you through your options and help you manage your dry eyes while offering you the safe, affordable care that is the Eye Center of Texas standard.
Your path to clearer vision starts at Eye Center of Texas. Schedule your appointment today.