Chronic dry eye is a particularly bothersome condition. Many people have it, some without even knowing.
The condition is the result of inadequate tear production, and symptoms can be mild or severe. They can range from a slight burning sensation to extreme irritation.
If you have issues with dry eye, often these issues are made worse by surgical procedures like LASIK. So what do you do with dry eye after LASIK?
How do you protect your eyes from post-surgical pain and irritation? The first step is prevention.
Part of pre-operative testing for LASIK involves measuring your tears. This measures the number of tears your eyes produce and the content of your tears.
If you don’t produce enough tears or your tears don’t contain enough water, it’s usually a good sign that you have dry eye. It’s also a sign that you are likely to develop it after getting LASIK.
But assessing your risk for dry eye before LASIK can help you take preventative measures. This is key if you want to avoid severe symptoms.
A lot of the treatment for dry eye is non-invasive. Before scheduling your surgery, your doctor will first recommend drinking more water.
This may be the case even if you produce enough high-quality tears! They may also recommend taking certain nutritional supplements like flaxseed oil.
If you have dry eye, these treatments can help re-balance the chemicals that make tears. Changing your environment by installing a humidifier at home or work can also be helpful.
There are also artificial tears sold over the counter at most drug stores. Taking regular doses of lubricating eye drops can help keep the eye moisturized.
If these treatments don’t help, your doctor may recommend a non-invasive medical procedure. The most common is to insert punctal plugs.
These plugs are simply put into your tear glands, forcing tears to stay in the eye longer. This helps your eyes absorb more moisture. If nothing else works, punctal plugs usually do the trick.
If you find yourself with dry eye after LASIK, there are still things you can do to treat it. You can still use artificial tears, but make sure they are preservative-free.
Taking prescribed antibiotic and anti-inflammatory eye drops will also help relieve irritation. This is common after LASIK and usually goes away on its own. It may also help to continue using a humidifier and taking extra care to stay hydrated.
Even people with normal tear production can get mild dry eye after LASIK surgery. If your symptoms don’t go away and are particularly severe even after a few days, you should contact your doctor.
If you haven’t had punctal plugs yet, that may still be a viable solution after LASIK. But you should talk to your doctor so they can come up with the best solution for you.
Considering LASIK for yourself? Schedule a LASIK consultation at Ellis Eye in San Francisco, CA! Isn’t it time to find out if this life-changing procedure is right for you?