After LASIK surgery, you want to enjoy your renewed vision. Unfortunately, you might experience a few short-term effects following the procedure.
If you're eyes feel dry, you're not the only one. In fact, 95% of patients experience dry eyes after LASIK surgery.
Don't squint through life with those dry eyes. Instead, practice proper eye health with our tips and tricks. Using this guide, you can handle your symptoms in stride.
Ready to see with 20/20 vision? Keep reading to learn more about LASIK dry eyes and what you can do for prevention.
Will You Get Dry Eyes?
Before we discuss what to do about having dry eyes after LASIK surgery, let's discuss your symptoms. There's no way to predict whether you'll have dry eyes after your procedure. However, your chances increase if you:
- Had dry eyes before your LASIK surgery
- Are female
- Wear contacts
- Have diabetes
- Were extremely nearsighted before your LASIK surgery
- Are of Asian descent
How long do dry eyes last after LASIK? Unfortunately, that depends on a person-by-person basis.
Why Do Your Eyes Dry Out?
Researchers don't quite know why you get dry eye after LASIK surgery. However, they have a few theories. First off, LASIK surgery causes some corneal nerve damage. During your procedure, the surgeon will reshape your cornea. This occurs as they remove some tissue beneath the cornea. During the process, the surgeon has to cut some nerves within the cornea. While this doesn't impact your vision, it can impact how your tear glands and cornea communicate. As a result, your eyes will dry out. Inflammation after the surgery could also cause dry eyes. Meanwhile, the new shape of your cornea could impact how your eyelid interacts with the eye's surface. For most patients, dry eye symptoms appear within the first months following their surgery. Most patients say their dry eye improves between six and 12 months after their LASIK procedure. If you experience severe pain or your vision worsens, make sure to contact your doctor.
7 Tips & Tricks for Preventing LASIK Dry Eyes
Since it was first approved by the FDA in 1999, almost 10 million Americans have requested LASIK surgery. About 700,000 LASIK surgeries are completed each year. If you're part of the 95% that experiencing dry eyes after LASIK surgery, here are a few options that can help. Add a little moisture to your eyes and start seeing 20/20 vision with these tips.
1. Drug Store Eye Drops
One of the most common solutions for LASIK dry eyes is drugstore eye drops. Upon visiting your neighborhood drugstore, you'll find several options ranging from artificial tears to specialized medicated options. Search for eye drops that are labeled "ultra lubricating." You might also need a "high performance" option to make sure your dry eyes receive the highest form of relief. After your LASIK surgery, make sure to speak with your ophthalmologist. They might have a few recommendations. Then, use your eye drops every hour for the first few days after the procedure. As the days pass, you can cut back on how often you use the drops. However, it's important to check for preservatives before you purchase drops from a drugstore. Preservatives extend a product's shelf life. However, those same preservations can cause eye irritation. Prioritize a preservative-free lubricating eye drop or artificial tears during your search.
2. Medicated Eye Drops
If your LASIK dry eye symptoms persist, you might need something stronger than drug store products. Your ophthalmologist can recommend a medicated eye drop. Some of these products contain corticosteroids. While providing short-term relief, this option isn't ideal for long-term treatment. If artificial tears aren't enough to relieve your dry eyes after LASIK surgery, speak with your doctor. They might even suggest a minor surgery.
3. Collagen Punctal Plugs
Punctal occlusion involves blocking the drainage, keeping tears on the surface of your eyes for a longer amount of time. Collagen punctal plugs are a non-permanent option. These plugs will block the tear drainage ducts for about four days. Then, they'll complete dissolve after 10 days. Collagen punctal plugs are ideal right after your surgery. During this time, your symptoms will likely feel at their worst.
4. Silicon Punctal Plugs
Unlike collagen punctal plugs, silicon punctal plugs won't dissolve right away. Instead, they'll stay in indefinitely. Silicon punctal plugs are an ideal semi-permanent solution for your LASIK dry eyes.
5. Scleral Contact Lenses
Are you experiencing burning eyes after LASIK surgery? Scleral contact lenses can provide you with the necessary relief. These contacts are larger than regular contacts. By covering more of your eye, scleral contact lenses can keep a layer of tears between the lens and your cornea. These lenses are created from a permeable material. In addition to providing comfort, scleral contact lenses will keep the tears your body produces in constant contact with your eye. As a result, the dryness, burning, and irritation you're experiencing should fade.
6. Make Sure You're Hydrated
Make sure to drink plenty of water after your LASIK surgery. Keeping your body and eyes hydrated will help prevent your eyes from drying out. Try to use one of the tips for preventing dry eyes above in addition to drinking plenty of water every day.
7. Change Your Diet
Small changes to your diet can help as well. Try to add more omega-3 fatty acids through your foot. If you're not a fan of fish, like salmon, you can take omega-3 fatty acid supplements instead.
See a Solution: 7 Tips & Tricks for Preventing Dry Eyes After LASIK
Don't let dry eyes after LASIK surgery slow you down. Instead, start seeing the solution with these seven tips! By using this guide, you can enjoy your renewed eyesight. See all the beauty our world has to offer in sharper focus than ever before! Do you have other concerns after your LASIK surgery? Contact us today with your questions. We're happy to help.