LASIK and Dry Eyes

Advantages of LASIK are obvious. Vision without glasses ! However, many side effects are possible and you must consider them before the surgery. Probably the most significant and bothersome is Dry Eyes. Do not hesitate to discuss about that with your doctor.

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Dry Eye after LASIK surgery

Most people that undergo the procedure may encounter at least some dryness. For some people the dryness will be temporary and mild. Unfortunately, for others, it could be severe and permanent dry eyes. The particular etiology for post operative dry eye has yet to be established. There is actually a lot of research and clinical studies performed to understand why dry eyes occurs after LASIK surgery.

This theory suggests that the interruption in the corneal nerve fibers, like a consequence of the flap creation and stoma level ablation decreases corneal sensitivity. Consequently there’s a decreased blink rate resulting in a rise of the tear film evaporation, hence the eyes become dryer.

Why eyes become dry following LASIK

Goblet cells produce the mucin layer in tears preventing tear film evaporation. Microkeratome pressure on the cornea during flap creation may harm conjunctiva Goblet cells leading to an unstable tear mucin layer. An unstable tear mucin layer may cause the tears to evaporate fast and leave the exposed cornea dry. Changing the corneal curve is needed to change one’s prescription, but additionally affects how a tear film overlays the cornea. This change on the epithelium ocular surface can lead to a very dry eye.

In all cases, osmolarity changes due to the reduced blink rate leads to harm to the cornea called Keratopathy. Those are the most commonly accepted theories on why eyes become dry following LASIK. It must be noted that dryness rates Would be much lower for PRK because there’s no flap creation and some of those factors don’t exist with that procedure. Extensive dry eye testing should be done just before LASIK to find out if there’s an underlying dry eye condition. Some routine tests that really must be performed are Tear film analysis, Schirmer test, Lissamine green staining, tear meniscus height dimension, Phenol red thread testing and Fluorescein staining.

Check if you have dry eye before LASIK surgery

The surgeon must know not only when there’s a dry eye condition, but how bad it is. In cases where there’s an existing dry eye, preoperative treatment can be done. The use of artificial tears, and in more severe cases, Cyclosporin popularly known as Restasis could be recommended just before surgery. Topical steroids may also be used to assist improving the condition.

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