If you have chronic dry eye, there may be extra considerations involved when deciding whether or not to pursue eye surgery. However, having dry eye shouldn’t prevent you from moving ahead with eye surgery, even an elective surgery like LASIK.
In fact, screening and management for dry eye is a part of the pre-operative process for LASIK surgery. Treating dry eye before surgery can effectively reduce the effects of post-surgical dry eye. Keep reading to learn more about getting LASIK while having dry eye syndrome!
Screening for Dry Eye
When you are evaluated for LASIK, your eye doctor will test your tear production. Evaluating your tears involves several steps, such as measuring the ratio of water, oil, and mucus in your tears as well as measuring the number of tears your eyes produce.
These test results allow the doctor to predict how effectively your eyes will produce tears to heal your eyes during recovery from LASIK. Even if you don’t have a history of dry eye syndrome, your eye doctor may find that your tear production isn’t where it should be to have a comfortable recovery.
LASIK is a simple and painless procedure, but it does require a healing period like any other surgery. To perform LASIK, your surgeon will create a flap in your cornea that acts as a natural bandage after LASIK.
The flap will fuse back with the rest of your eye over time, but the process is aided by your natural tear production. Having dry eyes can cause discomfort during your LASIK recovery period.
Even if you do have dry eye syndrome, you may still be able to have a safe, effective surgery and recovery.
Dry Eye Treatment
The key to managing dry eye for LASIK is to treat it well before having the procedure. This can be as simple as adjusting your diet or taking nutritional supplements.
Dry eye is often the result of inadequate nutrients. Eating more foods containing Omega 3 fatty acids, zinc, vitamins C and E, as well as other vitamins, can help readjust the balance of your tear composition. Your doctor will be able to recommend what foods or supplements you should try.
Using artificial tears to aid your own tear production can also be an effective strategy with nutritional supplements. While these non-invasive methods often help treat dry eye, they may not work fully for every patient. Most patients with dry eyes find that it takes a combination of treatment methods to find the most relief.
The most common surgery for dry eye syndrome is the insertion of punctal plugs. These tiny plugs block the tear ducts, forcing the tears your eyes produce to remain on the surface of the eye for a longer period of time. This helps keep the eye lubricated and delivers needed nutrients as well.
Often, dry eye can be treated using a combination of these methods. If your doctor finds after dry eye treatment that your tear production has improved enough, you can have LASIK without worrying about your ability to recover.
Managing Dry Eye During Recovery
Even if your dry eye is currently under control and being managed, your eyes may feel dry after LASIK. This is often the case even if you have never had dry eyes before, as it is a common side-effect of the procedure.
This is normal for the first day or so following the procedure. Managing this discomfort can be as simple as using artificial tears. Be sure to get your doctor to approve of any over-the-counter artificial tears or painkillers that you take after having LASIK.
Using prescribed medications after LASIK can help. This is something every LASIK patient should do to avoid infections or complications.
If you do find that dry eye is bothering you longer after LASIK than expected, call your doctor. It could be a sign of a complication.
Ready to find out if you could be a good candidate for LASIK? Schedule your free LASIK consultation at The Nielsen Eye Center in the greater Boston area now!
The doctors at The Nielsen Eye Center are experts at determining if patients are right for procedures like LASIK. Why delay when the LASIK consultation is free? Call the Nielsen Eye Center at 617-471-5665 and ask to speak to a Patient Advocate today.