Did you have dry eye after LASIK? If so, how long did it last?
How Long Does Dry Eye Last After Lasik?
Doctor Answers (4)
Dry Eye after LASIK is Common but usually Temporary
In LASIK, we are creating some stress to the eye in the creation of a corneal flap and the ablation of corneal tissue. There is loss of nerve endings and this in turn leads to dry eye of varying degrees. In patients who already have borderline dry eye this can tip them into a symptomatic situation.
Fortunately, as the eye heals, these nerve endings are restored naturally and the typical symptoms of dry eye after LASIK are limited to a few months. In some cases it can last longer.
Diagnosing dry eye pre-operatively, treating it appropriately when it occurs, and newer surgical and medicines all have helped to make this a problem that usually can be controlled.
Some types of treatment like farsighted treatments are more prone to dry eye symptoms after surgery.
Dry Eye After LASIK or PRK
Dry eye can be a temporary (3-6 months) reaction after either LASIK or PRK. This has become less of an issue over the past several years, as the lasers have improved, however, if this occurs eyedrops can be used to improve things. Years ago, dry eye was a bigger issue when the corneal flaps were created mechanically. Now that we use a bladeless method (Intralase) to create the flap there is less of a concern. Additionally, if you travel in an airplane shortly after your procedure (which is fine) you might notice the dryness a little more, because the air on an airplane is about the driest air anywhere. We can provide you with eyedrops to make air travel more comfortable.
Dry eye and LASIK
If you did not experience dry eye before LASIK, then you most likely will improve within 3-6 months, but there are treatments if dry eye persists.
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Dry Eye After LASIK
Dry eye does not occur in everyone after LASIK. In some individuals, the dryness may persist and in most, it diminishes over the first three to six months. Some prescriptions and individuals are more prone to dryness so make sure you discuss this with the doctor performing your LASIK. Dryness can often be treated with eye drops, ointments at bedtime and plugs, which result in closure of the outflow path of tears. Oral flax seed oil and omega 3's are often helpful as well.