Dry Eye Causing Light Sensitivity After Lasik?

Had custom lasik 4 wks ago and am experiencing terrible dry eye, light sensitivity, and daytime glare. Is dry eye causing this? The light sensitivity occurs with all types of lighting including sunlight. I am not only experiencing daytime glare but also some nightime glare as well, small halos and glare off headlights. Are these caused by abberations or dry eye?

Doctor Answers 5

Dry Eye and Light Sensitivity after LASIK

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There is a condition called “decayed light hypersensitivity” and can occur 3-6 weeks post-operatively.  It is treated successfully with topical steroid eye drops.  Call your surgeon.

New York Ophthalmologist

You may have dryness or something else causing these problems

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While it is true that dryness can cause both light sensitivity and disturbances of vision such as glare, it is possible that you have some other problem.  Sometimes, especially after "all laser" LASIK, patients can experience something known as TLS or transient light sensitivity.  This causes severe sensitivity to light and is helped with certain medications almost immediately.  It is important to know whether your symptoms are simply due to dryness or something else so that they can be best treated for your successful recovery.

Jon Dishler, MD, FACS
Greenwood Village Ophthalmologist

Light Sensitivity after LASIK

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Dryness of your eyes could be a cause of the ligth sensitivity you are experiencing, but it could also be the result of some slight swelling remaining. It would be a good idea  to see your surgeon again, because the treatment of dryness and swelling are different. So that you can relax a bit, both dryness and swelling will go away, but sometimes using a steroid drop for a week or so can help speed that along. In my opinion,  postoperative swelling is more typically the cause of the glare and halos you are describing. Again, these symptoms will go away with time, but perhaps your doctor should know about this.

Anthony J. Kameen, MD
Baltimore Ophthalmologist

Dry Eye after LASIK

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Dry eyes may cause symptoms of light sensitivity; however, other conditions as well can also be associated with this symptom.  I would recommend that you seek the care of your eyeMD and obtain treatment.  Be followed for the progression and improvement following therapy for the dryness, if present.  Usually, this will improve over time with therapy.  Some dry eye treatments include the use of nonpreserved eye drops, Restasis eye drops,  intake of more water, oral administration of omega 3 and flax seed oil, use of lubricating ointments and the insertion of punctal plugs to close the tear ducts temporarily and increase the tears.  Your doctor should guide you through this treatment. Some people respond quickly and others more slowly but improvement usually occurs in most people.

Sandy Feldman, MD
San Diego Ophthalmologist

Light sensitivity after LASIK

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Your light sensitivity (known as "photophobia" by doctors) may be caused by dryness.  It might also be caused by microscopic swelling in the cornea, known as corneal edema, or by inflammation in the cornea or rarely after LASIK inside the eye itself.  Photophobia is more common with femtosecond-laser created flaps ("all-laser LASIK" using the IntraLase or similar lasers) than it is with blade-created flaps.  Femtosecond laser-associated Transient Light Sensitivity (TLS) is relatively common and is thought to be due to inflammation within the cornea.  TLS is generally self-limited and resolves on its own, but may be treated with a longer course of steroid anti-inflammatory eyedrops.

Your surgeon should be able to determine the cause of your photophobia and recommend the proper treatment course.

Gary Kawesch, MD (retired)
San Jose Ophthalmologist

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.