Lasik and Menopause

1'm 46, menopausal, have had 30 yrs of contacts, have thick corneas (-7,-8) While I'm scheduled for surgery soon, I'm afraid. Will I have dry eyes forever? Can nutrition help with this condition? Will it get worse as I age? (ie When I'm 75 will I need drops every 1/2 hour???)

Doctor Answers 4

Post menopausal women tend to have the most difficulty with dry eyes

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Post menopausal women tend to have the most difficulty with dry eyes.  Dry eyes do not generally get better with age and often get worse.  There are many treatments now including nutrition (omega 3 – like fish oil and flax seed).  Other treatments include punctual plugs, Restasis RX eye drops in addition to topical lubricants like artificial tears.  There has also been success with treating dry eye with IPL (Intense Pulse Light) treatments.  Most patients can be successfully treated.  Be positive.

New York Ophthalmologist

LASIK and Menopause

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Dryness can worsen after LASIK. No one can predict how much dryness will occur to any individual.  Usually, dryness worsens after LASIK for a period of 3-6 months and improves over time.  Some prescriptions, such as farsighted ones, in which the cornea is steepened, may have longer periods of dryness. Speak with your doctor further about your particular situation. 

Sandy Feldman, MD
San Diego Ophthalmologist

LASIK, Menopause and Dry Eyes

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Dry eyes following LASIK can be very bothersome, even though you might never have been bothered by the symptoms before. Some patients even end up newly dependent on artificial tear drops following their procedure, which can be very frustrating. (I practice in the middle of the desert in the American Southwest, where nearly everybody, LASIK or not, develops dry eye at some point in our lives.) If you already suffer from dry eye syndrome and its attendant symptoms, it may stand to reason that LASIK could potentially worsen your condition, and certain medical diagnoses such as thyroid disease, collagen vascular disease and others, may interfere as well. Even certain medications, including over-the-counter allergy pills, can make things worse yet. Couple this with the understanding that as we age, our eyes produce less and less tears, plus the fact that hormonal imbalances don't help, and you may have reason to be concerned. So the question of whether you will have dry eyes forever is best answered, "yes, you may." However, most LASIK patients who have dry eyes following their procedure notice improvement over the first few months following their surgery. Nutrition in the form of flax seed oil and other supplements may be of benefit. Now, having said all this, there are other refractive procedures that may not worsen or bring on dry eyes as significantly as LASIK, and you should discuss these with your provider. They include such things as PRK (PhotoRefractive Keratectomy), ICL (Implantable Collamer Lens), and if you already have the formation of cataract, Lensectomy. In our experience, we have found that the ICL, for example, is an excellent alternative for patients with higher prescription amounts (such as yours), and dry eyes. Thanks for your post, and best of luck as you consider your options for excellent vision.

Robert Rivera, MD
Phoenix Ophthalmologist

LASIK and Menopause

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This is a great and important question. There is no question that the subset of patients that have the driest eyes(whether they have laser vision correction or not) is women during or after menopause. That being said, however, I see very little chronic dryness in any patient more than two weeks after LASIK(or PRK). The introduction of the femtosecond laser that creates the corneal flap has greatly reduced the incidence of dry eye across the board. Any dryness induced by the swelling after laser correction will resolve quickly. Two easy tricks: drink the 8 glasses of water per day that we are all supposed to be drinking and start omega 3(fish oil) tablets now and take them for the rest of your's are proving to be instrumental in the long term good health of many organ systems and the eye is one of them!

Anthony J. Kameen, MD
Baltimore 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.