Imagine being able to see clearly with no hassle of searching for spectacles or contact lenses. This is the promise of LASIK surgery that helps correct your vision and say goodbye to vision aids. However, you may develop dry eyes after this surgery which may cause irritation, red eye, or discomfort. But worry not, as it is common for this condition to occur. The good thing is that it can be managed and does not outweigh the benefits of this surgery.
Dr Ajay Sharma, Chief Medical Director, EyeQ, explained the causes, risk factors and tips to manage dry eyes after LASIK.
What Causes Dry Eyes After LASIK Surgery?
Dr Sharma said that the operation alters or slices the cornea's nerves when your doctor forms the flap to improve your vision. Your eyes become less sensitive and are unable to produce enough moisturising tears as you recover. After the operation, the surface of your eye becomes unpleasant and inflamed, making your eyes feel dry.
How Long After LASIK Does Dry Eye Persist?
Dr Sharma highlighted that after LASIK, many patients feel dry eyes, although the majority notice a decrease in the symptom within a few weeks or months. He added that some patients may continue to experience dry eyes a year following their surgery. With time, as your eye heals and starts to produce more lubricating tears, your discomfort will reduce.
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Can People With Dry Eyes Opt For LASIK?
Dr Sharma emphasised that although having dry eyes before LASIK is a risk concern, it should not exclude you from undergoing the operation. Your doctor will identify your risk factors and evaluate the procedure's advantages. LASIK surgery can be performed on patients who have dry eyes but you can experience more severe side effects. Within a year of having LASIK, your dry eye symptoms will typically recover to their pre-surgery levels. It is important to undergo different dry eye treatments before having LASIK.
After LASIK, Can Dry Eyes Lead To Hazy Vision?
Dr Sharma said that you can also have an impaired vision and dry eyes as your eyes recover from the surgery. This may happen if your tears do not cover your eyes evenly. Due to this, it may be difficult to focus, resulting in hazy vision. However, Dr Sharma added that dry eyes and blurred vision should only last a short while. It is advisable to consult with a healthcare expert if you notice any symptoms.
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Tips To Manage Dry Eyes After LASIK
It is essential to take rest after LASIK surgery to help your eyes recover. You should get enough sleep, avoid sun exposure, and avoid eye-straining activities.
Keep Your Eyes Safe
Your doctor will recommend you wear an eye shield after the procedure to keep your eyes safe.
Do Not Exercise
Avoid strenuous exercise and high-impact sports for the first few weeks following the LASIK to allow your body to recuperate.
You can even apply a warm compress to your eyes to soothe your eyes.
Dr Sharma concluded that symptoms like blood-coloured patches on the eye, swelling, infection, and halo-like rings around lights at night may appear but diminish over time. Hence, it is important to stay connected with your doctor to avoid complications.