If you've ever experienced dry eye before, you know just how annoying and irritating it can be. What a lot of prospective LASIK patients don't realize is that dry eye syndrome is both a side effect of LASIK surgery as well as something that can affect candidacy for LASIK. It's an important topic we always bring up with people interested in refractive surgery.
The team at our Bakersfield laser eye surgery practice would like to take a few brief moments right now to look at the basics of LASIK surgery and how it relates to dry eye syndrome. We think this will provide a helpful bit of understanding to you if you're interested in laser vision correction.
What is dry eye syndrome?
Simply stated, dry eye syndrome refers to the lack of moisture in the eyes. This leads to itchiness, scratchiness, redness, and general discomfort of the eyes. Dry eye syndrome can be caused by dry or dusty environments, eye injuries, and blockage of the tear ducts.
Dry Eye Syndrome and LASIK Surgery
During LASIK surgery, a flap must be created in the topmost layer of the cornea (the epithelium) in order to perform the reshaping/recontouring. When this is done, nerves within the cornea are severed, which often reduces the tear production in the treated eye.
The nerves will heal in time, but for a few weeks after undergoing surgery at our laser vision correction practice in Bakersfield, LASIK patients will suffer from varying degrees of dry eye syndrome.
Dealing with Dry Eye After LASIK
After undergoing Bakersfield LASIK, we recommend our patients do the following:
- Carry liquid tears/eye drops with them at all times
- Avoid dusty and excessively dry environments
- Avoid smoking and/or smoke
The dry eye should only last for a few weeks, though a small number of LASIK patients may experience dry eye from time to time well after they have completely healed from the surgery. We can go over these matters in greater detail when you stop by for a consultation.
Dry Eye Syndrome and LASIK Candidacy
Since dry eye syndrome is a common side effect of LASIK, people who suffer from dry eye syndrome prior to LASIK surgery are not considered good candidates for treatment. This is simply a safety precaution to ensure that patients do not experience very severe dry eye after surgery, or possibly permanent dry eye issues.
Other Options for Vision Correction for People with Dry Eye Syndrome
If you have dry eye syndrome and a LASIK surgeon in Bakersfield says that laser vision correction is not for you, there are plenty of other options to keep in mind. Oftentimes the use of traditional corrective lenses such as contacts and glasses will be suitable for such needs. We can discuss all options for care during your visit.
Learn More About Laser Vision Correction Options
For more information about LASIK surgery and other matters related to laser vision correction and eye health, we encourage you to contact our Bakersfield laser eye surgery practice today. Our team of experienced eye care experts will be able to address all of your concerns and answer all of you questions in full detail.