Addressing Dry Eyes After LASIK Surgery

Before your LASIK procedure, Great Plains Eye Specialists prepares our patients for what to expect in the hours, days and weeks post-surgery. The number one side effect from LASIK is dry eyes with an overwhelming 95% of patients experiencing the uncomfortable sensation. If you’ve ever had a speck of dirt in your eye or the sticky feeling of your eyelids pressed together when you try to blink, then you are familiar with dry eye symptoms. 

Keratoconjunctivitis sicca, more commonly referred to as dry eyes, accompanies LASIK results because the creation of a corneal flap affects the nerves that regulate the production of tears. Tears are essential for maintaining the clarity and health of your eyes. There are 3 types of tears: emotional, reflex and basal. Emotional tears are brought on by various feelings such as hope, fear, sadness, or joy. Reflex tears are the body’s response to fighting off harmful irritants. Basal tears are tears that go unnoticed because they act as a continual shield of protection for the eyes while naturally lubricating and nourishing the cornea. These are the tears that are suddenly limited due to a successful LASIK surgery. 

Addressing dry eyes after LASIK surgery begins with an assessment before surgery. Your LASIK surgeon will evaluate your tear production and distribution to determine if you are already susceptible or may become more prone to dry eyes after surgery. Certain risk factors also increase the likelihood of developing dry eyes. These include age, severe myopia, medications and living in a dry weather climate or environment. In most cases, remedies for dry eyes include a long list of simple dos and don’ts to incorporate into your daily routine. Dry eye solutions can be made by taking fish oil supplements, pressing a warm compress to the eyelids, adding a humidifier to the room, staying hydrated, using over the counter eye drops or artificial tears, cleansing the eyes including the lids and lashes, avoiding blowing air, blinking more frequently, quitting smoking, wearing wrap-around sunglasses, limiting screen time, avoiding alcohol, getting better sleep, prioritizing contact lens care and changing your environment. If dry eyes persist, contact your eye doctor for prescription eye drops or anti-inflammatory medication such as corticosteroids. 
Support of our patients does not end when you leave our office the same day as your surgery. We encourage you to keep us updated on any unfavorable symptoms post-surgery so that we can provide options to soothe your discomfort and make sure you are seeing your best. Addressing dry eyes after LASIK is just one component of your recovery to improve your vision and quality of life. For more information, call our office at 605-718-5123 or visit WEBSITE.