Link between LASIK and Dry Eyes

LASIK (Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis), is the very common kind of laser eye surgery. It is used to treat astigmatism, farsightedness and nearsightedness. This procedure entails a number of inevitable risks and problems in some individuals.

How LASIK leads to dry eyes

The very common side-effect of LASIK is dry eyes.

A 2011 study observed that 95 % of sufferers develop some degree of dryness quickly after having the procedure, with a small percentage of sufferers developing chronic dry eyes that do not react to traditional therapies for dry eye disease.

As many as 60 % of sufferers still report dry eye symptoms 1 month after getting LASIK. The symptoms generally peak in the initial few months after surgery and start to improve 6 to 12 months after surgery.

Experts have recommended various reasons why individuals might get dry eye after having LASIK.

One reason could be harm to the corneal nerves. Nerves in the eye are interrupted both when the LASIK surgeon creates the corneal flap and when the laser reshapes the cornea.

Another probable trigger is that the creation of the corneal flap could also harm cells in the eye known as goblet cells.

Inflammation to the nerve endings in the eye following the procedure could also trigger dry eye, or make pre-existing symptoms of dry eye more serious.

On the other hand, the change to the shape of the cornea in LASIK may modify the fit of the eyelid against the surface of the eye. This could result in tears being distributed unevenly over the eye when blinking.

Treatment and prevention of dry eyes caused by LASIK

Traditional treatments for dry eyes work for most individuals who experience these symptoms after going through the LASIK.

The lubricant eye drops well-known as artificial tears are generally the initial treatment a physician will recommend. However, some sufferers may not react adequately to artificial tears.

A process called punctual occlusion may be efficient for these individuals. In this process, silicon or collagen plugs are placed into an area of the eye. The purpose is for these plugs to keep tears in the eyes for more time.

Punctual occlusion is considered by specialists to be safe and effective, and the method can be reversed.

Because inflammation is a component of dry eye condition, anti-inflammatories are usually used to deal with moderate to severe symptoms.

Cyclosporine eye drops have been identified to enhance tear production, reduce inflammation, and raise the numbers of goblet cells in individuals who have dry eye.

If these therapies do not work, other choices include autologous serum eye drops and scleral gas-permeable contact lenses.

Autologous serum eye drops comprise of a individual’s own serum, which is an element of blood, combined with sterile saline solution.

Scleral lenses are broader than normal contact lenses. They sit on the white part of the eye and assist to keep eyes moist by holding a reservoir of fluid in between the lens and cornea.