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LASIK and dry eye

side shot of an eye

LASIK has done a lot for people around the world looking for a vision correction solution that lets them see without contacts or glasses.In clinical studies, 94% of patients saw 20/20 or better six months after surgery

That said, it is a medical procedure, and as with any medical procedures, there are potential side effects. Today we’re going to talk about the most common one: dry eye.

How common is “common”?

Reasonably common. Research shows almost half of patients who undergo LASIK experience some degree of dry eye.

But this fact alone doesn’t tell the whole picture. Post-LASIK eye dryness can vary greatly in severity and length. Dry eye syndrome is usually temporary and can be effectively managed with eye drops or other treatments. In some cases, eye dryness can be severe.

However, dry eyes aren’t just associated with LASIK. About 17% of contact lens wearers complain of eye dryness as well.  

If dry eye is a current problem for you or something you’re concerned about, bring it up with your LASIK doctor early. They may be able to address your dry eye issue before continuing the conversation about LASIK. Or they might tell you that you’re not a good candidate based on severe dry eye.

In any case, it merits a conversation, which starts during a consultation (and most LASIK surgeons offer free consultations). If you want to get started, you can find one near you here.

Is there anything I can do to help treat or prevent dry eye after LASIK?

While the first step is the above — addressing any pre-existing eye dryness prior to your LASIK procedure — there are some things you can try to help manage eye dryness in preparation for and after your surgery.

Many patients who experience eye dryness with LASIK are able to manage it with eye drops — you can find these in the drug store, or your eye surgeon might write you a prescription. Studies have also indicated that “good fats” like those found in fish and omega-3 fatty acid supplements also promote healthy tear production.

Should the dry eye persist, which is a condition less common than temporary dry eye, your doctor may recommend an eye treatment that keeps eye moisture from clearing away so quickly, keeping your eyes moist for longer periods.

If you have any questions about LASIK, you can ask us here, but the best resource for addressing your concerns is a LASIK surgeon. Most give consultations for free, and you can find one near you here.

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