Not everyone can receive LASIK. To have the surgery, you need to pass a strict candidacy test to determine if the procedure is safe for you.
Some of the criteria include age, a reasonable prescription, stable vision, good health, pregnancy status, and the condition of your eyes. One condition that is particularly troublesome for LASIK hopefuls is dry eye syndrome.
Keep reading to find out if you can get LASIK if you have dry eye syndrome!
What is Dry Eye Syndrome?
You have likely experienced the symptoms of dry eye before. Common symptoms include itchiness, redness, excessive watering, and a gritty sensation in the eyes. When you experience these symptoms frequently and without obvious reason, it may be a chronic issue.
Dry eye can happen for two different reasons. The first is your eyes are not producing enough tears or the tears produced are low-quality.
Healthy tears should be made from three basic ingredients: Water, mucus, and oil. Water carries nutrients and hydration. Mucus allows the tear to spread evenly across the surface of the eye.
Oil stops the tear from evaporating too quickly. Most people who have tear quality problems are not producing enough oil.
Decreased tear production can be due to factors like aging, as a symptom of other conditions, or damage to your tear glands. It can also be a side effect of laser surgery such as LASIK, though this is usually temporary.
The reason LASIK candidacy is affected by prior problems with dry eye is that the surgery severs nerves in the cornea. These nerves tell the eye to produce tears when it needs them.
If you are already suffering from dry eye due to other reasons, LASIK will only exacerbate the issue. This can lead to further problems with your dry eye.
You are also more likely to develop surgical complications during your recovery.
Dry Eye Syndrome Treatments
Treating your dry eye largely depends on what the underlying issue is. If you are underproducing tears, you may be prescribed medication to stimulate tear production.
You may receive inserts that block tears from draining or inserts that slowly dissolve and produce artificial tears.
If you aren’t producing enough oil for your tears, you may receive treatments to open up the oil-producing glands in your eyelids. These treatments can also help reduce inflammation.
It is not uncommon to combine dry eye treatments, especially if the case is particularly bad.
Prevention is also a key factor in treating dry eye. Environmental factors play a huge role in causing dry eye. Here are a few ways you can help your dry eye yourself:
- Use humidifiers in your home to increase air moisture.
- Clean your living spaces using damp rags to stop dust and allergens from becoming airborne
- Use eye drops to treat symptoms rather than rubbing your eyes.
- Wash your eyelids gently with mild soap or baby shampoo to help if they are inflamed
To learn more about LASIK, set up a LASIK consultation at Vision Care of Maine in Bangor, ME!