As successful as LASIK is, it is not free from certain side effects. One of the most common side effects that patients experience is dry eye.
This occurs because the surgeon cuts through the cornea of the eye to reshape it. This is the main reason that LASIK works the way it does.
This can sever important nerves that tell the brain when the eye needs hydration. As a result, you may experience a weakened tear response and fewer tears being produced. This is what leads to dry eye in patients after LASIK.
The good news is that dry eye from LASIK is rarely severe. It is usually only temporary and almost always heals in a matter of days or weeks.
If your dry eye persists long after your surgery, or you are experiencing worse than expected symptoms, talk to your eye doctor. Keep reading to learn more about dry eye after LASIK!
Coping with Dry Eye
Dry eye is annoying at best, and it may be painful at worst. If you are experiencing post-LASIK dry eye, there are steps you can take to help decrease symptoms as your eyes heal.
Limit screen time
As you begin your recovery, you may find it difficult to stay off of your screens. The brain often forgets to blink while it’s being stimulated by things like the internet, television shows, or video games.
Not blinking can compound on already dry eyes, causing the problem to worsen over time. Limiting your screen time is an easy way to keep your eyes comfortable as you recover from LASIK.
Use your diet
Certain foods promote healthy tear production. Staying hydrated gives your body the ingredients it needs to create tears.
In particular, look for foods high in omega-3 fatty acids. This includes fish oil, walnuts, and chia seeds.
Humidify your home and workspace
Adding water vapor to the air can help keep them stay moist. This provides a baseline atmosphere that is healthy for the eyes.
Humidifiers are best in the places that you spend the most time, like your office or bedroom.
Avoid irritant particles and chemicals
This means you need to wear sunglasses outside. You’ll block dust and dirt and the sun’s UV rays while doing this.
You also need to be very careful to avoid getting water or shampoo in your eyes while you shower. Irritated eyes produce even less tears, a process that can feed back into itself.
DO NOT rub your eyes
Rubbing your eyes is never a good idea, but this is something you must avoid after LASIK. This does not help with dry eye in the long run.
It is also a guaranteed way to cause serious post LASIK complications. Instead of rubbing your eyes, use eye drops to relieve your dry eye.
You can use over the counter eye drops, but be sure you know what type you are getting. Eye drops with higher viscosity provide longer lasting relief.
They can make your eyesight blurry for some time. Thinner eye drops provide instant relief, though it’s relatively short-lived.
Although most LASIK patients can expect to quickly regain their normal eye functions quickly, everyone is different. If you are concerned that your eyes are taking too long to recover, contact your eye doctor and talk to them about it.
Wondering if LASIK could be the right procedure for you? The first step is to schedule a LASIK consultation at Vision Care of Maine in Brewer, ME!