Dry eyes after laser eye surgery

Laser eye correction has a great success rate nevertheless like any surgical procedure laser eye surgery too has some problems associated with it.  The risk factors for such procedures are greatly reduced to almost negligible depending on the type of surgery performed, the experience of the operating surgeon and the technology of the laser being used.

At our centre we perform surgery only after through pre examination and pre operative testing done by the operating surgeon himself so as to identify those who are more prone problems such as dry eyes. The dry eye test is not just a qualitative test to check the nature of tears, but also a quantitative test to score the dryness on a scale of 1 to ten. This helps to ascertain your candidature for the right type of laser treatment. If needed, it may even be postponed until the time your dry eyes are treated.

We keep you informed of the potential side-effects that you may face, be it dry eyes or night vision issues and accordingly help you choose the best suitable laser procedure, whether it is custom wavefront LASIK, Advanced surface treatments like EpiLASIK or the third generation of laser procedures like ReLEx SmILE.

Lasik and Dry eyes: One of the most commonest post Lasik problem that one reads about or hears of is “dry eyes”.  The scientific reason behind this dryness, is due to the fact that for a LASIK procedure, one needs to create what is called a “flap”.

This flap is a necessary step in all LASIK procedures, regardless of kind or brand of laser used. The corneal flap is made so that the laser procedure is painfree, and so that the laser can be applied on the inner layers of the cornea and not on the very sensitive superficial part (typically where one would position their contact lenses).  This corneal flap is the lifted and the exposed cornea is then reshaped with an excimer laser, the flap being replaced back at end of the procedure.

As the flap is made by using a ‘cut’ on the cornea, the corneal nerves which supply the cornea are also cut, this reduces the sensitivity of the cornea for a few weeks post LASIK. Dry eyes can be further aggravated if the occupation of the person undergoing it is more of computer work. This affects tear production thus making the eyes dry without sufficient lubrication. In some cases this dryness may be temporary and mild while in some cases it could be severe.

As there is a risk of aggravating dryness after LASIK, the Dry Eye Tests need to be performed thoroughly beforehand. You may have dry eyes before surgery due to other factors as well such as thyroid etc however it should not stop you from seeking a LASIK treatment. Dry eyes after LASIK is generally a temporary issue and resolves in few weeks, during which time you are prescribed lubricating eye drops or artificial tears.

In most cases this spontaneously resolves even without medication as the corneal nerve endings regenerate and tear production gets back to normal relieving you from the symptoms. In case of any issues regarding dry eyes do consult for further treatment as soon as possible.

Symptoms of Dry Eyes post LASIK:

  • On and off hazy vision usually after long hours of computer work
  • Foreign body sensation
  • Occasional discomfort
  • Watering or tearing

Remedies to resolve dry eyes caused by LASIK:

Most common ones are as noted below:

  • Artificial tear drops
  • Punctual plugs
  • Anti inflammatory eye drops

Understanding how the world cannot function without computers in any field and having proven that computers are a factor in inducing dryness, the latest third generation of laser procedures – ReLEx Smile work by reducing risk of dry eyes significantly.

ReLEx (Smile and Flex) and Dry Eyes: In ReLEx (Smile and Flex) procedure as there is no flap created and due to absence of tissue ablation, it results in not disturbing the corneal nerves and its sensation.  Hence this procedure greatly reduces the complication of LASIK specifically the dry eyes issue.

Here, in this high precision procedure it preserves the strength of the cornea as 1/5th the size of a bladeless flap is made. This treatment is good for those already suffering from pre – operative dry eyes and other eye conditions like short sight, thin corneas, contact lens intolerance, etc. Moreover as least number of corneal nerves affected compared to LASIK, so dry eyes are significantly less or near zero.

Excellent expertise and experience is required for lenticule creation in ReLEx procedures hence it is important that you get this treatment done in the right place.

Points to note after ReLEx procedures:

  • You may return to work in a day’s time
  • Eye drops will need to be used for a few days
  • Lubricating eye drops may be required in some for more weeks

Do get in touch with us to know more on the most suitable treatment option for you.