5 Tips For Managing Dry Eye Symptoms Post-LASIK

31 Jul 2023Pre- and Post-op Info

LASIK or laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis is a common procedure performed to correct vision problems. This is done through reshaping of the cornea following the creation of a flap within its outermost layer.

If you want to learn more about LASIK itself as well as the types of LASIK surgeries that can be performed, check out our article on the topic: Which LASIK Procedure Is the Best for You?

Today, however, we’re concerned with one of the side effects that may arise from this procedure. Specifically, dry eye syndrome.

This is the most common side effect of LASIK, affecting 9 out 10 people. Generally indicated by persistently dry eyes, blurred vision, eye fatigue, reddish eyes, and sore or itchy eyes, it typically gets better over time.

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Why does LASIK cause dry eyes?

As mentioned earlier, LASIK is a procedure that involves slicing through the outer part of the cornea.

While this is largely a safe procedure, it can also damage nerves in the area temporarily. Moreover, it can lead to a lowered ability to feel sensations on the eye.

Due to this, the nerves that regulate the tear glands end up being unable to detect (or sense) when the eye is drying out. This means they no longer tell the tear glands to produce tears when it may be needed.

This results in dry eye syndrome.

Tips on Managing Dry Eye Symptoms

There are many options available to help treat dry eyes. Here are the most commonly indicated ones.

Shinagawa_Blog Piece Mockup_July 2-031. Use artificial tears regularly

Artificial tears come in many forms. For example, a person may use eye drops or lubricating gels to immediately allay the discomfort from dry eye post-procedure. Your doctor will advise you on the type of lubricant and on the frequency of use.

2. Reduce screen time

Screen time is another possible cause of eye strain that can exacerbate the discomfort from dry eye syndrome. The advice here is therefore to reduce screen usage.

This is usually the case immediately after LASIK, when the eyes are especially sensitive. After the procedure, your eyes need more care than usual. Remember to rest your eyes more. A simple way to do this is to close your eyes for about 10 to 15 seconds after every half hour of looking at the screen. 

3. Use a warm compress

Warm compresses help alleviate the symptoms of dry eye syndrome by stimulating the meibomian glands. Located at the very edge of your eyelids, these glands produce oil that contributes to eye lubrication.

Increasing their oil production can improve the tear film, an oily layer that prevents your tears from evaporating too quickly.

4. Avoid dry environments and use a humidifier

Dry environments can leach moisture from your eyes and into the air more quickly. The same goes for breezes or air currents in your face, so you should try to avoid being right in front of fans or air conditioners.

If your environment is naturally dry, try using a humidifier to remedy that. The added moisture in the air can do a lot to help with the discomfort from dry eye syndrome.

5. Stay hydrated

Being well hydrated can help with dry eye syndrome. Make sure that you drink enough water to stay healthy and hydrated throughout the day.

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Other Treatment Options for Dry Eye Symptoms

If the tips above don’t work, there are still more options available for those seeking solutions to deal with dry eye after LASIK.

Anti-inflammatory Agents

Some cases of dry eye come from the eyes being inflamed post-procedure. This is a fairly normal reaction from the body, but it may lead to reduced tear production.

To help with that, a doctor can assess your situation to see if you require anti-inflammatory medications such as eye drops.

Punctal Plugs

Punctal plugs are miniscule plugs often made of silicone that are used to obstruct the tear ducts. The idea here is to prevent the ducts from draining your tears too quickly, keeping the eyes lubricated.

Learn more about LASIK and which procedure is best for you

Dry eye may be the most common side effect of LASIK, but it also remains one of the most treatable. Indeed, as we mentioned earlier, most cases of it are temporary.

You can seek professional advice from your eye doctor or reach out to us at Shinagawa Eye Centre if you would like to learn more about LASIK.

We can arrange for a pre-LASIK assessment with our specialists to determine the most suitable course of action for you. Call us to enquire or book an appointment today.