If you’ve undergone LASIK surgery recently, you may have noticed a slightly annoying side effect. Almost every LASIK patient experiences dry, itchy feeling eyes after their surgery. Your doctor will prescribe you medicated eye drops and recommend over-the-counter lubricating eye drops as well. This helps, but how long is post-LASIK dry eye supposed to last?
Why Does LASIK Cause Dry Eye Syndrome?
During your LASIK surgery, some of the nerves in your cornea are severed. This means that your corneal sensitivity is slightly reduced. So, your eyes may not sense the need for lubrication like they used to. When this happens, tear production is reduced, leading to dry eye syndrome.
How Long Should Post-LASIK Dry Eye Last?
For most people, post-LASIK dry eye syndrome lasts a few weeks to a few months. During this time, your Los Angeles LASIK surgeon will recommend you use lubricating eye drops as needed to soothe any discomfort. Eventually, your eyes will start to compensate for the decrease in corneal sensitivity and restore some tear production.
What If It Lasts Longer?
For some LASIK patients, post-LASIK dry eye lasts longer than it should. In this case, you should consider a visit to your eye doctor to go over treatment options. With chronic dry eye syndrome, there is no cure. Chronic dry eye syndrome is not usually caused by LASIK surgery, but it is possible. However, with the right treatment method, you can live a life free from discomfort and with very little inconvenience.
Who Is at Risk?
While dry eye syndrome is very common and can happen to anyone for a multitude of reasons, there are some risk factors that make you more likely to develop post-LASIK dry eye.
- Age. Older age can make you more likely to develop dry eye symptoms after LASIK.
- Gender. Women, especially those who have undergone menopause, are more likely to develop dry eye syndrome.
- Environment. People living in unusually hot or dry climates are more likely to experience chronic dry eye symptoms.
- Autoimmune disease. People with autoimmune disease such as rheumatoid arthritis and Sjogren’s syndrome are typically not candidates for LASIK, as these people are much more likely to develop side effects.
If you are experiencing dry, itchy, red or stinging eyes, please contact your LASIK surgeon. If you experience dry eyes beyond what you feel is normal, call our office to see what we can do for you! Post-LASIK dry eyes do not have to affect your daily life. Contact us today!