LASIK is a remarkably safe and effective surgical procedure, one that has only gotten safer over the previous decade. Nevertheless, no surgery is without risks, even if they are relatively uncommon, as is the case with LASIK. At Broberg Eye Care, we want our patients to understand all of the possible risks of LASIK before they commit to undergoing the surgery. This way, they can feel as confident as possible in the decisions they make regarding their eye care.
One of the more common side effects associated with LASIK is dry eye. When patients meet with one of the talented and experienced ophthalmologists at our eye care clinic in Austin, dry eye after LASIK is one of the side effects about which we educate them so that they know exactly what to expect during the healing phase of the procedure.
How likely is dry eye to occur after LASIK?
Out of all the possible side effects of LASIK, dry eye is actually by far the most likely to occur. In fact, roughly 95 percent of all patients who undergo the procedure experience the symptoms of dry eye syndrome to some degree immediately afterwards. Most continue to experience dry eye for at least a week after surgery. In most cases, dry eye subsides after a couple of weeks, although in some rare cases it can last for up to a year. In nearly any case, the symptoms can be managed with eye drops or medication.
For most patients, symptoms of dry eye are mild to moderate, and not severe enough to interfere with daily activities. Again, cases of dry eye lasting longer than a couple of weeks are extremely rare, and even then, the condition is generally manageable.
Why does dry eye occur after LASIK?
LASIK requires the creation of a flap in the outermost layer of the cornea, the clear, protective covering at the front of the eye. While we use the latest technologies to ensure the highest levels of safety and precision in creating corneal flaps, some temporary damage to the corneal nerves is inevitable. This damage causes the normal nerve impulses that control tear production to be interrupted. As the cornea heals after surgery, the nerves also heal, resulting in the resumption of the normal function of the nerves in most patients. Flap complications are extremely rare among patients who follow the post-operative instructions provided to them closely; however, when they do occur, they can be addressed by our eye surgeons.
What are the symptoms of dry eye?
While the most characteristic symptom of dry eye – dryness of the eyes – may seem self-evident, there are other symptoms that may be less obvious. These include:
- Burning or stinging sensation in the eyes
- Excessive tear production (a sign of the eyes overcompensating for the dryness)
- The collection of mucus around the eyes
- Eye fatigue
- Discomfort that occurs due to the slightest exposure to wind
- Blurry vision
Learn More about Dry Eye after LASIK
To learn more about dry eye after LASIK, or to schedule your appointment at one of our two conveniently located laser eye surgery centers, please contact Broberg Eye Care today.