Dry Eyes After Lasik – How Long Does It Last and How Is It Treated?

LASIK is a common procedure used to treat eyesight problems, such as nearsightedness. LASIK has a strong record of safely performed procedures with highly desirable outcomes. The recovery process from laser-assisted surgeries is generally quick, with patients getting back to work within a few hours.

The complications to LASIK are few and mild. One common complication experienced post-surgery is dry eyes, which can be overcome easily and even treated before the surgery takes place.

What is dry eye disease?

Dry eye disease (DED) is caused by the malfunction of the eyes’ tears and ocular surfaces. DED can causes discomfort, difficulty seeing and tear film instability. DED is usually brought on by and/or further exacerbated by a change in tear production and evaporation or inflammation of the ocular surface.

What is the ocular surface?

The ocular surface of the eye includes both the cornea and the conjunctiva; the visible eye that rests between your upper and lower eyelids. While our eyelids are designed to shelter the eyes, we have a thin layer of tear film that protects the ocular surfaces when the lids are open.

Why is the ocular surface affected by LASIK?

During the LASIK eye procedure, a small incision is made into the cornea. While the surgery is performed to foster quick healing, the ocular surface (which includes the cornea) is interrupted. Occasionally, corneal nerves are cut, reducing the cornea’s typical signals for tear production. If the cornea is not signaling for adequate tears, the eyes will begin to feel dry.

Doctor explaining to a woman what the ocular surface is

Will I get dry eyes after LASIK?

Most patients experience dry eyes after their laser eye procedure. Imagine getting a piece of dust in your eye and the irritation it causes thereafter. During surgery, the cornea is disturbed and consequently, it can experience mild discomfort as the incision or corneal flap heals.

How long will dry eyes last?

Post-LASIK dry eyes is a common and temporary side effect of undergoing the advanced laser eye procedure. Most patients experience the mild discomfort of dry eyes for a limited time immediately post-procedure.

When are dry eyes the worst after LASIK?

Patients report their worst bouts with dry eyes within the few months after surgery. Within 6-12 months of the procedure, dry eyes are resolved and symptoms lessen or disappear altogether.

Can post-LASIK dry eyes affect my vision?

In some cases, the eyes’ neglect to signal for adequate tear production will reduce the overall quality of vision.

What if I have dry eye syndrome before LASIK?

Before undergoing a laser eye procedure, your surgeon will verify that you are a candidate. If you suffer from preoperative dry eyes, special treatment will be administered to reduce the negative side effects of LASIK and improve your overall results.

Do eye drops help after LASIK?

Dry eyes after LASIK can be remedied by a number of solutions. In some cases, surgeons will prescribe a special eye drop serum to use.

Do I have to wear sunglasses after LASIK?

Sunglasses are to be worn at least one week in the immediate post-LASIK period to protect the eyes as they heal. Some patients experience extended sensitivity to light and opt to sunglasses for longer.

When will my vision be perfect?

While perfect vision is not a result claimed by operating LASIK surgeons, patients experience significantly improved vision quickly after laser-eye procedures, typically within three hours. After the initial improvement window, vision continues to enhance over the course of about three months.

Find out if LASIK is right for you

Are you thinking about undergoing a laser-assisted refractive procedure? Find out if you are a candidate by scheduling an initial (and free!) consultation with Diamond Vision at a location that is most convenient for you. Contact our Atlanta Lasik Eye Surgery Center for more information.