Help

Research your concerns in this forum or post your questions if you have had Lasik, IntraLasik, PRK, LASEK, Epi-Lasik, RLE, or P-IOL within the past three months.

Help

Postby Betty39 » Mon Nov 13, 2006 11:41 pm

I tried writing a question before. I don't think it went through so I'm trying again. I had customvue lasik 5 weeks ago. My vision is totally perfect. The problem is I have VERY dry eyes. I had no dry eye problem prior to surgery that I knew of. I was a contact lense wearer for 21 years with no dry eye problems, I never used re-wetting drops. Now my eyes are so uncomfortable I am totally regretting this surgery. I have had 4 plugs put in my eyes, I use systane liquid gel, I take 2000 mgs. of flaxseed oil in a gel capule every day. I feel I am a bit better but I am very discouraged because the doctor and all my friends who have had this done tell me they didn't feel like this. By now shouldn't the dry eyes have gone away? And since they didn't, does that mean I have a good chance of feeling like this forever? I wanted to get rid of my need for contacts because it was a nuisance. Now I have an even bigger nuisance and I am uncomfortable. Mostly though I am afraid. If I knew this was going to subside I could probably bare it easier. But if this becomes a chronic problem then I have made the biggest mistake of my life! Help!!!
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Postby peakaboo » Tue Nov 14, 2006 3:18 am

I had my surgery a little more than 3 months ago, and since I was taking eye drops regularly following the surgery, I didn't really notice how dry my eyes were until after the first few weeks when drops were not on a mandatory schedule. The dry eyes at night was the worst and I woke up many times in the middle of the night having to literally pry my eyes open because they were so dry. I had no problems with dry eye prior to the surgery, although I did notice more discomfort than usual with my contacts over the past year or so.

My dry eyes seem to be getting much better over the past few weeks. Noticeably better than a month or 6 weeks ago. It's probably worse for you since you're only 5 weeks in, and it's winter season where dry eye is exacerbated by the dry heat from baseboards and other building heating systems. Five weeks after my surgery it was still August and humidity and air conditioning helped the situation.

My guess is that you'll be much better after a few more months, and will probably have no dry eye at all by next summer. Keep taking your drops as you need them, and maybe think about using a humidifier in your room at night. I tried Refresh Plus, Refresh Liquigel, Refresh Endura, Soothe and Systane. Refresh Liquigel is a little goopy and Soothe starts to cake up after a while and can burn for a few seconds, but both last pretty long. I just started trying Systane and it seems to be better than the other two...it lasts a while and is not goopy at all.

I'd much rather have dry eye than the discomfort of contact lenses. I sense my dry eye is taking a turn for the better and will be mostly gone in another few months. Post again in January and let us know if you notice any improvement!
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Postby Betty39 » Tue Nov 14, 2006 4:23 am

Thank you for your reply. I guess I was just totally unprepared for this complication. I expected not to have 20/20 vision and I was okay with that. I thought maybe I'd need reading glasses and was okay with that. I thought perhaps halos (which I do have) and I was/am okay with that too. My vision is 20/20 or better and very crisp, which I am happy about. What I didn't expect was this dry eye thing since I really didn't feel I had a pre-existing condition. Now they tell me maybe I was boarderline before. Whatever, I just know I never had my eyes feel like this in my whole life. My contacts weren't uncomfortable really ever. Every now and then one would "bug" me and I'd have to take it out and wash it off or maybe put in a new one. Maybe now looking back that was a dry eye symptom? With my glasses on sometimes I could "feel" the air in the room on my eyes since they were used to being covered up by my contacts. Maybe that was a dry eye thing too? I didn't think that before but now I'm wishing maybe the questionaire I filled out was a little more detailed or the doctor had asked me a little more detailed questions so I could have possibly detected a problem. Really, I just didn't know. I'm praying you're right and in a few weeks/ months this will cease to be such a big problem. It's making it very hard for me to work. I work on a computer 9 hours a day and just to day my boss got mad at me for not proofreading my work better. I didn't want to tell her it's because my eyes are so uncomfortable I couldn't bare to do my job like I'm supposed to. Thanks again for your response. Any other advice or experiences would be much appreciated too!
Betty39
 
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Location: Ventura CA

Postby LasikExpert » Tue Nov 14, 2006 7:51 pm

Betty39,

Temporarily induced dry eye symptoms are quite common after Lasik and IntraLasik. The severity varies greatly from patient to patient. You mention several symptoms of pre-existing borderline dry eye and it appears that Lasik took you through the threshold.

Dry eye symptoms resolve within the normal six month healing period for the vast majority of patients. Until resolution, you will need to manage the dry eye. We have a detailed article regarding Lasik Dry Eye with treatment ideas that you may find interesting.

You computer work will contribute to the problem. Working at a computer nearly always reduces the number of blinks and contributes to dry eye problems. You will need to be extra diligent in using preservative-free artificial tears while working and frequently close your eyes for 20-30 seconds.
Glenn Hagele
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Postby Betty39 » Tue Nov 14, 2006 10:51 pm

Thanks so much Glenn for your response.
I have a couple more questions if you don't mind.

1. If I (or my doctor) had recognized that I was boarderline dry eye, would that have eliminated me as a candidate for the lasik?

2. With eyes that feel so uncomfortable, why is my vision so crisp? I am reading how dry eyes cause blurry vision but mine is very good. The reason I ask is could it be that my eyes "feel" dry but really aren't due to the severing of the nerves that I read about? Plus, looking at them they look moist and that is another reason this is so puzzling.

3. The assistant to the doctor (lasik specialist) at the office told me from the get-go not to overuse the artificial tears. She said they are addictive and if you get your eyes "used" to feeling wet all the time then you will feel dry even when your eyes have a normal amount of lubrication. What I have read here states the opposite and even at my doctor's office when I told him what she had said he said he didn't agree with that statement. So, was she correct that they are addictive?

4. I know you don't have a crystal ball, but being that now I find out I probably was boarderline dry eye before surgery, does that mean I have a greater chance of this being a chronic problem?

I appreciate your input. I am feeling a bit afraid.
Betty39
 
Posts: 130
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Location: Ventura CA

Postby peakaboo » Wed Nov 15, 2006 2:34 am

I work on a PC at work all day too...it really helps if you have a flat screen monitor (I work on a laptop). A standard monitor seems to make the dry eyes more noticeable for some reason.

Your symptoms sound a lot like mine a month or so ago. Have you tried Soothe or any of the other drops? Some work better than others...depends on the person. Also, you might try taking 1000 mg vitamin C to help the healing.

Like you, I was unprepared for the severity of dry eye that I experienced. It does get better though...you'll see!
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Postby Betty39 » Wed Nov 15, 2006 2:42 am

Thanks Peekaboo for your input. I do work on a flat screen. I'm glad you are getting better and I hope I will too. I have tried so many eye drops. I've probably spent about 100 bucks on them so far. The only one that seems to really give me relief is the Systane liquid gel. That works better than the Soothe or any others I've tried. But it's expensive!
I do take vitamin C. My doctor said my eyes look healthy and are healing well so go figure. I don't know why they feel like this then. I think I would have delt with not so perfect vision better than this dryness. I think, but after what I spent on the surgery I might have been upset if I didn't see as well as I do. I just pray it goes away because I want to enjoy my crisp vision soon!

Thanks again,
Betty
Betty39
 
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Postby LasikExpert » Wed Nov 15, 2006 3:47 am

Betty39 wrote:1. If I (or my doctor) had recognized that I was boarderline dry eye, would that have eliminated me as a candidate for the lasik?


What is very likely is that you would have been told that you could expect to have dry eyes for a few months, need artificial tears often, and will have punctal plugs. Then the doctor would ask if you wanted to proceed.

Betty39 wrote:2. With eyes that feel so uncomfortable, why is my vision so crisp? I am reading how dry eyes cause blurry vision but mine is very good. The reason I ask is could it be that my eyes "feel" dry but really aren't due to the severing of the nerves that I read about? Plus, looking at them they look moist and that is another reason this is so puzzling.


The surgery did disrupt the corneal nerves and it is possible this is causing a false sensitivity. Your doctor can evaluate the health of your tears and determine if you have actual dry eye problems. I know of some patients who appeared to have normal tearing function, but experienced the feeling of dry eyes for several weeks.

Betty39 wrote:3. The assistant to the doctor (lasik specialist) at the office told me from the get-go not to overuse the artificial tears. She said they are addictive and if you get your eyes "used" to feeling wet all the time then you will feel dry even when your eyes have a normal amount of lubrication. What I have read here states the opposite and even at my doctor's office when I told him what she had said he said he didn't agree with that statement. So, was she correct that they are addictive?


At first read I would have disagreed with the assistant, however if you use artificial tears that utilize preservatives, the assistant's statement may be accurate. Although initially soothing, some artificial tear preservatives actually exacerbate dry eyes. You use them again, the eyes are soothed, and then the dry eye is exacerbated. You use them more often, get the temporary relief, and then dry eye is exacerbated more. This is that “addictive” cycle. This is why you need to be careful to use only preservative-free artificial tears.

Betty39 wrote:4. I know you don't have a crystal ball, but being that now I find out I probably was boarderline dry eye before surgery, does that mean I have a greater chance of this being a chronic problem?


The opinion of many different studies is that your eyes will return to the same tearing condition as they were before surgery, however you will now undoubtedly be more diligent about eye care. Before surgery you may have dismissed a transient sore eye or red eye problem. Now you will be paying close attention to your eye health and properly responding. You may use artificial tears more after surgery, but some of that frequency will be because you were not using them enough before surgery.[/quote]

Betty39 wrote:I appreciate your input. I am feeling a bit afraid.


There is nothing wrong with being concerned. When you expect the "20-Minute Miracle" and get dry eyes, you are going to be concerned. It is real easy to be anxious after having elective - arguably cosmetic - surgery with less than perfect results.

You are very early in the healing stages. I know it is easier said than done (I've been there), but try to be patient.
Glenn Hagele
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I am not a doctor.
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Postby Betty39 » Wed Nov 15, 2006 5:06 pm

Thanks so much Glenn for all your answers.

I am feeling a lot better about my situation.

I can't imagine what I would have done if I didn't find this site.

If I hear of anyone contemplating this surgery, I will definitely have them come here before and after their decision.
Betty39
 
Posts: 130
Joined: Thu Nov 02, 2006 11:21 pm
Location: Ventura CA

Postby LasikExpert » Wed Nov 15, 2006 10:06 pm

Betty39 wrote:If I hear of anyone contemplating this surgery, I will definitely have them come here before and after their decision.


That is exactly how you can "pay" us for our assistance! Just tell your friends and link to us in other posts, blogs, and websites.
Glenn Hagele
Volunteer Executive Director
USAEyes

Lasik Info &
Lasik Doctor Certification

I am not a doctor.
LasikExpert
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Posts: 3309
Joined: Fri May 12, 2006 6:43 am
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