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Dry Eyes After Lasik and Bladeless Lasik

Dry eye prevention techniques to use with Lasik, Bladeless Lasik,
PRK, LASEK, and Epi-Lasik.


Image of woman standing in a windy desert.  
Lasik and Bladeless Lasik may induce dry eye symptoms during the normal six month healing period.  
   

Dry Eyes after Lasik is a common condition during the immediate recovery period. If you have dry eyes before conventional or custom wavefront Lasik, Bladeless Lasik, PRK, LASEK, or Epi-Lasik, you may not be excluded as a candidate for refractive surgery, but it is a condition that you must report to your doctor. Pre-existing dry eyes needs to be evaluated, treated, and resolved before surgery.

This article is about why dry eyes occur and how to prepare before surgery. A related article is  Lasik dry eye treatment.

Tear Quantity, Tear Quality

Two popular methods to test for dry eyes is a Tear Break-Up Test (TBUT) to determine tear quality and a Schirmer test to determine tear quantity. Dry eye treatment will depend upon the cause and severity of the dry eyes. Dry eyes is a medical condition and treatment would normally be covered under by major medical insurance plans.

Lasik Induced Temporary Dry Eyes

It is common to experience dry eyes for a short period after Lasik, Bladeless Lasik and sometimes PRK and its cousins LASEK and Epi-Lasik. Virtually everyone who has Lasik or Bladeless Lasik will experience dry eyes, but the important issue is to what degree and for how long.

For the vast majority of refractive surgery recipients, the degree of dry eye symptoms is not significant enough to cause difficulties. Even those who do have some trouble most often find the dry eye symptoms resolve within the normal six-month healing period. For an unfortunate few patients, Lasik induced dry eyes is a long-term complication that, although manageable, may be very disruptive.

There are many techniques to reduce the probability of dry eyes being induced by surgery, but most are the responsibility of the doctor. Prevention of Lasik related dry eyes is primarily focused on proper patient selection and treatment of pre-existing dry eye prior to surgery.

Drowning In Artificial Tears

There are many techniques to treat dry eye. The most common are preservative-free artificial tears, lubricating gel, punctal plugs, Restasis, and flax seed oil supplements. The technique best suited depends upon the exact nature of the tear deficiency and underlying cause. There are many types of artificial tear eye drops for slightly different purposes.

Less Dry Eye With Surface Ablation

Although PRK, LASEK, and Epi-Lasik may induce dry eye symptoms, Lasik and Bladeless Lasik seem to be the more commonly associated with dry eyes. This is partly because the Lasik techniques are more disruptive to the corneal nerves than PRK and LASEK. For this reason, patients with preexisting dry eyes may find PRK, LASEK, or Epi-Lasik a better choice. Other techniques such as RLE, and P-IOLs only marginally disrupt the corneal nerves, but have their own limitations. Whatever the surgery of choice, the less the corneal nerves are disrupted, the faster the nerves recover and normal tear function returns.

Be sure to discuss any dry eye problems (before or after surgery) with your doctor.

Looking For Best Lasik Surgeon?

If you are ready to choose a doctor to be evaluated for conventional or custom wavefront Lasik, Bladeless Lasik, PRK, or any refractive surgery procedure, we recommend you consider a doctor who has been evaluated and certified by the USAEyes nonprofit organization. Locate a USAEyes Evaluated & Certified Lasik Doctor.

Personalized Answers

If this article did not fully answer your questions, use our free Ask Lasik Expert patient forum.


Recent Lasik & Dry Eyes Medical Journal Articles...

Related Articles

Polymorphism in THBS1 gene is associated with post-refractive surgery chronic ocular surface inflammation.

Ophthalmology. 2014 Jul;121(7):1389-97

Authors: Contreras-Ruiz L, Ryan DS, Sia RK, Bower KS, Dartt DA, Masli S

Abstract
PURPOSE: To determine the association of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of the thrombospondin 1 (THBS1) gene with development of chronic ocular surface inflammation (keratoconjunctivitis) after refractive surgery.
DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study.
PARTICIPANTS: Active duty U.S. Army soldiers (n = 143) who opted for refractive surgery.
METHODS: Conjunctival impression cytology samples collected from participants before the surgery were used to harvest DNA for genotyping 5 THBS1 SNPs (rs1478604, rs2228262, rs2292305, rs2228262, and rs3743125) using the Sequenom iPLEX Gold platform (Sequenom, San Diego, CA). Samples collected after surgery were used to harvest RNA for gene expression analysis by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Participants were followed for 1 year after surgery to monitor the status of keratoconjunctivitis.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Genetic basis of the development of chronic keratoconjunctivitis after refractive surgery.
RESULTS: Carriers of minor alleles of 3 SNPs each were found to be more susceptible to developing chronic keratoconjunctivitis (rs1478604: odds ratio [OR], 2.5; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.41-4.47; P = 2.5 × 10(-3); rs2228262 and rs2292305: OR, 1.9; 95% CI, 1.05-3.51; P = 4.8 × 10(-2)). Carriers of the rs1478604 minor allele expressed significantly reduced levels of thrombospondin 1 (TSP1) (P = 0.042) and increased levels of an inflammatory cytokine associated with keratoconjunctivitis, interleukin-1β (P = 0.025), in their ocular surface epithelial cells compared with homozygous major allele controls.
CONCLUSIONS: Genetic variation in the THBS1 gene that results in decreased expression of the encoded glycoprotein TSP1 in ocular surface epithelial cells significantly increases the susceptibility to develop chronic ocular surface inflammation after refractive surgery. Further investigation of THBS1 SNPs in a larger sample size is warranted.

PMID: 24679443 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

 


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