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Lasik Headache

Headaches after Lasik, Bladeless Lasik, PRK, LASEK, or Epi-Lasik are not common and fortunately are normally temporary.

Image of woman with fingertips at her temples and eyes closed.  
Headache after Lasik is not common, but is a known complication that can often be easily resolved.  

Headaches after conventional or custom wavefront Lasik, Bladeless Lasik, PRK, LASEK, or Epi-Lasik are a known symptom and are often caused by issues indirectly related to surgery. The common culprits are Lasik induced temporary dry eye and accommodation adjustments.

Temporary dry eye is a relatively common complication after Lasik and Bladeless Lasik. Dry eye may occur after PRK, LASEK, and Epi-Lasik, but is less common. During surgery the nerves that regulate tear production are disrupted. This tear disruption may lead to irritated, red, and tired eyes that cause or exacerbate a headache. We have a detailed article regarding Lasik dry eye issues.

It is important to remember that the tear production and evacuation system is connected to the sinus, which is connected to the inner ear, which is connected to the throat, and on and on. A compromise in one part of the system can affect the other.

Dry eye, no matter what the cause, can irritate the sinus. Sinus irritation often presents as a headache surrounding the eyes. Equally, a sinus problem can contribute to dry eye, which can exacerbate a sinus problem. It can be a difficult cycle. Lasik dry eye treatment can often resolve a sinus related headache problem.

When focusing on an close object, the natural lens within the eye is reshaped by tiny muscles. This process is called accommodation. When refractive surgery changes the way light bends through the eye, the amount and range of accommodation can change. This change can temporarily strain the eyes, causing headache. Please review our article about Lasik eye strain for details.

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 & Headache Medical Journal Articles...

Related Articles

Comparison of the femtosecond laser and mechanical microkeratome for flap cutting in LASIK.

Int J Ophthalmol. 2015;8(4):784-90

Authors: Xia LK, Yu J, Chai GR, Wang D, Li Y

AIM: To compare refractive results, higher-order aberrations (HOAs), contrast sensitivity and dry eye after laser in situ keratomileusis (LASIK) performed with a femtosecond laser versus a mechanical microkeratome for myopia and astigmatism.
METHODS: In this prospective, non-randomized study, 120 eyes with myopia received a LASIK surgery with the VisuMax femtosecond laser for flap cutting, and 120 eyes received a conventional LASIK surgery with a mechanical microkeratome. Flap thickness, visual acuity, manifest refraction, contrast sensitivity function (CSF) curves, HOAs and dry-eye were measured at 1wk; 1, 3, 6mo after surgery.
RESULTS: At 6mo postoperatively, the mean central flap thickness in femtosecond laser procedure was 113.05±5.89 µm (attempted thickness 110 µm), and 148.36±21.24 µm (attempted thickness 140 µm) in mechanical microkeratome procedure. An uncorrected distance visual acuity (UDVA) of 4.9 or better was obtained in more than 98% of eyes treated by both methods, a gain in logMAR lines of corrected distance visual acuity (CDVA) occurred in more than 70% of eyes treated by both methods, and no eye lost ≥1 lines of CDVA in both groups. The difference of the mean UDVA and CDVA between two groups at any time post-surgery were not statistically significant (P>0.05). The postoperative changes of spherical equivalent occurred markedly during the first month in both groups. The total root mean square values of HOAs and spherical aberrations in the femtosecond treated eyes were markedly less than those in the microkeratome treated eyes during 6mo visit after surgery (P<0.01). The CSF values of the femtosecond treated eyes were also higher than those of the microkeratome treated eyes at all space frequency (P<0.01). The mean ocular surface disease index scores in both groups were increased at 1wk, and recovered to preoperative level at 1mo after surgery. The mean tear breakup time (TBUT) of the femtosecond treated eyes were markedly longer than those of the microkeratome treated eyes at postoperative 1, 3mo (P<0.01).
CONCLUSION: Both the femtosecond laser and the mechanical microkeratome for LASIK flap cutting are safe and effective to correct myopia, with no statistically significant difference in the UDVA, CDVA during 6mo follow-up. Refractive results remained stable after 1mo post-operation for both groups. The femtosecond laser may have advantages over the microkeratome in the flap thickness predictability, fewer induced HOAs, better CSF, and longer TBUT.

PMID: 26309880 [PubMed]


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