|The choice of artifical tear after Lasik is very important.
Every artificial tear manufacturer has a slightly different
formula for each brand. Some eye drops are thick to provide more
protection, others are thin to provide rapid relief without vision
disruption, however all can be divided into one of three categories:
preserved, preservative free, preservative free on contact.
The preservatives used in artificial tears are a mild toxin.
A purpose of a toxin in an artificial tear is to kill anything that
may promote spoilage of the eye drops and to keep the eye drops
The eye does not like toxins too much, even low level toxins.
Toxins in eye drops can cause irritation, redness, even inflammation.
An eye healing from conventional or custom wavefront Lasik, Bladeless Lasik, PRK, LASEK, Epi-Lasik, RLE, or any refractive surgery procedure, needs all the help it can get
and applying a toxin is not helpful. Even if the eye drops do not
cause irritation and feel fine, the toxins may be slowing or negatively
affecting the healing process.
Newer "preservative free on contact" artificial tears have an
advantage that the toxin quickly dissipates, but the speed at which
the toxin dissipates varies greatly. As an example, one such drop
dissipates the preservative by exposure to ambient light. If you
put in the drops, close your eyes, and go to bed with the lights
out, that preservative is not going to dissipate very quickly. Artificial
tears that claim to be preservative free on contact are not necessarily
appropriate immediately after surgery.
It is always best to use true preservative free eye drops during
the immediate recovery period after Lasik or similar laser eye surgery.
It is even a good idea to use preservative free eye drops long after
surgery, but they are more expensive and after the cornea has healed
adequately an artificial tear with a preservative or is preservative
free on contact may be appropriate. Check with your doctor.
If eye irritation is experiences with the use of a preservative
free artificial tear, it may be the formulation is incompatible.
It is possible that something in a particular formula of a particular
brand is causing irritation, with or without a preservative. You
would need to try different brands to see what works best for you.
Listed below are several of the major artificial tears categorized
by active ingredients.
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.
If this article did not fully answer your questions, use our
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