A dry eye is a very common problem these days and a large population is a victim of this. Almost half the patients undergoing LASIK develop dry eyes and it persists for weeks, months or even longer depending on the health status of the patient.
What causes dry eyes?
Dry eyes occur when your eyes are not able to produce sufficient tears or the correct consistency of tears is not met. At times, the moisture in your eyes evaporates at a very fast pace leading to dry eyes. Therefore, it is important to have proper moisture as well as tear film to keep your eyes in good health. If dry eyes are not treated on immediate basis then you may experience certain symptoms that can actually make your life quite miserable. The symptoms of dry eyes include: itching, redness, inflammation in your eyes. You may even feel a lot of discomfort and feel like scratching your eyes.
People who wear contact lens generally face the problem of dry eyes.
How LASIK causes dry eyes?
When LASIK is done on your eyes, there are some nerves in your cornea that get cut resulting in some loss of corneal sensitivity. Due to this, your eyes are not able to sense the requirement of lubrication and as a result, less tears are produced by your eyes. Hence, you end up having dry eyes. After LASIK, when you have dry eyes, you may undergo a lot of discomfort and the vision outcomes may also be not optimum. Therefore, doctors nowadays prefer that the patient uses lubricating eye drops or other alternative therapies in order to prevent the eyes from getting dry and ensuring proper moisture is maintained. The eye surgeons give lubrication treatment to eyes of the patient even before the LASIK treatment is done to make sure that dry eyes problem is faced very less by the patient.
What tests are done for screening dry eyes in LASIK patients?
The development of dry eyes in a patient greatly depends on the quality and quantity of tears produced. It is also the main factor that decides the healing of the patient after LASIK. That is why the eye surgeons screen for dry eyes in advance of LASIK so that they can treat accordingly. The various tests performed by the eye surgeons to screen dry eyes are:
- Schirmer test
- Tear break up time
- MMP-9 testing
What are the risk factors of dry eyes after LASIK?
The risk factors include:
- Patients with higher degree of Myopia are at greater risk
- Old age
- Certain medications
- Autoimmune diseases
- Dry environment