Dry eyes can be extremely uncomfortable. This issue may be caused by dry heat from your HVAC system or can be triggered by laser eye surgery such as LASIK. How does LASIK cause dry eyes? During the healing process after LASIK, the eye may produce fewer tears since it is not able to sense the need for moisture. There are many ways to prevent dry eyes, including dry eye surgery, which is usually a permanent solution for vision correction.
Common Symptoms of Dry Eyes
Excessive dryness leaves you more vulnerable to pain, swelling, or a burning sensation in your eyes. Tearing is also a common symptom if your eyes are frequently dry. You may also experience blurred vision, along with that annoying stuck and gritty feeling.
Dry Eye Screening for LASIK Patients
Before laser eye surgery, your LASIK surgeon will screen you for signs and symptoms of dry eyes. This test will be used to decide the most effective and healthy treatment plan. By measuring a sample of your tears, your doctor can determine exactly how much your eyes are being impacted by dryness.
Tips for Preventing Dry Eyes After LASIK
Here are some ways you can seek relief from dry eyes:
- Stay Hydrated: Drinking more fluid can provide moisture for your body to lubricate your eyes. Just like hydration helps your organs function, it also helps your eyes work better. Water or green tea can prevent eye strain and provide some relief from dry eyes.
- Use Eye Drops/Artificial Tears: Usually available over-the-counter, artificial tears provide extra lubrication for your eyes. They can be applied up to six times a day. If you need them more often, ask your doctor about prescription treatments. There are also over-the-counter eye ointments; thicker than eye drops, these are usually applied to the inner lower lash line before bedtime.
- Shield Your Eyes from the Cold and Wind: Sunglasses can block the wind and prevent dryness. Plus, they protect your eyes from sun glare and UV light. Goggles are a good idea if you’re skiing or shoveling snow; they can protect you from dirt and ice. A hat with a visor can help shield your eyes as well.
- Install a Humidifier: An indoor humidifier adds moisture to the air that has been dried out by heaters. It can also help keep your eyes moist. However, the extra moisture can attract mold and bacteria, so it’s important to clean your humidifier regularly. Also, store it in a safe place where children can’t reach it and potentially damage the unit or get burned by it.
- Apply a Warm, Damp Compress: A regular washcloth will do. Apply it to each eye for a couple of minutes at a time. Aside from soothing irritation and swelling, it can also help your eyes produce much-needed moisture.
- Manage Your Diet: Research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish, nuts, seeds, and plant oils, contribute to improved intraocular drainage. Increasing water intake from food also helps. Raw vegetables, soups, fruit/vegetable juices, and milk have plentiful natural water content.
Consider Laser Eye Surgery with ADV Vision Centers
There is sometimes a correlation between LASIK and dry eyes. However, this isn’t the only effective treatment for vision correction and dry eye relief. To learn more about laser eye surgery for dry eyes or other options most suited for you, contact ADV Vision Centers at 805-987-5300.