LASIK eye surgery is a procedure that can permanently correct vision. It also reduces, and in many cases eliminates, the need for contacts or glasses. LASIK eye surgery is a safe and effective option for vision correction, but as with any surgical procedure, there are side effects that you should know about. Although some degree of dryness of the eyes after LASIK is expected, it is almost always self-limited. Dryness of the eyes is therefore one of the most common complaints of patients after LASIK eye surgery.
What is Dry Eye?
Dry eye is a condition that occurs when either not enough tears are produced or the quality of the tears is inadequate to properly lubricate the eye. If there is an insufficient amount of tears available after LASIK, this deficiency is often related to a reduced sensitivity of the eye to the normal stimuli that produce tears such as wind, dust, or dryness in general. There are a number of symptoms that can result from this condition such as a sandy-gritty feeling, increased sensitivity to light, redness, eye fatigue, blurry vision, a burning or stinging sensation in the eyes, or, surprisingly enough, even more tearing than normal.
What Are Some Of The Ways That Dry Eye Can Be Treated?
Severe dry eye can be a challenging medical condition to treat, but fortunately most cases of dryness after LASIK are mild to moderate in degree and self-limited. It is also important to remember that (as with most medical conditions) “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. These are some of the highly successful treatment options available for eye dryness:
Artificial tears can be used both before and after your LASIK procedure. They are very similar to the tears that your eyes naturally produce and are used to replace any tears not sufficiently produced during the healing process after LASIK. These specially formulated eye drops can be used to increase comfort or to relieve irritation, redness, or dryness. Artificial tear use will usually be recommended more frequently immediately after your LASIK procedure and less frequently over time. The reason for this is that tear production will almost always return to its normal function as the natural healing process occurs over time.
Punctal plugs are small, specially shaped medical devices that help to retain tears when the eyes are dry from any cause. They are particularly helpful in minimizing the effects of any dry eye symptoms after LASIK. They are biocompatible devices that are gently placed into the tear drainage ducts. They work by slowing down or significantly blocking natural tear drainage so that the eyes can retain more of the tears that are produced. Punctal plugs significantly reduce or eliminate the symptoms of dryness for most patients after LASIK. If you are thinking about getting LASIK surgery, then you may want to consider LASIK of Nevada first. Dr. Rothman has an extensive background in the treatment of dry eyes as well as the performance of Laser Vision Correction (LASIK) procedures. With locations in Reno and Las Vegas Nevada, LASIK of Nevada offers free consultations to all patients interested in LASIK eye surgery.
Short Term Inconvenience, Long Term Benefits
When it comes to enjoying life, almost nothing is more important than being able to see clearly. Without being able to see the people and the details of the world around you, living a full life can be a significant challenge. People have used contacts for decades and eyeglasses for centuries to see clearly. These “visual appliances” have been used effectively for many years to correct a wide range of vision problems, but advances in laser vision correction technology over the past 25 years now offer exciting and highly effective alternatives to these older techniques.
Unfortunately, contacts and glasses have significant ongoing costs associated with their use. Just a few examples of these costs include the time and expense of the required recurring eye exams over a period of years as well as the cost of purchasing and repurchasing glasses, lenses, and solutions. More importantly, there are also significant hidden costs associated with contact lenses such as the potential for significant visual loss due to a contact lens related eye infection.
As an alternative to these “last century” solutions, many individuals in Nevada can instead invest in LASIK eye surgery as a more permanent solution to their visual needs. When carefully examined, the potential downsides of LASIK surgery are almost always much less than the tremendous benefits of the LASIK procedure.
1. Time Off From Work
As with other elective medical procedures, patients will often choose to schedule their procedures during a time that does not interfere with their work schedule. LASIK surgeons generally recommend that individuals take a day or two off work after getting the LASIK procedure. As a result, most people who plan ahead are not concerned about missing work or performing almost all of their regular activities during this time. Once the LASIK healing process is complete, patients can look forward to many years of clear vision without the hassles of glasses or contacts. Instead of having to spend time each day dealing with contacts or searching for glasses, they can have more quality time to spend doing what is most important to them at work and at home.
2. Limits on Outdoor Activities
After LASIK, most eye doctors will recommend that patients limit their strenuous outdoor activities for a number of days after the procedure. Patients with active lifestyles choose LASIK because they know from experience how easy it is for glasses or contacts to get lost or broken when spending active time outdoors. Whether you are planning on hiking, hunting, fishing, or any similar outdoor activities, the need to find your glasses or contacts can really ruin an otherwise perfect day. Many an outdoor enthusiast has found themselves out in the wilderness with broken glasses or lost contacts. After LASIK, these worries can become a thing of the past.
3. Help During the Healing Process
Infrequently, patients may need the assistance of another person to help them apply their eye drops after LASIK. For most people, a friend or family member can easily be found to help out during the short healing time after the procedure. This healing time can also be a great opportunity for couples to share the gift of vision with each other -where one spouse will help the other after their LASIK followed by a reversal of these roles. Even individuals who live alone can usually manage by themselves because it is such a simple postoperative process and such a brief period of time. Considering the cost of routine eye exams, eyeglasses, and contacts with the savings after LASIK, this limited inconvenience is more than made up for by the many benefits provided by LASIK over the long term.