What should I do next for severe dry eyes after LASIK?
I had LASIK done 2 months ago and ever since, I have been experiencing severe dry eyes. Lately, it has been getting worse as my vision is blur for the entire day. When evening comes, my eyes will be so dry that I experience migraine and nausea. Eye drops and moisturizing eye gel used to work better, but now it only works for a few minutes and my eyes are back to dry and blurry again. It is really affecting my productivity. May I know if this post-LASIK dry eyes is treatable by a specialist, or should I wait out a few more months in the hopes that it will improve?
Although it is quite common for the eyes to get somewhat drier after LASIK, what you are experiencing seems to be more severe than average.
Most people with post LASIK dry eyes are fine with more frequent use of preservative free artificial tears, sometimes in combination with gels like Vidisic or Genteal gel.
Also, the use of slightly thicker eyedrops like preservative free Systane Ultra/Hydration or Optive Fusion may provide longer relief than more liquid preparations.
As mentioned by the other doctors, it is also important to pay attention to your environment (eg with regard to air conditioning air flow) and your activities (eg with regard to taking regular breaks from visual tasks). Usually, things improve gradually but in some cases this could be 3-6 months after the LASIK or longer.
When your eyes are so dry that your vision is blur for the entire day, you need to see a doctor soon to address the problem. Don't wait for a few months more, because there are things that can help beyond drops and gels. For example, short courses of anti-inflammatory eyedrops, and perhaps temporary punctal plugs are often very useful in the more severe cases.
Dry eye is indeed one of the common post-LASIK side effects. For the vast majority of patients, the dryness does tend to taper off and get better and better months after the procedure.
However, it seems like you are still experiencing rather severe symptoms of dryness despite being diligent in using your lubricating eyedrops and gel.
Apart from monitoring your symptoms and continuing the usage of your eyedrops and gel, you may also want to assess your environment and work habits. Long hours of visual tasks exacerbates the symptoms of dry eye as one tends to blink less when concentrating on a visual task, for example, reading a book, using the computer etc.
When engaging in such visual activities, be sure to increase the frequency of your eye lubricants and gel.
You may also consider using the gel in the daytime and opting for an ointment for nighttime use to ensure your eyes stay well moisturised throughout your visual tasks and throughout the night.
However, if your situation does not improve months after your LASIK procedure, you may want to return to your surgeon to find out the actual cause of your dryness as it may or may not a direct result of the LASIK procedure. Dryness can be the result of a whole myriad of eye conditions such as inflammatory diseases of the tear gland, eyelids and ocular surface. Many of which can be treated and thus would benefit by identifying them.
Dr David Chan
Senior Consultant Eye Surgeon