What type of eyedrops should I use after LASIK?
I read online that some eyedrops are not suitable for use after LASIK. I would like to know if this is the case, or whether I can purchase OTC eyedrops of any kind? Many thanks!
I would assume you are referring to lubricating eyedrops. If so, you are right to say that some eyedrops are not suitable for use after LASIK. Very often, lubricating eyedrops contain preservatives. One of the common preservatives used is benzalkonium chloride (BAK).
BAK was initially used to prevent microbial contamination in the bottle, and was thought to help the active ingredient reach its desired effect. However, studies have shown that BAK can cause inflammation, cell damage, and instability of the tear film.
One common early post-operative side effect of LASIK is dry eye, which tends to improve gradually after surgery. There can also be mild inflammation during the period of recovery. Hence, it is best to use non-preservative based eyedrops during the initial healing stage to avoid the harmful effects of BAK preservative based lubricants as mentioned above.
Dr David Chan
When the eyes have healed about 1 month after surgery, patients can generally use any appropriate over-the-counter (OTC) eyedrops, in the same way as other people who have not had eye surgery.
If you have any persistent issues with your eye or vision after surgery, do consult your doctor for advice about appropriate eyedrops to use for your eye in particular.