Dry Eye and LASIK
If you are considering LASIK and have questions about dry eye, you may be asking yourself about whether LASIK is right for you.
Well, rest assured. The LASIK Specialists at 20/20 Institute take your LASIK candidacy seriously, including tear production and eye health.
Most people who wear contact lenses have dry eyes, and think their eyes may be too dry to have LASIK (especially in Colorado).
For many of these patients, the contact lens causes the dry eye symptoms. When they stop wearing contacts to prepare for LASIK surgery, they find their eyes feel much better. That’s because they’ve been living life without a piece of plastic in their eyes every day.
Other patients have some symptoms of dry eye that are treated with over-the-counter or prescription eye drops, nutritional supplements, or at-home treatments like warm compresses.
Supplements such as flaxseed and fish oil, and eating foods high in Omega-3 can help improve dry eye symptoms.
Warm compresses also help improve a person’s tear film. And over-the-counter lubricating drops are a easy way to help supplement the moisture.
Prescription eye drops can be used. A 20/20 LASIK Specialists can use a treatment where the “drain holes” (puncta) in the eyelids are gently closed with plugs to help keep more natural tears.
Except for a prescription a patient may get filled at the pharmacy when needed, 20/20 Institute patients do not pay for any of these treatments for dry eye neither before nor after their LASIK procedure.
Dry eyes also may be a symptom of health problems like rheumatoid arthritis, ocular rosacea, or Sjogren’s syndrome. The LASIK Specialist doctors and staff at 20/20 will discuss with you any health problems that could affect your eye health or tear production.
An adequate tear film covering the eyes helps the eyes be comfortable, and it is an important factor in a patient’s quality of vision. Tears are complex in their makeup, but they have 3 main components: water, mucin, and oil. The water, or aqueous layer, is what lubricates your eyes to keep them comfortable and healthy. The mucin layer helps hold the aqueous layer to the surface of the eye. The oil layer is secreted by special glands in the eyelids called the meibomian glands. In healthy eyes with adequate tear film, the oil layer covers the water layer to prevent it from evaporating too fast.
When you visit the 20/20 Institute your complimentary LASIK evaluation, you can discuss all of your concerns, including if you are experiencing any symptoms of dry eye.
The staff and doctors at 20/20 will perform many tests to check the tear production in your eyes. One will test how much tears you produce. Another test measures the quality of your tear film and how long your tears stay on your eye before they evaporate.
If you have dry eye symptoms, these tests will help to determine if you have dry eye, what the cause is for your dry eye, and will tell the 20/20 Institute doctors what they need to know to determine the best course of therapy for you.