Have you been going back and forth about whether LASIK is right for you? Are you concerned that having dry eyes will make it harder to get the procedure?
One of the first things your doctor will test when deciding if you are a good candidate for LASIK is if you have dry eye. Having healthy eyes is one of the most important factors when it comes to a safe recovery. Keep reading to learn more about having LASIK with dry eyes!
What is Dry Eye?
Dry eye most often occurs because your eyes over or underproduce tears or they create low-quality tears. Healthy tears have three components: water, oil, and mucus.
Tears that only have some of these things are lower quality. Dry eye can be caused by a variety of things, including your environment and health conditions.
A very common cause of dry eye for patients who want to get LASIK is wearing contact lenses! Contact lenses can make your eyes dry and itchy.
This is less than ideal if you’re trying to focus on work. For many people, this is why they want LASIK.
Dry eye is commonly discovered during evaluations for LASIK. For most patients, getting their dry eye under control allows them to get LASIK later on.
Dry Eye Screening
Before you can get LASIK, you have to have your eyes evaluated. One of the things your doctor looks at is if you are a good candidate for LASIK.
They will take you through different screening tests. Doctors know that the quality and quantity of your tears impacts the recovery from LASIK. This makes treating dry eye very important. The different tests your doctor will conduct are:
Tear Breakup Time: A small amount of dye is put on your eye. This allows your eye doctor to watch how tears distribute and move on your eye’s surface.
Schirmer Test: This test involves placing a small piece of paper under your lower eyelid to measure your tear production.
Imaging: Instruments like a keratometer give your doctor a clear view of your tear film without touching your eye.
MMP-9 Testing: Your doctor will collect a small number of tears from your bottom lid. Your doctor will look to see if you have high amounts of proteins that can develop into conditions like dry eye after LASIK. This procedure is painless.
If your doctor finds that you have dry eye, you are not a good candidate for LASIK. This may only be temporary.
Most patients may not even realize they have dry eye until they have these tests. The majority of patients with dry eye can get LASIK once their dry eye and symptoms are under control.
LASIK can cause you to develop dry eye, so if you have dry eye before LASIK, you need to treat it before the procedure. Dry eye is one of the most common side effects after people have LASIK eye surgery.
While it is temporary, for patients that already have dry eye, getting LASIK might exacerbate existing dry eye symptoms. This may make your eyes feel even worse as a result. This is why doctors want patients to have their dry eye under control before having LASIK.