LASIK Surgery Can Cause Dry Eye Syndrome

While LASIK eye surgery in most cases results in vision improvement to 20/20 or better, an occasional subject becomes affected by a chronic condition in which the eye has a problem with lack of lubrication.     This condition is known as dry-eye syndrome . It can affect those who have not undergone LASIK surgery, a procedure that is not recommended for such people. Screening by eye surgeons is supposed to exclude all dry-eye sufferers from LASIK, but some get through and often experience a worsened condition after surgery.

The LASIK procedure sometimes produces dry-eye syndrome because, when the surgeon cuts through the surface (cornea) of the eye, creating a flap that’s folded back so the underlying tissue can be sculpted by a laser beam, nerves are cut that control the eye’s tear glands. Under most circumstances, the nerves regenerate in a few months. While this is happening, eye dryness can be controlled with prescription drops.
   
But in a few cases, the nerves fail to regenerate, resulting in chronic dry-eye syndrome. People with this condition often exhibit symptoms such as a feeling of scratchiness in the eyes, a burning sensation, large amounts of mucous, sensitivity to wind and smoke, and increased sensitivity to light.
   
Dry-eye syndrome can be treated or managed. Prescription eyedrops can be one route to follow. In addition, an eye surgeon may insert plugs into the tear duct openings, which are located in the inner corners of the eyes. These ducts allow tears to drain from the eyes into the nasal passages. Plugging them reduces tear drainage to keep the eyes better lubricated.


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