Dry eyes following Lasik surgery can be an annoyance for many, however this is a growing into a bigger issue for many Americans. Some people must endure hours of complicated daily regimes just to care for their eyes. There are others who experience so much pain from their dry eyes that they have to sit for hours with their eyes closed just to experience relief.
Are There Treatments Available?
Treatments typically consists of use of drops, mists, eye compresses, ointments, duct plugs, nutritional supplements, and moisture retention glasses. Due to the amount of people suffering worldwide from dry eye symptoms, they spend upwards of $522 million on an annual basis on products for their dry eye symptoms. This is an increasing problem, experts agree.
Even though this is a widespread problem, many Lasik surgeons are not referring to “dry eye syndrome” as a complication related to Lasik surgery. Surgeons are well aware of the complaints of dry-eye in nearly half the patients and that it could be a permanent issue alongside other issues like night vision problems, but it viewed as a common problem and not a complication.
What Typically Causes Dry Eyes?
Due to issues such issues as age, environmental pollution, air conditioning, side effects from certain prescription medications, Lasik eye surgery, and how many hours a person spends in front a computer, all of these factors contribute to dry eye. As you can see, there are a number of other factors contributing to dry eye in addition to Lasik eye surgery.
This begs the questions, though, how do patients of Lasik surgery, specifically find relief when there are so many other issues that already cause dry eye symptoms? An individual would have to think about how they are living, what their habits were prior to their surgery, and if dry eye was persistent prior to their surgery before seeking treatment. If they were receiving dry-eye treatments prior to their Lasik eye surgery, this information is important to discuss with their surgeon or their primary care physician at the time of their consultation. While over the counter medications may provide short-term relief, severe dry eye symptoms may require a prescription remedy.
How Widespread is This Problem?
Following the procedure, and expected 50% of patients will experience dry eye symptoms. These symptoms can last from two weeks to one year following the procedure. However, some patients have symptoms that have lasted longer than one year. There are FDA warnings stating that dry eye syndrome could be permanent in some patients.
It is suggested that those who have undergone Lasik eye surgery and are experiencing dry eye symptoms should file a MedWatch report with the FDA. This form can be downloaded and faxed directly to the FDA, or mailed in. Or, patients can call in for more information. This is a voluntary reporting system allowing for information to be passed along to the FDA about your issues with Lasik surgery, as well as the resulting dry eye symptoms.