Is Laser Eye Surgery Possible with Dry Eye?.. And Is It Right for You?

Is Laser Eye Surgery Possible with Dry Eye?.. And Is It Right for You?

This guide explores the relationship between dry eyes and Laser Eye Surgery, addressing crucial questions like:

If any of these concerns sound familiar, you will find value in this article. We will discuss:

  • Latest clinical treatments and at-home remedies to treat pre-existing dry eye
  • How existing dry eye can improve with Laser Eye Surgery
  • How long any post-LASIK dry eye symptoms last

Here’s everything you need to know

What is Dry Eye Syndrome?

Dry eye syndrome is a common eye condition in which the smooth, transparent tear film that lubricates your eye is disrupted. This can stem from issues within three key components:

visual depiction of the three components of your eye's tear film

  • Oily layer: Prevents tear evaporation and acts as a protective barrier.
  • Watery layer: Maintains hydration and flushes away debris from your eyes.
  • Mucus layer: Spreads the tear film evenly across the eye for optimal lubrication.

It is one of the most common diagnoses and is very manageable:

32.1%

of people have
Dry Eye Syndrome

2x

higher odds for
women than men

Over 55s

are more likely to
have Dry Eye Disease

*Based on a study of 1858 people.

Possible dry eye causes

  • Extended screen use
  • Contact lens
  • Eye rubbing
  • Low humidity environments
  • Dust/grime/air pollution
  • Hormonal changes
  • Certain illnesses

How do dry eyes affect my LASIK suitability?

“Can I have Laser Eye Surgery if I have dry eye?” — the answer to this depends on:

  1. Dry eye severity: Mild dryness shouldn’t pose a big hurdle, but severe cases might require dedicated treatment before LASIK becomes an option.
  2. Procedure choice: Did you know some laser procedures are friendlier to dry eyes? For example, we may recommend Trans-Epi over LASIK for certain individuals.
  3. Underlying cause of dryness: Addressing underlying medical conditions or medications that contribute to dryness can significantly improve your LASIK candidacy. And if your dry eye stems from environmental factors like contact lens wear, LASIK can significantly improve (or even complete resolve) your symptoms by eliminating this irritation and creating a healthier ocular surface.

Remember, LASIK isn’t the only option! We offer a variety of advanced laser procedures and specialised dry eye treatments to cater to complex situations.

What is Post-LASIK Dryness?

Laser Eye Surgery can temporarily affect your tear film, leading to discomfort in some patients. This happens because the procedure disrupts the tear film for a short period.

The good news:

This dryness is usually temporary, lasting only weeks or months as your eyes heal and tear production resumes.

Even better news:

Advancements in technology are minimising this risk. At our clinic, we use the world’s fastest Alcon WaveLight™ excimer laser suite, significantly reducing treatment time per eye (just 6 seconds!). This means:

  • Less time your eyes are exposed
  • Less chance of tear film disruption
  • Fewer cases of post-surgery dry eye

And if you already have severe dry eyes before LASIK — don’t worry. We’ll design a customised dry eye treatment program to address your specific dry eye before Laser Vision Correction.

How to manage and prevent dry eyes

Here are some immediate tips to get your dry eye symptoms under control:

Get your sunshine hours

A study in the Indian Journal of Ophthalmology has shown that spending just two hours outside per day can reduce your risk of developing dry eye.

Keeping the air moist

Use a humidifier or even place ceramic/metal bowls of water on radiators during drying winter months.

Giving your eyes a break

Take regular 20/20/20 breaks from your devices (every 20 minutes, focus on something 20 metres away for 20 seconds).

Fake tears/eye drops

Don’t give dry eye free reign! Over-the-counter eye drops can help support your tear film, reducing the damaging effects of dry eye until your tear glands recover.

Consult a vision care specialist

You don’t have to go it alone — there is a whole host of in-clinic treatments available to treat all severities of dry eye syndrome.

Ditch the contact lens with Laser Eye Surgery

If you’ve been hesitant about Laser Eye Surgery due to dry eyes, worry not. With proper evaluation, management strategies, and the right procedure for your individual needs — brighter, tear-free vision is well within grasp!

Our clinical experience over 3 decades of providing Laser Vision Correction has demonstrated significant relief for people suffering from dry eyes due to prolonged use of contact lenses, excessive device use and certain environmental influences.

All you need to do is to speak with one of our consultants to find your most straightforward route to clear sight.

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