For those with myopic vision, the ability to see without the use of glasses or contacts can be a freeing experience. Laser-assister in situ keratomileusis (LASIK) eye surgery has provided those wanting improved vision a means of obtaining near perfect vision with this simple surgery. However, there are some key issues to address if one is considering having this type of surgery. For example:
- The most common complication of LASIK surgery includes dry eye symptoms in most patients.
- Many patients report dry eye symptoms before surgery.
- Damage to the corneal nerves and conjunctival goblet cells are often predecessors to dry eye and inflammatory changes in the eyes.
- Those who are not satisfied with the surgical outcome of LASIK surgery most often cite dry eyes as a factor.
- Approximately 6 months to 1 year after surgery, the signs of dry eye and corneal sensation return to normal.
- There are several treatment options for post-LASIK patients including medications, tear drops, and TheraLife®
Scientists are continually improving their understanding of iatrogenic dry eye symptoms after LASIK which will improve their understanding of dry eye disease.
Fairly often encountered, but poorly understood, there is not a unique diagnostic test for dry eye disease (DED). Defined by the International Dry Eye Work Shop, DED is noted to be, “a multifactorial disease of the tears and ocular surface that results in symptoms of discomfort, visual disturbance, and tear film instability…accompanied by…inflammation of the ocular surface.”
Therefore, those who suffer with eye pain, blurred vision, and an over or underproduction of tears along with inflammation of the eyes, may suffer from DED. Those who have this type of discomfort before LASIK surgery can almost be assured of an increase in the severity of symptoms related to DED. Up to 95% of patients who have LASIK report experiencing symptoms of dry eyes. Luckily, there are several remedies and aids to DED.
Several studies have reported that tear quality and production is decreased after LASIK. Most patients report an improvement of some sort within 6 months to a year after surgery. With several different studies following patients post-LASIK, the overall conclusions of these studies is somewhat inconclusive, but all of the studies identified some type of recovery within 9 months of surgery.
Corneal sensation is another common problem with LASIK surgery. Since LASIK damages the nerve fibers of the cornea, the lack of sensory feelings in the corneal region can lead to an irritation of the eye. Similar to the tear secretion and tear quality studies, corneal sensitivity studies vary in their findings. Some studies place pre-operative levels of sensation at one month while others found that even at 16 months, not all abnormalities of corneal sensation have returned to pre-LASIK levels.
The corneal nerves and sub-basal nerve plexus of the eye is also affected by LASIK. However, these nerves have been found to grow additional unconnected nerve fibers approximately 3 months after surgery. Amazingly, these nerves have been found to not only grow, but to attach between the segments causing an increase in sensitivity over time. Since these nerves are difficult to track, there have been no studies that link the growing of these nerves and an increase in corneal sensation.
Due to the conflicting and sometimes confusing results of studies, more in-depth studies of the effects of surgery on the ocular region is needed.
Quality of life can be greatly affected by chronic dry eyes. Burning, itching, irritation, and an overall discomfort can cause patients to regret LASIK surgery. However, there is hope. There are several types of treatment for dry eyes including artificial tears, additional surgery, lid massage or scrubbing, warm moist compresses, drugs, and all natural therapies like TheraLife®.
While artificial tears show initial promise, the continued use presents problems for patients in the long-term. Drugs to decrease inflammation are also beneficial, but many patients are looking for a natural way to find relief for their dry eyes. TheraLife® is an all natural product for dry eye relief.
Addressing the fundamental causes of dry eyes like underactive tear secretion, TheraLife® goes right to the source of the problem. TheraLife® addresses promoting the production of the body’s own healing tears ending the reliance on artificial tears, drugs, or additional surgery.
End your reliance on measures for your chronic dry eyes that don’t heal the tear duct, but only mask the problem. Try TheraLife®’s natural chronic dry eye relief products today. Dry eyes from LASIK surgery may be unavoidable, but living with chronic dry eyes is not. TheraLife® goes a long way to help those who want to live with healthy eyes.
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