Millions of people each year undergo LASIK to improve their vision, many without knowing if they have normal tear function. Tears provide constant lubrication to the eye to maintain adequate vision and comfort. Tears are made up of three layers, a lipid (oil) layer, an aqueous (water) layer and a mucous layer. Each layer plays an important role in the overall function and comfort of the eye. Tears cleanse and nourish the eye and a lack of insufficient tear film can cause a host of problems including pain, a gritty or foreign body sensation, light sensitivity and blurred vision. Dry eyes are common, in fact, approximately 33 million Americans experience dry eye related conditions.
There are several factors that increase the incidence of dry eyes including climate, gender and age. During the winter months, the symptoms of dry eye are more often noticed. This is due to the drier atmospheric conditions as well as the usage of heat for warmth. The incidence of dry eye syndrome increases with age. The onset of menopause has been shown to increase dry eye symptoms as well. According to the Society of Women’s Health Research 62% of women have dry eye symptoms but only 16% of them knew that it is associated with menopause.
Treatment for dry eye syndrome varies depending on the severity of the condition and the doctor prescribing the regimen. At Raleigh Eye Center, some of the treatment options we prescribe include supplemental artificial tears, increasing oral essential fatty acids such as omega-3, prescription medications, and an office procedure to close the tear ducts.
Regardless of your age, having a sufficient tear film is a requirement for a successful LASIK outcome. The components of tears help nourish and protect the eye against infection. Tear testing can be performed a variety of ways. During a LASIK consultation it is important for the medical team to thoroughly evaluate each patient’s eyes for dry eyes. If dry eyes are discovered, it is important to treat it prior to undergoing LASIK. Once discovered, dry eyes can typically be managed successfully and LASIK performed with a positive outcome.
If you are considering LASIK and would like to learn more about your options, visit Raleigh Eye Center online at www.raleigheyecenterlasik.com online or call us at (919) 876-2427.