LASIK with “Dry Eyes”

Published by Lance Kugler, MD on September 28, 2012

Many patients with dry eyes are interested to know if their condition will prevent them from having LASIK surgery. With proper examination, dry eye treatment, and post-surgical care, having laser eye surgery with dry eyes is a possibility. The tear film on the surface of the eye helps to protect the eye against infection after eye surgery, promote a smooth optical surface for clearer vision, and enable accurate corneal topography measurements for LASIK surgery. With this in mind, patients with dry eyes are advised to undergo dry eye treatment before LASIK to prepare a healthy tear film for surgery.

Here are some things to keep in mind for undergoing LASIK with dry eyes:

  • Be prepared to have Lance Kugler, MD examine your eyes to evaluate your tear film. This may be done with a series of tests. Through this process, your doctor will evaluate the quality of tear film, the quantity of tears produced, and determine whether the lack of tears is harming the cells on the cornea.

If your tear film is found to be insufficient for LASIK, you may be advised to treat dry eyes before surgery. Dry eye treatments include using moisturizing drops, Punctal Plugs or other topical medications to help your eyes produce more tears. Additionally, you may be recommended LipiFlow dry eye treatment, which is offered by our dry eye clinic at Kugler Vision.

  • After surgery, your eyes may feel drier as they heal. This is a normal part of the healing process and typically lasts three to six months. Experiencing dry eyes after LASIK was more common with older techniques, but has become much less common with advanced LASIK technology. Additionally, every patient will be given lubricating and moisturizing drops after their procedure to promote optimal healing.

Lance Kugler, MD, is a specialist in LASIK and vision correction surgery and CEO of Kugler Vision. A proud Omaha native, he is passionate about improving lives through clear vision. Dr. Kugler serves on several national boards, and his practice is recognized internationally as a center of excellence. Dr. Kugler is one of the original founders of the Refractive Surgery Alliance, an international organization comprised of over 350 of the world’s leading vision correction surgeons; he also served as its first president. In 2019, Dr. Kugler was selected as a TEDx speaker, and delivered a talk in Omaha about the worldwide epidemic of nearsightedness and refractive solutions. Dr. Kugler is an Associate Professor of Refractive Surgery at the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s Truhlsen Eye Institute, has been published in many medical journals, and participates in numerous clinical studies to advance the field of vision correction surgery. Dr. Kugler and his wife are proud parents to five active kids. When he has a spare moment, he enjoys skiing, tennis, travel, and fine coffee.

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