If I Have Dry Eyes, Will It Affect My LASIK Surgery?
Many patients consider LASIK because they have dry eyes and cannot wear contact lenses. If you have significant dryness, your doctor may recommend treatment before surgery. Tear supplements and punctum plugs (tiny silicone plugs placed in the tear drainage opening of your eyelid) should keep your eyes moist.
After LASIK, your eyes may feel drier. This condition typically improves from 1-6 months after surgery. Symptoms of dry eye can be particularly noticeable if you use a computer frequently, read for long periods of time, or drive extended distances. For many patients, it is useful to use lubricating eye drops often, especially for the firs few weeks after surgery.
If you have external eye diseases such as meibomitis (inflammation of the inner lid) or blepharitits (debris at the base of the eyelashes), your doctor may want to treat these conditions prior to a laser vision correction procedure.
If I’ve Had Previous Eye Surgery, Am I Still a Candidate for LASIK?
Patients who have had certain types of eye surgery are sometimes candidates for LASIK as a second procedure to improve their vision. However, these are often more difficult surgeries and have less predicable results.
For example, LASIK has been used following an older form of refractive surgery, radial keratotomy (RK). With RK, the cornea is flattened by making small, spokelike incisions around its periphery to correct myopia and astigmatism. LASIK following RK can succeed as long as the patient’s vision is relatively stable and there is no significant corneal scarring or epithelial debris in the incisions.
Patients who have had a corneal transplant can have a LASIK procedure to enhance results. This is especially effective for those who developed a high degree of astigmatism caused by the surgery. A clear corneal transplant will allow good vision only if it has a relatively round surface. Laser vision correction can smooth out astigmatic curves in the cornea.
If I Have Thin Corneas, Am I Still a Candidate for LASIK?
You may be if you have a mild refractive error. If your cornea is thin, removing the amount of tissue necessary to correct your vision may weaken your cornea. A careful surgeon will calculate the amount of tissue removed to ensure your cornea is not weakened. If too much tissue will be removed, Dr. Kornmehl will recommend PRK or an implantable contact lens instead.
Can I Wear Contact Lenses after Surgery, If Necessary?
After Surgery, if you still need correction in one or both eyes, you may elect to wear contact lenses. With LASIK, you may wear contacts within a few weeks. If you had no previous problems with contacts before LASIK, it is doubtful you will have problems afterward. Realistically, however, rather than returning you to contact lens wear, your surgeon will likely recommend an enhancement to sharpen your vision.