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Why does LASIK cause dry eyes?

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Dry eye is the most common complication for LASIK, the surgery for correcting vision. About 95% of people report dry eye symptoms just after the procedure.

Researchers don’t fully understand why this happens, but they have some ideas. The surgery can cause some corneal nerve damage. During the procedure, the surgeon reshapes your cornea by removing some of the tissue under it. In the process, the surgeon cuts some of the nerves in your cornea. That doesn’t affect your vision. But it may break down the communication between your cornea and the tear glands for a while. This usually returns to normal quickly.

Another possible cause is inflammation from the surgery. Also, the new shape of your cornea may change the way your eyelid interacts with the surface of your eye. That may affect blinking or tear production. And that can lead to dry eye.

From: Dry Eye After LASIK WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

Expert Review of Ophthalmology: “Post-LASIK dry eye.”

Medscape: “Dry eyes.”

Mayo Clinic: “Dry eyes.”

FDA: “How Lasik Eye Surgery Works,” “What should I expect before, during, and after surgery?”

Council for Refractive Surgery Quality Assurance: “Dry Eye Treatment.”

Reviewed by Brian S. Boxer Wachler on June 24, 2017

SOURCES:

Expert Review of Ophthalmology: “Post-LASIK dry eye.”

Medscape: “Dry eyes.”

Mayo Clinic: “Dry eyes.”

FDA: “How Lasik Eye Surgery Works,” “What should I expect before, during, and after surgery?”

Council for Refractive Surgery Quality Assurance: “Dry Eye Treatment.”

Reviewed by Brian S. Boxer Wachler on June 24, 2017

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