Dry Eyes and LASIK

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I have dry eyes, can I still have LASIK?

Dry Eyes and LASIK

If you have dry eyes, a condition that is typical of women in their 40s, you may have heard that those tear-less eyes will keep you from having LASIK. It's true that doctors are wary of LASIK vision correction if your eyes burn, sting, make excessive tears, or reject contacts. Dry eye syndrome may hold your vision back from the results you hope to achieve.

If you already know you have dry eye syndrome, talk to your LASIK doctor before considering LASIK eye surgery. Worsening of dry eye syndrome is one of the LASIK risks.

Your ophthalmologist can test you for dry eye syndrome if you're not sure you have it, or if you think it's been cured with eyedrops. Dry-eye syndrome is never cured, and can be worsened by wearing contacts, for example.

Ask your LASIK surgeon to perform the Schirmer test, in which a special paper placed inside your eyelids for five minutes measures your tear production. A result of 10 mm of moisture on the filter paper in five minutes is normal.

According to Medline, the Schirmer test may not identify dry eye syndrome in some patients, so ask for two of the more advanced tests:

* fluorescein eye drops during the slit-lamp test
* a test for lactoferrin--low production of lactoferrin is linked to dry-eye syndrome.

If you have dry-eye syndrome, it may be a sign of lupus or other autoimmune disorders that would not make you a good candidate for LASIK.

A caveat: Some surgeons have performed LASIK on patients with dry-eye syndrome. Bear in mind that should your surgeon approve you for LASIK vision correction, you will probably need artificial tears to relieve your condition.



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