Post-Lasik dry-eye relief?
December 6, 2017 8:28 PM   Subscribe

I had Lasik almost 4 years ago, and it's the best money I've ever spent. My vision is amazing now and I'm thankful every day. But...

I use eyedrops 5-6 times per day, mostly in the evening/night, and would use them more often if I wasn't worried about becoming dependent, if that's a thing. I use either Visine red eye or Bausch & Lomb dry eye. Have bought the gel tubes in the past but they always feel grainy and don't last till morning. Please help me blink without constant irritation! Does anyone have personal recommendations?
posted by scrubjay to Health & Fitness (13 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Have you had or do you have punctal plugs? I didn’t have issues but my wife did, and she is presently describing them as “magical”.
posted by supercres at 8:30 PM on December 6, 2017 [2 favorites]

Do you possibly have blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelids)? To me, this felt like dry eyes. Hot compresses and washing my eyelids/eyelashes with baby shampoo made a dramatic difference almost instantly.
posted by ktkt at 9:06 PM on December 6, 2017

In addition to the other suggestions, you may want to try Systane eye drops. Every eye doctor I've seen has recommended them. Visine red eye, in particular, probably won't give long-lasting relief for dry eye.
posted by christa at 9:21 PM on December 6, 2017 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Don't use red-eye stuff, use replacement-tears-type lubricating eyedrops. I had dry-eye pretty consistently for about 5-6 months after LASIK, almost 10 years ago now, and it went away, but I wasn't using medicated drops like you are. Your eyes are dry, not "red" in the traditional fashion.

I still carry eyedrops on my person daily, but I buy the smallest bottle, typically 5-10mL because it'll expire before I use all of it. I also carry it in my pocket, next to my phone, because I really hate cold eyedrops, brr! Having dry eyes from LASIK taught me what that sandy sensation was really, and how I could effectively deal with it, so I don't have to put up with it anymore.

Systane, mentioned above, is one brand I used, though I switched to my drugstore's generic version of same; cheaper and does the job. They're a slick liquid that does not mess with your blood vessels like red-eye drops do; just lubes up the place, because that's all dry eyes usually need. You can't become dependent on lube.

After that, talk to your Optometrist.
posted by Sunburnt at 10:52 PM on December 6, 2017 [6 favorites]

I use a brand of replacement tears called Hylo-Comod, and it's really helped with my dry eyes. The bottle has a special design that allows them to contain no preservatives or phosphates, and still last for 6 months after opening. Looks like they're super expensive in the US, but maybe you could find something similar based on hyaluronic acid?

Also, any chance you have allergies, even mild ones? I wouldn't overdo it on OTC anti-allergy eye drops, apparently they can be drying. But using lubricant / artificial tears a few times a day could help flush out any dust or whatnot that's irritating your eyes.
posted by Cimrmanova at 1:24 AM on December 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

Artificial tears are the way to go. For me, the preservative-free formula in the little single-use tubes is more comforting than the tears with a preservative, but YMMV. The little tubes aren't quite as wasteful as they seem, since every eye doctor has told me it's okay to keep them open, even without preservatives, for the few days it takes to use up the contents.
posted by DrGail at 6:17 AM on December 7, 2017

I have used GenTeal Severe at night only when I was experiencing waking up with very dry eyes. Now, I use the regular GenTeal dry eye drops in the morning when I wake up, and that's about it.

The Red Eye stuff is not what you want. You want the lubricating drops, and use them as often during the day as you need them, along with the gel at night. If you wake up and the gel has worn off, apply more or use the regular eyedrops to supplement. I went through this with my LASIK but it tapered off and it's been over a year since my procedure.
posted by Medieval Maven at 6:20 AM on December 7, 2017

If you don't have a humidifier in your bedroom, you may want to try one (along with washing your face with baby shampoo and using a longer-lasting eye drop).
posted by Iris Gambol at 10:26 AM on December 7, 2017

Stop using red-eye stuff- it is constricting your blood vessels and bad to use long-term.
I have very dry gritty sensitive eyes and have tried all manner of drops.
The best I've found are Alcorn's Tears Naturale II. The same brand makes a few other formulations but those ones are noticeably better than the rest. Cooling, non-medicated, soothing, lubricating, non-stinging.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 11:57 AM on December 7, 2017

Response by poster: Thank you all! Sounds like I’ve been eyedropping incorrectly, and will remedy that. I’ll look into each of your recommendations.
posted by scrubjay at 6:22 PM on December 7, 2017

I had lasik and use two things. If my eyes are dry but not super dry, I use the Refresh single-use tubes. The regular, not the thick one.

If my eyes aren't feeling better after using the single-use, I use Refresh Optive Gel Drops in the green bottle. They make my eyes feel good and cushy without making my eyes blurry.
posted by vivzan at 7:15 PM on December 7, 2017

Yep, you have to get the artificial tears. My LASIK ophthalmologist recommended either Systane Ultra or the Alcorn Tears, but I found the Alcorn tears made my eyes incredibly itchy.

Secondly, get a really good humidifier for your bedroom (I use Sweethome's recommendation) and a decent desktop humidifier if you work in a dry office.
posted by AmandaA at 7:15 AM on December 8, 2017

Best answer: I have spent a lot of time and money recently on seeing a fancy ophthalmologist who specializes in dry eye and I can share the following:

- use preservative free eye drops (the single use kind) as much as you like, you will not become dependent. don't use the kind with preservatives (basically any non single use bottle) as they can irritate your eyes more.
- use eye drops BEFORE you think you need them. try to use them every 2-3 hours all day - stay ahead of the dryness.
- use the genteal severe gel drops at night (or in the day) if you like them, if you don't like it then don't bother.
- humidifier for your bedroom is good if you tend to wake up with dry eyes
- take fish oil supplements, but you have to do it consistently for 3+ months to see if it helps
- hot compress can help in general - 5 min in the evening. you can do more if you find it helps.
- if it's your eyelids, try the ocu-soft wipes (ideally right after the hot compress)
- there are medicated Rx drops but they're generally for specific presentations of dry eye and can have some side effects (believe some are steroid) but a doc might be able to prescribe if you want.

Hopefully this helps!
posted by annie o at 9:55 PM on December 9, 2017

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