Excessive Tearing After Lasik?

LASIK eye surgery, lauded for its ability to correct various vision problems, has transformed the lives of millions globally. It promises reduced dependency on glasses or contact lenses, enhancing the quality of life for many. 

However, the road to crystal-clear vision can sometimes be marked by unexpected side effects, with excessive tearing topping the list for some patients. 

If you’re experiencing a waterfall of tears post-LASIK, you’re not alone. 

This comprehensive guide will illuminate the causes behind this watery phenomenon and offer practical advice for managing it.


The Phenomenon of Excessive Tearing After LASIK

Post-LASIK, patients expect clarity of vision, but many are surprised to find an unexpected guest—excessive tearing or epiphora. This condition, while seemingly counterintuitive, is a normal part of the healing process for many individuals. 

But what causes this watery reaction?


Understanding the Tears

The human eye produces tears through the lacrimal glands located in the upper eyelids. These tears serve numerous purposes, including nourishment, protection, and ensuring a smooth optical surface for light refraction. 

Under normal circumstances, tears are regularly drained through the nasolacrimal duct into the nasal cavity.


Disruption During LASIK

During LASIK surgery, a laser reshapes the cornea, altering its structure to correct vision. This process, while meticulously planned and executed, disrupts the eye’s delicate balance. 

The corneal nerves responsible for tear production are temporarily affected, which can lead to an imbalance in tear composition and distribution. 

In response, the eyes might produce more tears than necessary to compensate for perceived dryness or irritation. This overproduction is a primary reason for excessive tearing post-LASIK.


What Causes Excessive Tearing After LASIK?

Here’s what could be driving the waterworks:

Healing Response

The first thing to understand is that LASIK involves a laser reshaping the cornea – the eye’s front surface – which can trigger a healing response. This includes inflammation which, in turn, can stimulate the eye to produce more tears than usual as part of the natural healing process. 

Typically, this reaction is temporary, subsiding as the eye heals over a few weeks post-surgery.

Corneal Sensitivity

LASIK surgery can temporarily affect the cornea’s nerves, leading to reduced sensitivity. 

Your eyes might not sense dryness as they normally would, failing to signal for the appropriate amount of lubrication. In response, the eyes may overcompensate by producing an excess of tears once sensitivity begins to return.

Dry Eye Syndrome

Despite seeming counterintuitive, excessive tearing can be a symptom of dry eye syndrome. 

When eyes are dry, they can become irritated and overproduce tears to alleviate discomfort. LASIK can exacerbate or even cause dry eye symptoms in some patients due to the disruption of the corneal surface and its nerves.

Sensitivity to Light

Another factor contributing to excessive tearing is increased sensitivity to light, known as photophobia, which is common in the early stages of LASIK recovery. 

Bright light can trigger the reflex tear production, leading to watering eyes.


When Will the Tears Subside?

The duration of excessive tearing varies among patients, but most find relief within the first-month post-surgery. 

It’s a curious passage of time where the body adjusts to its new normal. Patience and following your post-LASIK care instructions are paramount during this period.


The Spectrum of Healing

It’s essential to remember that LASIK affects individuals differently. 

While excessive tearing is a common response, your experience may differ based on your unique healing process, pre-existing conditions, and adherence to post-operative care.


Wiping Away the Tears: Management and Treatment

While excessive tearing is usually temporary, it can be bothersome. Here are several strategies to effectively manage this condition:

    1. Patience is Key: Understand that excessive tearing is part of the healing process and is likely to resolve on its own.
    2. Artificial Tears: Ironically, the use of artificial tears can be beneficial for managing excessive tearing, especially when the underlying issue is dry eyes. These over-the-counter drops can provide the necessary lubrication and comfort, encouraging the eye’s natural healing process and potentially normalising tear production.
    3. Steroid Eyedrops: Inflammation can exacerbate many post-LASIK symptoms, including excessive tearing. Steroid eye drops, prescribed by an eye care professional, can help reduce inflammation and promote a more balanced tear production.
    4. Punctal Plugs: In cases where excessive tearing is pronounced, eye care professionals might suggest the use of punctal plugs. These tiny devices are inserted into the tear ducts to slow down the drainage of tears from the eye’s surface, maintaining moisture and reducing the need for overcompensation through excessive tearing.
    5. Compress: Warm compresses gently applied to closed eyelids can soothe irritation and facilitate the flow of oil from the glands in the eyelids, improving tear quality and reducing excessive tearing.
    6. Practice Blinking Exercises: Sometimes, after LASIK, patients experience a temporary change in their blinking patterns. Regular blinking exercises can help stimulate tear production and ensure an even distribution of tears across the eye surface.
    7. Environmental Modifications: Patients can alleviate discomfort by avoiding environments that exacerbate dry eye symptoms, such as rooms with air conditioning or heating, which reduce indoor humidity.
    8. Stay Hydrated: Hydration plays a crucial role in maintaining overall eye health. Drinking enough water helps keep the body and the eyes sufficiently hydrated, potentially easing symptoms of dry eyes.
    9. Avoid Rubbing Your Eyes: This can irritate the eyes further and potentially disrupt the healing process.
    10. Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Increasing your intake of Omega-3 fatty acids can also help with dry eye symptoms. These essential fatty acids, found in fish oil and flaxseed oil, play a role in maintaining a healthy tear film. Always consult with your healthcare provider prior to introducing any new supplements.
    11. Wear Sunglasses: To combat sensitivity to light, wear sunglasses when outdoors. Choose glasses with 100% UVA and UVB protection to shield your eyes from harsh sunlight and reduce unnecessary tear production.Practice Good
    12. Eye Hygiene: Keep your eyes clean and free from irritants that can exacerbate tearing. Wash your hands regularly, especially before applying eye drops or touching your eyes, and avoid environments with dust and smoke.
    13. Follow-up Care: Regular check-ups with an eye care professional are crucial post-LASIK. They can assess the healing process, make necessary adjustments to treatment, and provide guidance based on the patient’s recovery.


Insights for Eye Care Professionals

Eye care professionals play a vital role in managing excessive tearing in post-LASIK patients. Offering a comprehensive pre-operative assessment to identify risk factors for dry eye syndrome can inform the decision to proceed with LASIK. Additionally, educating patients about the potential for excessive tearing and providing proactive management strategies can enhance patient satisfaction and outcomes.

Post-operative care should include monitoring for signs of excessive tearing, intervening early with treatments such as artificial tears or punctal plugs, and addressing any underlying issues like inflammation or infection. 

A personalised approach to post-operative care, considering the unique responses of each patient’s eyes to LASIK, is essential for optimal recovery.


It’s Part of the Journey

Undergoing LASIK is a big step towards visual freedom, and while the road to recovery can have some bumps, knowing how to manage side effects like excessive tearing can make the process smoother. Remember, it’s essential to set realistic expectations and follow your eye care provider’s advice closely.

LASIK has transformed the lives of millions, offering clear vision without the dependency on corrective lenses. 

While excessive tearing can be an uncomfortable side effect, it is often temporary and manageable with the right care and attention. By understanding the causes and adopting effective management strategies, you can support a smooth recovery and enjoy the benefits LASIK has to offer.


Book an Appointment

Contact Us For A Free Lasik Consultation

We promise to only answer your queries and to not bother you with any sales calls or texts.
Open chat
💬 Need Help ?
Hello 🙂 🙏 ,
Can we help you?