Have you experienced increased dry eye following refractive or cataract surgery?
If so, you’re not alone!
Cataract surgery is one of the most commonly performed operations in France, and it is estimated that nearly one million people undergo surgery each year (825,000 operations in 2017, compared to 573,000 in 2009). In addition, the number of refractive surgeries increased significantly in 2020, due to the inconvenience of wearing masks and glasses together.
The benefit of these procedures is that they restore vision simply and quickly. However, as with any surgery, risks exist and clear patient information should be provided.
According to France’s ANSM (Agence nationale de sécurité du médicament et des produits de santé), dry eye is the most common complication associated with these procedures. Patients with symptomatic or non-symptomatic dry eye prior to the procedure are likely to develop transient or permanent dry eye.
Refractive and cataract surgery require an incision in the cornea, which cuts the intra-corneal nerve endings. This section breaks the reflex arc between corneal sensitivity and tear production by the lacrimal glands, which disturbs the stability of the tear film and the surface of the eye in different ways:
- Increased evaporation of tears
- Decreased tear secretion
- Decreased stability of tears
This dryness of the eye subsides as the nerves regenerate, usually within a few weeks or months. If regeneration is not complete, some degree of dryness may persist.
Why is the tear film so important?
The tear film plays a number of roles, such as providing nutrients to the cornea, and acting as a lubricant or antibacterial agent, but it is also important to know that it contributes to 70% of vision quality.
Therefore, don’t forget to talk to your ophthalmologist about your problem before any type of eye surgery.