The American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology reports that about 50 million people in the United States suffer from hay fever, or allergic rhinitis. Among other uncomfortable symptoms, this condition often causes itchy, watery eyes, which can interfere with your vision and disrupt your daily life. Unfortunately, eye allergies pose a problem for patients who wear contact lenses to see clearly. This is one of the many reasons why we recommend LASIK, or laser in-situ keratomileusis, an advanced corrective procedure. While it can make allergy season more comfortable, many patients are concerned about how their hay fever might impact their candidacy and success with this procedure. In the following blog post, we discuss the connection between LASIK and eye allergies, and explain how our Madison ophthalmological team can help.
What Is LASIK?
Refractive errors such as myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism are caused by abnormalities in corneal shape. For example, steep corneas cause nearsightedness, flat corneas cause farsightedness, and football-shaped corneas cause astigmatism. To correct these conditions, Dr. William E. Holcomb uses an accurate, powerful beam of light to modify your corneal tissue and sharpen your vision. During this procedure, he will create a flap in your cornea, lift the top layer of tissue up and to the side of your eye, reshape your corneas with our laser according to the information collected during your wavefront scan, and replace the flap so your eye can heal. This process typically requires local anesthesia in the form of numbing eye drops.
Some patients worry that their eye allergies may prevent them from experiencing the benefits of LASIK, but this isn’t the case. Eye allergies do not affect LASIK candidacy, but Dr. Holcomb may recommend scheduling your surgery at a time other than allergy season, since your eyes may be more likely to swell or become irritated if you are suffering from hay fever. Other than this consideration, you will need to meet the basic LASIK eligibility requirements to undergo surgery at our practice. You should:
- Be at least 18 years old.
- Have consistent vision. If your optometric prescription fluctuates, LASIK may not be effective for you.
- Have adequate corneal thickness to allow for flap creation. If you do not, Dr. Holcomb may recommend PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) instead.
- Be free of any other ocular or ophthalmological conditions. For example, if you suffer from conjunctivitis (pink eye), this may need to be treated before you proceed with LASIK.
Managing Eye Allergies after LASIK
Many patients with eye allergies choose to undergo LASIK to correct their vision and avoid wearing contact lenses. This procedure can be especially beneficial for allergy sufferers, but you will need to be careful that your condition does not interfere with your healing process. For an optimal recovery, Dr. Holcomb advises our patients with eye allergies to:
- Make sure to use the anti-inflammatory, steroid, moisturizing, and any other eye drops he prescribes. These will help minimize your allergy symptoms and speed your healing.
- Avoid pulling at or rubbing your eyes, even if they itch or feel dry. Tugging at or putting undue pressure on your ocular tissue could disrupt your recovery process.
- Contact our office immediately if you notice any severe, unusual, or otherwise disconcerting symptoms. Dr. Holcomb and our team will be available to help you remain comfortable and healthy following LASIK.
Contact the Holcomb Laser Center Today
If you suffer from eye allergies, LASIK may be an effective solution. Contact our ophthalmological practice today to learn more about this procedure or schedule a consultation with Dr. Holcomb.