Dry Eye and Cataract Surgery

March 12, 2018 — by William Goldstein
Tags: Dry Eye Laser Cataract Surgery Dry Eye And Cataract Surgery Cataract

Cataract is a common disorder associated with the eye and is observed in a large fraction of the population. The condition is commonly observed among people who are in the age groups of fifty and above. Cataract is a condition in which the lens of the eye develops a dense, cloudy formation. It affects vision and sight can become strained and almost impossible.

Fortunately, cataract can be easily detected and removed using laser cataract surgery. A patient undergoing cataract surgery can expect to gain their normal vision after the surgery.

Why is preoperative optimization necessary?


Prior to laser cataract surgery, patients are advised to under a preoperative optimization of the ocular surface. Often patients who have undergone a cataract surgery experience what is known as dry eye, a condition in which the tears produced by the tear glands in the eye are not able to provide adequate moisture to the eye. Dry eye symptoms that exhibit itself after a cataract surgery are mostly due to a pre-existing condition in the ocular surface of the eye that was exacerbated by the surgery. Dry eye symptoms can become worse over time and it is necessary to avoid it at all costs.

This is why doctors recommend patients who are scheduled to undergo cataract surgery to get a preoperative optimization of the ocular surface.

Treatment


Initially, doctors determine if a patient exhibits symptoms of dry eye before the surgery. If the patient suffers from dry eye, the next step is to determine the severity of the condition. Mild dry eye symptoms are treated with artificial tear drops. Restasis, an ophthalmic emulsion that is used to suppress inflammation may be needed if tears do not accomplish the goal of healing the surface of the eye. These ophthalmic emulsions also help to raise the tear film of the eye. After the use of Restasis preoperatively, doctors insert punctal plugs if it seems like this course of action will help. Proper preoperative care is given after an ocular stress test is performed. Methods like screening and assessment are used to further determine the extent of dry eye in patients. In preoperative optimization, a patient is administered a local anesthetic and a pressure reading is taken. A vision test is conducted along with a fundus examination after the patient is given dilating eye drops. The patient is made to wait for some time and then further examined for the presence of an irregular epithelium or keratopathy.

Depending upon the results of the tests, doctors prescribe lid hygiene and nutritional supplementation. Later on, patients are also prescribed anti-inflammatory agents to treat any further symptoms before the surgery.