Can Having Dry Eyes Stand In The Way of Cataract Surgery?

Older man suffering from dry eyes

Cataracts are a common eye condition in adults over the age of 40. Cataracts can also severely affect your vision.

They develop slowly but they can eventually make it almost impossible to see. When fully developed, they even cause total blindness.

The good news about cataracts is that their visual constraints don’t have to be permanent. Thanks to cataract surgery, you can regain your vision and have your cataracts removed.

Cataract surgery is also the only effective treatment option for cataracts. Like any surgical procedure, there are risks that come with having cataract surgery.

While cataract surgery is a safe procedure, having pre-existing conditions can make it a little more difficult. This includes if you have conditions like dry eye syndrome.

Keep reading to learn if having dry eyes can stand in your way of having cataract surgery!

Dry Eye and Eye Surgery

Dry eye can be a temporary condition triggered by changes in a person’s environment. But it can also be a chronic condition.

Dry eye syndrome often occurs in those that are older, especially women going through menopause. For those that have dry eye syndrome, any kind of eye surgery carries more risk.

Having enough moisture in the eyes is what helps them heal. Dry eye can make the recovery process after surgery longer and more uncomfortable.

Having dry eyes won’t prevent you from having eye surgery, including cataract surgery. To be as safe as possible, you may have to take some extra precautions.

Pre-Surgery Evaluation

Before you have cataract surgery, your doctor will screen you to make sure surgery will be safe. This evaluation includes testing your tear production.

Your doctor will assess both the quality of your tears, the amount produced, and how well they disperse over the surface of your eye. For most cases of dry eye syndrome, the actual amount of tears produced is normal.

The problem lies in your tears not having enough moisture. Because of this, the tears are more oil and mucus than water.

If your doctor finds you have dry eye syndrome, they will recommend treatments before surgery. These treatments will ease your symptoms and make you more comfortable.

Dry Eye Treatments

Dry eyes can be treated non-invasively. Before recommending anything else, most doctors will probably suggest over-the-counter artificial tears.

They may also suggest a change in diet. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids can help your tear production. You can also take fish oil or flaxseed oil supplements.

If you take supplements, know that the body absorbs nutrients better from actual food. You may need to try adding omega-3 fatty acid-rich foods in your diet, like salmon, tuna, chia seeds, and walnuts to get the full benefits.

If these changes don’t ease symptoms, there are minimally-invasive surgical options as well. One common surgery for dry eye is inserting punctal plugs.

These plugs block the eye’s drainage channel. Blocking the drainage channel forces your tears to stay on the surface of the eye longer. This helps keep your eyes more lubricated and makes up for tears that aren’t the highest quality.

Once your dry eye is under control, you can have cataract surgery, knowing your eyes are in better shape. If you still struggle with dry eye after treatment, your doctor may still consider surgery.

This depends on the severity of your cataracts, although there will be an increased risk. For the most part, dry eye is manageable, but every case is different.

Discuss your options about dry eye and cataract surgery with your doctor. This will allow you to make an informed decision.

Think you may need cataract surgery? Schedule a cataract screening at Berg Feinfield Vision Correction in Burbank, CA!