Question: I am 42 years old who had LASIK 6 weeks ago for myopia. I have noticed when I work on the computer I can read fine, but when I look up at a distant object my dominant eye is extremely blurry. Blurriness goes away after 5-10 minutes, but eye feels strained. I can still read small print fine. What causes this?

Answer: Dryness is common following LASIK surgery. It commonly lasts for 3 months and then generally returns to a level similar to before LASIK surgery. Some patients feel it is actually better following LASIK (particularly if they wore contact lenses a lot). Others feel there eyes are still dry (particularly if they had high prescriptions prior to LASIK). Dryness can cause eye strain.

The dryness can be caused by a number of factors: the new shape to the cornea, the healing process of the cornea, irregularity in the tear film, etc. Many of these will improve with time as the eye adjusts to its new shape and heals from the surgery.

People in their 40’s who have LASIK often feel like they can not read as well as they did with glasses. This is more common in people with very high prescriptions as well who chose to have LASIK. Glasses actually help a little with seeing up close because the glasses are further away from the eyes. The person would have needed reading glasses soon enough anyways but LASIK sometimes hastens the need for reading glasses.

Prolonged use of a computer or reading up close can also lock your vision into seeing up close, making your distance vision less clear. To avoid this, use reading glasses when you know you will be viewing something up close for long periods of time. It can also be helpful to take breaks. Every 20 minutes take a couple minutes to look at objects far away. Perhaps step away from the computer and do something that you can look farther away for.