Do Eye Allergies Affect My Candidacy for LASIK? By Gordon Wong, OD on June 03, 2015

A woman using eye dropsPatients at GW Eye Associates always receive detailed information about their eye care options. This is what makes our team among the most trusted eye care centers in the San Diego area.

Many people who come to our practice have questions about laser eye surgery and refractive procedures. We'd like to address the matter of eye allergies and LASIK surgery right now.

What are eye allergies?

Eye allergies refer to the various reactions one's eyes have when exposed to allergens that are in the air. These eye allergy reactions will accompany stuffy or runny noses, sneezing, and other common signs of allergies.

Common Signs of Eye Allergies

When you experience an eye allergy, the following things are likely to happen:

  • Irritated eyes
  • Itchy eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • Red eyes
  • Temporary dry eye
  • Blurry vision

Keep in mind that these are very natural reactions to allergens that millions of Americans experience.

Eye Allergies vs. Dry Eye Syndrome

While eye allergies can be uncomfortable, they are quite different from dry eye syndrome. Dry eye syndrome refers to cases in which the tear ducts are not as active as they ought to be or do not produce eye moisture at all. This can lead to major discomfort.

While dry eye can occur as a result of eye allergies, it's not the same as dry eye syndrome. In fact, if a patient has dry eye syndrome, he or she will not be considered a good candidate for LASIK surgery.

If I have eye allergies, can I still undergo LASIK?


Even if your eye allergies are severe, you will still be a potential candidate for LASIK so long as you are 18 years old, are not pregnant or nursing, have good and healthy corneas of average thickness, and your vision has been stable for at least a year.

In fact, when people wear contacts, their eye allergies may actually be made worse since dust, pollen, and particulate matter may become stuck to a contact lens or trapped beneath a contact lens. By eliminating your dependence on contacts, LASIK can actually allow patients to experience less serious issues with eye allergies.

Candidacy for LASIK or a LASIK alternative can be determined during a full consultation.

Tips for Post-Operative Care Following LASIK

After LASIK surgery, there are a few things that you can do to prevent eye allergies from occurring:

  • Follow Post-Op Instructions to the Letter – Your instructions for care after LASIK are there to help you heal quickly and avoid potential complications. Follow them closely and attend all follow-up visits with your LASIK surgeon as scheduled.

  • Avoid Smoky, Dusty, Arid, and Pollen-filled Places – These kinds of environments often trigger allergy attacks. One of the best ways to avoid serious discomfort is by avoiding these places as you heal from LASIK.

  • Carry Liquid Tears with You at All Times – If you do have an issue with dry eye or an eye allergy as you heal from LASIK, there's no need to worry. Just have some lubricating eye drops on you at all times. These drops will provide relief to you when you need it.

Learn More About LASIK Surgery

For more information about LASIK and how it can help you see clearly without glasses or contact lenses, it's important that you contact our advanced eye care and vision correction center today. The team here at GW Eye Associates will go over all of your options for enhancing your vision.

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GW Eye Associates

Our team at GW Eye Associates in La Jolla and Del Mar can provide a wide range of high-quality eye care services. Dr. Gordon G. Wong and Dr. Wildon C. Wong have over 45 years of combined experience and belong to several prestigious organizations, including:

  • American Academy of Ophthalmology
  • American Optometric Association

For more information about our services, contact our office online or call us at (858) 454-4699 today.

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