USAEyes Lasik grant application.
How to Choose
A Lasik Doctor
Find Certified Surgeon
50 Tough Lasik Questions
Ask Lasik Expert
Lasik Q&A Forum
Top Articles
What is Lasik?
Lasik Cost
Lasik Results
Wavefront Custom iLasik
Bladeless Lasik
Lasik Patient Survey
Lasik Alternative
Top Articles
Monovision Lasik
PRK, LASEK, Epi-Lasik
RLE Lens Exchange
Lasik Groupon
$1,500 Off Lasik

Image of Lasik doctors certification logo.

This website is accredited by Health On the Net Foundation. Click to verify.   The website complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information: verify here.

Dry Eyes After Lasik and Bladeless Lasik

Dry eye prevention techniques to use with Lasik, Bladeless Lasik,
PRK, LASEK, and Epi-Lasik.

Image of woman standing in a windy desert.  
Lasik and Bladeless Lasik may induce dry eye symptoms during the normal six month healing period.  

Dry Eyes after Lasik is a common condition during the immediate recovery period. If you have dry eyes before conventional or custom wavefront Lasik, Bladeless Lasik, PRK, LASEK, or Epi-Lasik, you may not be excluded as a candidate for refractive surgery, but it is a condition that you must report to your doctor. Pre-existing dry eyes needs to be evaluated, treated, and resolved before surgery.

This article is about why dry eyes occur and how to prepare before surgery. A related article is  Lasik dry eye treatment.

Tear Quantity, Tear Quality

Two popular methods to test for dry eyes is a Tear Break-Up Test (TBUT) to determine tear quality and a Schirmer test to determine tear quantity. Dry eye treatment will depend upon the cause and severity of the dry eyes. Dry eyes is a medical condition and treatment would normally be covered under by major medical insurance plans.

Lasik Induced Temporary Dry Eyes

It is common to experience dry eyes for a short period after Lasik, Bladeless Lasik and sometimes PRK and its cousins LASEK and Epi-Lasik. Virtually everyone who has Lasik or Bladeless Lasik will experience dry eyes, but the important issue is to what degree and for how long.

For the vast majority of refractive surgery recipients, the degree of dry eye symptoms is not significant enough to cause difficulties. Even those who do have some trouble most often find the dry eye symptoms resolve within the normal six-month healing period. For an unfortunate few patients, Lasik induced dry eyes is a long-term complication that, although manageable, may be very disruptive.

There are many techniques to reduce the probability of dry eyes being induced by surgery, but most are the responsibility of the doctor. Prevention of Lasik related dry eyes is primarily focused on proper patient selection and treatment of pre-existing dry eye prior to surgery.

Drowning In Artificial Tears

There are many techniques to treat dry eye. The most common are preservative-free artificial tears, lubricating gel, punctal plugs, Restasis, and flax seed oil supplements. The technique best suited depends upon the exact nature of the tear deficiency and underlying cause. There are many types of artificial tear eye drops for slightly different purposes.

Less Dry Eye With Surface Ablation

Although PRK, LASEK, and Epi-Lasik may induce dry eye symptoms, Lasik and Bladeless Lasik seem to be the more commonly associated with dry eyes. This is partly because the Lasik techniques are more disruptive to the corneal nerves than PRK and LASEK. For this reason, patients with preexisting dry eyes may find PRK, LASEK, or Epi-Lasik a better choice. Other techniques such as RLE, and P-IOLs only marginally disrupt the corneal nerves, but have their own limitations. Whatever the surgery of choice, the less the corneal nerves are disrupted, the faster the nerves recover and normal tear function returns.

Be sure to discuss any dry eye problems (before or after surgery) with your doctor.

Looking For Best Lasik Surgeon?

If you are ready to choose a doctor to be evaluated for conventional or custom wavefront Lasik, Bladeless Lasik, PRK, or any refractive surgery procedure, we recommend you consider a doctor who has been evaluated and certified by the USAEyes nonprofit organization. Locate a USAEyes Evaluated & Certified Lasik Doctor.

Personalized Answers

If this article did not fully answer your questions, use our free Ask Lasik Expert patient forum.

Recent Lasik & Dry Eyes Medical Journal Articles...

Related Articles

Comparison of the femtosecond laser and mechanical microkeratome for flap cutting in LASIK.

Int J Ophthalmol. 2015;8(4):784-90

Authors: Xia LK, Yu J, Chai GR, Wang D, Li Y

AIM: To compare refractive results, higher-order aberrations (HOAs), contrast sensitivity and dry eye after laser in situ keratomileusis (LASIK) performed with a femtosecond laser versus a mechanical microkeratome for myopia and astigmatism.
METHODS: In this prospective, non-randomized study, 120 eyes with myopia received a LASIK surgery with the VisuMax femtosecond laser for flap cutting, and 120 eyes received a conventional LASIK surgery with a mechanical microkeratome. Flap thickness, visual acuity, manifest refraction, contrast sensitivity function (CSF) curves, HOAs and dry-eye were measured at 1wk; 1, 3, 6mo after surgery.
RESULTS: At 6mo postoperatively, the mean central flap thickness in femtosecond laser procedure was 113.05±5.89 µm (attempted thickness 110 µm), and 148.36±21.24 µm (attempted thickness 140 µm) in mechanical microkeratome procedure. An uncorrected distance visual acuity (UDVA) of 4.9 or better was obtained in more than 98% of eyes treated by both methods, a gain in logMAR lines of corrected distance visual acuity (CDVA) occurred in more than 70% of eyes treated by both methods, and no eye lost ≥1 lines of CDVA in both groups. The difference of the mean UDVA and CDVA between two groups at any time post-surgery were not statistically significant (P>0.05). The postoperative changes of spherical equivalent occurred markedly during the first month in both groups. The total root mean square values of HOAs and spherical aberrations in the femtosecond treated eyes were markedly less than those in the microkeratome treated eyes during 6mo visit after surgery (P<0.01). The CSF values of the femtosecond treated eyes were also higher than those of the microkeratome treated eyes at all space frequency (P<0.01). The mean ocular surface disease index scores in both groups were increased at 1wk, and recovered to preoperative level at 1mo after surgery. The mean tear breakup time (TBUT) of the femtosecond treated eyes were markedly longer than those of the microkeratome treated eyes at postoperative 1, 3mo (P<0.01).
CONCLUSION: Both the femtosecond laser and the mechanical microkeratome for LASIK flap cutting are safe and effective to correct myopia, with no statistically significant difference in the UDVA, CDVA during 6mo follow-up. Refractive results remained stable after 1mo post-operation for both groups. The femtosecond laser may have advantages over the microkeratome in the flap thickness predictability, fewer induced HOAs, better CSF, and longer TBUT.

PMID: 26309880 [PubMed]


Last updated

"Consider and Choose With Confidence"TM

A few of the communities where Lasik doctors are certified by USAEyes :