Dry eye in LASIK patients

Mitsuyoshi Azuma, Chiho Yabuta, Frederick W. Fraunfelder, Thomas R. Shearer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Background: Increasing age is a known risk factor for developing dry eye. The specific aims of the present study were to determine the prevalence of dry eye syndrome (DES) and use of post-operative dry eye medications in a relatively young population presenting for LASIK surgery at an academic ophthalmology clinic. Findings. A retrospective, analysis of 948 de-identified patient charts (median age 39 years, not age stratified) was performed to extract pre-LASIK diagnoses and post-LASIK medication lists. Clinical evaluation for DES and the results of Schirmer's reflex tear flow test were used to assign LASIK patients into Normal, Pre-dry eye (Pre-DES), and Dry Eye Syndrome (DES) groups; which were then compared for use of dry eye medications.Based on pre-operative diagnoses, only 2% (CI: 1.3 - 3.1) of LASIK patients presented with overt DES. Unexpectantly, 25% (CI: 22.2 - 27.6) of LASIK patients labeled Pre-DES were not classified by the clinician as having overt DES, yet they showed poor reflex tear flow rates ≤ 5 mm before surgery, and frequently used post-operative lubricant dry eye medications. Conclusions: Although the number of patients with pre-existing eye conditions was unknown, a sizable portion of relatively young LASIK patients displays poor reflex tear flow without overt DES. Such patients could go on to develop more serious consequences of poor tear flow, such as corneal abrasion and erosion. More specific, dry eye medications may be needed for ideal treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number420
JournalBMC Research Notes
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 3 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Dry eye
  • Dry eye medication
  • Human
  • Schirmer's reflex tear flow

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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