Purpose: To determine whether measurable preoperative characteristics predispose patients to chronic dry eye after laser in situ keratomileusis (LASIK).
Methods: The study consisted of 24 eyes of 24 patients who underwent LASIK. Tear breakup time, Schirmer testing with and without anesthesia, rose bengal staining, central corneal sensitivity, nucleus-to-cytoplasmic ratio, and goblet cell density were evaluated 2 weeks before and 1 week, 3 months, and 9 months after surgery. Patients were classified into two outcome groups, the nondry-eye group (NDEG) and the chronic dry-eye group (CDEG), on the basis of dry eye status 9 months after surgery. The authors tested whether preoperative values of each parameter were associated with the development of chronic dry eye.
Results: All parameters, except rose bengal staining, deteriorated significantly after surgery but returned to preoperative levels within 3 to 9 months. The CDEG had significantly lower preoperative Schirmer test values with and without anesthesia and were delayed in recovery after surgery in goblet cell density, rose bengal staining, Schirmer test values without anesthesia, and tear breakup time. Results of preoperative Schirmer tests without anesthesia positively correlated with tear breakup time 9 months after surgery.
Conclusions: Preoperative tear volume may affect recovery of the ocular surface after LASIK and may increase the risk for chronic dry eye.