LASIK Surgery Worsens Dry Eye Symptoms

If you have dry eye symptoms before undergoing LASIK surgery, the problem is very likely to persist, if not worsen, after laser eye surgery.  According to an article published in The Archives of OphthalmologyTear function and dry eye symptoms improve within several postoperative months in most cases; however, some patients still have dry eye 1 year after undergoing LASIK.  Although the mechanisms for post-LASIK dry eye are unclear, more severe post-LASIK dry eye may develop in patients with preoperative dry eye for longer periods compared with subjects without preoperative dry eye.” (Source:

LASIK surgery temporarily disrupts the ocular surface/lacrimal gland unit. Also, during LASIK, roughly 60-70% of the superficial nerve fibers in the cornea are severed, which impacts sensation and affects acqueous tears. With compromised sensation, the blink rate can slow to the point where the tear film breaks up before the next blink can reconstitute. This may result in mild to severe dry eye syndrome for many months after surgery. This condition usually eventually clears up.

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