Dry Eye Before LASIK or PRK

Written by Dr. David Evans   Last modified on August 6, 2018

A lot has been written about dry eye after LASIK and the various treatments available to aid with this condition. However, dry eye before LASIK has never really been a topic for discussion because patients diagnosed with dry eye have not typically been considered candidates for LASIK. The development of more sensitive diagnostic technologies has allowed eye doctors to better detect dry eye during the LASIK consultation process, leading to a wider range of patients being eliminated from candidacy for the surgery.

Well, there’s good news for people whose dry eye previously precluded them from LASIK. Interesting new data has just been released showing that patients who have dry eye pre-treatment may now be candidates for both LASIK and PRK. In the study, patients were treated with prescription dry eye drops, natural tears or plugs in their tear ducts. On average, it took patients between three and four months of treatment to become candidates; that is, until their symptoms of dry eye subsided enough for them to undergo LASIK surgery.

This is a particularly exciting finding because it means that a wider range of people can take advantage of the procedures. Dr. Steven Schallhorn — known for his work with Navy SEALS where he showed that special operations troops could undergo LASIK surgery and be back in action within a matter of days — recently commented on this study. Dr. Schallhorn feels that expanding candidacy for LASIK to include those with dry eye could help thousands of people achieve clearer vision.