The Dry Eye Zone

Rebecca's Blog


Abstract: Flaps & dry eye

Nothing particularly new here and I sure wish they'd make studies like this more useful by evaluating a longer interval than one month postop. Also would be helpful to know how they evaluated symptoms (why is it that the refractive surgery studies seem to be among the least likely to specify this in the methods in the abstract?). But I did think it was interesting that while intralase flaps seemed to create quite a bit less dry eye, amongst the keratome folks the thickness of the flap did not appear to matter (except, of course, for all the reasons other than dry eye why flap thickness matters).

Dry eye associated with laser in situ keratomileusis: Mechanical microkeratome versus femtosecond laser.
J Cataract Refract Surg. 2009 Oct;35(10):1756-60.
Salomão MQ, Ambrósio R Jr, Wilson SE.
Cole Eye Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio 44195, USA.
PURPOSE: To compare the incidence of laser in situ keratomileusis (LASIK)-associated dry eye and the need for postoperative cyclosporine A treatment after flap creation with a femtosecond laser and a mechanical microkeratome.

SETTING: Cole Eye Institute, Cleveland, Ohio, USA.

METHODS: Eyes were randomized to flap creation with an IntraLase femtosecond laser (30 or 60 kHz) or a Hansatome microkeratome. No patient had signs, symptoms, or treatment of dry eye preoperatively. Flap thickness was determined by intraoperative ultrasonic pachymetry. Slitlamp assessments of the cornea and need for postoperative dry-eye treatment were evaluated preoperatively and 1 month postoperatively.

RESULTS: The flap was created with the femtosecond laser in 113 eyes and with the microkeratome in 70 eyes. The difference in mean central flap thickness between the femtosecond group (111 mum +/- 14 [SD]) and the microkeratome group (131 +/- 25 mum) was statistically significant (P<.001). The incidence of LASIK-associated dry eye was statistically significantly higher in the microkeratome group (46%) than in the femtosecond group (8%) (P<.0001), as was the need for postoperative cyclosporine A treatment (24% and 7%, respectively) (P<.01). In the microkeratome group, there was no correlation between thick flaps and a higher incidence of LASIK-induced dry eye.

CONCLUSIONS: Eyes with femtosecond flaps had a lower incidence of LASIK-associated dry eye and required less treatment for the disorder. In addition to neurotrophic effects from corneal nerve cutting, other factors may be important because no correlation was found between flap thickness (or ablation depth) and the incidence of LASIK-induced dry eye.