How do dry eye symptoms compare in LASIK vs. SMILE laser eye surgery?

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It is generally thought that SMILE may cause less dryness than LASIK. A recent study by Drs. Manche and Ma presented the results of a one year study comparing the changes in corneal sensitivity and self-reported dry eye in eyes that had either wavefront-guided femtosecond LASIK or SMILE. Patients were examined at one month, three months, six months and one year after surgery.

While in the first six months, SMILE patients exhibited less changes to corneal sensitivity, by 12 months, there were no significant differences.

Additionally, by 12 months, there were significant improvements in dry eyes, to levels better than at surgery for both types of surgery. The reporting of dry eyes was not significantly different for the two groups at all points after surgery.

In conclusion, there is no significant difference in dry eye and corneal sensitivity between LASIK and SMILE. Although early, corneal sensation may be affected more in LASIK than SMILE. Dryness improves over time after both surgeries to levels better than before surgery!

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LASIK is a medical procedure with risks involved and isn't right for everyone. Individual results may vary. Talk to your eye doctor and consider both the risks and benefits before having the procedure. Additional information can be found at our website or at the material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider.