Dry Eye Disease

Dry eye is the most common complication of LASIK. (1) FDA clinical trials demonstrate 20% of LASIK patient experience worse or significantly worse dry eyes six months after LASIK. (2) Symptoms of post-LASIK dry eye include pain, burning, stinging, and scratchiness. Dry eye after LASIK is due to surgically-induced disruption of processes involved in maintaining a healthy, normal tear film.

The outermost layers of the cornea are densely populated with corneal nerves which signal the brain to activate tear glands. Corneal nerves are severed when the LASIK flap is made. More nerves are destroyed when the laser removes corneal tissue under the flap. Damage to corneal nerves during surgery is most likely responsible for dry eyes after LASIK. Nerve damage results in loss of sensation, so patients with dry eyes after LASIK may not experience pain or burning for weeks or months until sensation returns. Medical studies demonstrate slow, incomplete and sometimes aberrant recovery of corneal nerves after LASIK. (3)

In addition to reduced tear production, patients with dry eyes after LASIK are frequently diagnosed with meibomian gland dysfunction. The meibomian glands found in the eyelids produce the oily component of the tear film. Disruption of flow of these oily secretions results in rapid evaporation of tears. Other factors responsible for post-LASIK dry eyes may include conjunctival goblet cell damage from the suction ring used during LASIK, reduced blink-rate, and decreased tear-clearance.

LASIK-induced dry eyes is treated with a variety of therapies including artificial tears, occlusion of the tear ducts to reduce drainage of tears, prescription eye drops to reduce inflammation and increase tear production, use of moisture chamber goggles, and warm compresses to increase oily secretions. These therapies provide only marginally effective symptomatic relief from LASIK-induced dry eye. There is no cure for post-LASIK dry eye.

Dry Eye pain has been compared to moderate to severe angina in terms of the amount of pain experienced. Read more


FDA Submitted reports related to dry eye


Many of these reports show a pattern of depression, shock, PTSD and serious physical as well as emotional harm as a direct result of the LASIK procedure.

  • Severe Dry Eye After Lasik Surgery. Must Use Eye Drops Each Morning To Be Able To Open The Eyes Every Day Since Surgery. Often Use Saline Drops During The Day As Well. On (B)(6) 2004 Ophthalmologist Diagnosed Severe Dry Eye Caused By Lasik Surgery At Lasik F/U Exam. Was Not A Preexisting Condition. Prescribed Daily Lubricating Drops And Nutritional Supplement. Was Reconfirmed At Each F/U Eye Exam Occurring Each Month Following The Lasik Procedure. (B)(6) 2004 – Again Diagnosed And Offered Treatment With Prescription “Restasis” (B)(6) 2013, By New Ophthalmologist.

    Reported: 24-Jan-13

  • After Receiving Lasik Eye Surgery From Dr (B)(6) In 2000 I Have Suffered From Dry Eye, Halo Effects Around Lights, And Poor Vision In Darkness. Furthermore, My Vision Has Gradually Deteriorated Since Receiving This Surgery, Despite Initial Improvemen

    Reported: 24-Jan-13

  • I Had Bilateral Lasik For Myopia And Astigmatism, With Surgery Performed By One Of The Leading Ophthalmologic Surgeons In The Nation. I Was Left With Residual Refractive Error And Astigmatism That Has Required Continued Use Of Eyeglasses. Far Worse, The Surgery Created A Severe Dry Eye Condition That Made Most Activities Of Daily Life Difficult And Painful And That Kept My Corneal Epithelium In A Damaged State One Doctor Described As “Tenuous.” The Only Solution That Brought Substantial Relief Was Cautery Of All Four Puncta. But Because Of Repeated Efforts With Partial Cautery, And Because My Fully Cauterized Puncta Kept Spontaneously Opening, I Eventually Had To Have All Four Puncta Permanently Closed With Administration Of Cautery-Suture-Cautery. All Told, I Had Twenty-Eight Cauterization Procedures. This Ordeal Created Eighteen Months Of Chronic Intense Pain That Triggered A Severe And Dangerous Depression. Event Today, More Than Six Years Later, My Eyes Are Still Sometimes Painfully Dry, And Their Capacity To Heal After Even Minor Injury Is Substantially Impaired. Mfr Name, City And State: It DoesnT Matter. All Lasik Surgeries Damage Corneas. You Know That.

    Reported: 24-Aug-12

  • I Had Lasik Performed On My Eyes On (B)(6) 2012. I Have Had Painful Dry, Burning Eyes Since That Date. I Want There To Be Awareness Of This Serious Potential Outcome. In Addition To Living In Pain Everyday, I Now Suffer From Severe Depression And Anxiety. (B)(6).

    Reported: 30-Jul-12

  • I Had Lasik Surgery Completed On (B)(6) 2012, With The Intralase Procedure. I Went To (B)(6) In (B)(6). I Had My Initial Screening Completed By This Office. I Was There For About 1 Hour With Various Tests, But DonT Know What Testing Was Done On Me. However, I Do Know That No Eye Dry Testing Was Done, Now That I Know What This Encompasses. I Wore Contacts Comfortably For 20 Years Without Any Issues. I Met With Dr. (B)(6) For About 5 To 10 Minutes And Was Told I Was A Good Candidate. He Never Once, Nor Did His Staff, Tell Me About The Risks And Side Effects Of Lasik Surgery. Since Then, I Have Gone To 3 Different Ophthalmologists, As I Have Been In Pain; Discomfort To A Point That Put Me Into Major Depressions And Suffered From Ptsd. I Have A Counselor And Psychiatrist To Get Me Through This. At One Point, I DidnT Want To Live Anymore. The Surgery Center Wiped Their Hands Clean Of The Procedure And Had Me Go To An Optometrist For All Of My Post-Operative Care. The Surgery Center Has Not Been Compassionate Or Seems To Care How This Has Affected My Life. From My Other Third Party Ophthalmologists Visits, It Seems I Had A Pre-Existing Condition. This Should Have Been Discovered Prior To Surgery. I Have Written A Letter To The Surgeon Explaining To Him What I Was Going Through – No Response. I Requested My Medical Records And Was Told By The Scheduling Coordinator/Office Manager She Needed To Check With Doctor First. I Am Now Waiting Two Weeks And Still Have Not Received Them.

    Reported: 30-Jul-12

  • Received Lasik Eye Surgery. Since The Surgery, My Vision Is Cloudy All Day, Every Day Because Of Chronic Dry Eye. It Affects My Focus 24 Hrs/Day. I Continuously Use Eye Drops, Prescribed By The Doctor, But They HavenT Added Any Benefit, Or Changed My Vision So I Can Focus. The Cloudiness Remains 100 Percent Of The Time. It Affects My Driving Because I CanT Focus Very Well On Objects. It Affects My Night Vision And Am Unable To Drive At Night Because The Lights Are Expanded So I CanT Tell The Exact Position Of Other Cars Or Objects. The Eye Doctor Advised Me, That It Would Correct Itself After 6 Months From The Surgery, But Now After 3 Years, Nothing Has Changed And My Vision Is Not Getting Better. In 2009 Received Lasik Eye Surgery. After The Eye Surgery I Now Have Chronic Dry Eye Syndrome. (B)(6).

    Reported: 24-Jul-12

  • I Had Lasik Eye Surgery In (B)(6), With Dr. (B)(6), In (B)(6) 2011. Lasik Did Not Make My Vision Perfect, But It Was Acceptable Residual Uncorrected Astigmatism Still Present In Left Eye; The Dry Eye Effect Has Now Subsided For The Most Part. Approx. 15 Months After Lasik, In (B)(6) 2012, The Vision In The Right Eye Has Become Progressively And Rapidly Worse: Cloudiness Now It?S Like Looking Through A Thick Polyethylene Layer And Scatter Render My Right Eye Severely Impaired. During A Checkup With The Doctor In (B)(6) 2012, Cataracts Were Found In Both Eyes, Especially Visible In The Right Eye. Overall, My Vision Is A Lot Worse Than Prior To Lasik (Uncorrected Astigmatism In Left Eye). Significant Cataract In Right Eye, Severe Overall Vision Impairment, Affecting Both Work And Off-Work Activities, And I Now Face New Surgeries, For Cataract Removal, With Potential And Very Real Complications. I Do Not Have Any Family History Of Cataracts, I Am Not Using Any Medications, I Do Not Smoke, I Am Not Subjected To Any Over-Exposure Of Uv Radiation At Work Or Otherwise, I Am Not Diabetic And Have Good General Health And Lead An Active Healthy Lifestyle. I Am (B)(6). Reason For Use: Correct Myopic Near Sightedness.

    Reported: 14-Jun-12

  • I Have Chronic Aqueous Deficient Dry Eye Aka Neurotrophic Keratopathy Or Refractory Dry Eye. My Eyes Do Not Tear When They Are Dry Or Come Into Contact With Irritants And Allergens. This Is An Extremely Painful And Degenerative Condition Though I DonT Think I Will Be Around To See Exactly How Bad It Gets Because I Intend To End My Life Soon. My Doctor Claims That It Is Not Possible For This To Be A Result Of Lasik. However, When Pressed He Said That Up To 40% Of Lasik Patients Have Some Degree Of Residual Dry Eye. He Is Full Of Contradictions. It Depends What YouRe Asking Him And In What Context. The Answer Changes Regularly. It Took Me 6 Years To Find A Doctor That Finally Told Me That This Condition Is In Fact Due To Lasik Surgery. This Is Due To A Concerted Effort By Ophthalmologists To Cover Up For Each Other. Even Though They Knew Better They Sent Me On A 6 Year Quest To Find Out What I Should Have Been Told Before The Surgery. Lasik Causes Extreme Dry Eyes In Many People, Especially People Like Me With High Risk Factors.

    Reported: 06-Jun-12

  • Lasik Caused Me Chronic Dry Eye. Disability From Promising Career In Software Engineering Seems Imminent. I CanT Believe This Surgery Was Approved After Reading All The Info On It. I Was Not Even Informed The Flap Does Not Heal Completely By The Surgeon. Or That The Risk For Dry Eye Was Significantly More Than 5%. I Was Told The Chances Of Problems Were Extremely Rare And The Surgery Has Been Successful For Almost 20 Years. The Flap Never Heals, The Nerves Never Fix Themselves, The Dry Eye Is Permanent. I Have Ruined The Rest Of My Life At (B)(6). I Get To Live Through A Living Hell For The Rest Of My Life Due To Dry Eyes. Thanks Fda For Being Out There For Your Profits And Not The Well Being Of The Citizens You Are Supposed To Protect.

    Reported: 23-Feb-12

  • Multiple Issues After Lasik. Had Lasik In 2010. One Year Later, Developed Floaters In Both Eyes. Since The Surgery I Have Had Terrible Dry Eyes. All The Doctors I Have Seen Say Floaters Are Normal And Dry Eyes Will Get Better. No Such Luck. I Hope Someone Can Figure Out How To Help Us All That Have Had Less Than Perfect Outcomes From This Procedure.

    Reported: 04-Feb-12

  • I Had Lasik Performed On Both Eyes In 2005 At The (B)(6). I Was Handed My Informed Consent Form With The Words “Read This, But DonT Let It Scare You, This Stuff Never Happens.” Immediately Following My Surgery, I Began Having Pain In Both Eyes Due To Severe Dry Eye. I Complained To Eye Doctors, But Was Never Given A Reason For The Dryness. I Have Tried Most Conventional Dry Eye Treatments, And Spent (B)(6) In The Process Trying To Get Relief From Dry Eye Pain And Discomfort. My Dry Eye Symptoms Have Impacted All Aspects Of My Life And Affect Me Every Waking Hour. I Never Had A Problem With Dry Eyes Prior To My Lasik Outcome. A 15 Minute Procedure That Was Supposed To Make My Life Easier, Has Now Greatly Decreased My Quality Of Life And Has Complicated It More Than I Ever Could Have Imagined. I Will Face A Lifetime Of Eye Pain And Problems Due To My Lasik Outcome.

    Reported: 13-Jan-12

  • I Had Lasik Surgeon And I Am Suffering Daily With Pain And “Stigging” Of The Eyes. I Do Not Feel My Surgeon Fully Informed Me That More People Suffer With Dry Eye Disease From This Lasik Surgery. This Is A Living Nightmare. I Have To Put Drops In My Eyes All Day Long And Night Time Too. Please Get This Banned So No One Else Has To Suffer This Nightmare.

    Reported: 10-Jan-12

  • I Had Lasik Surgery A Year Ago That Has Given Me Severe Dry Eyes. I Have To Use Eye Drops Every 15 Minutes And My Eyes Still Hurt Every Day And They Get Worse Throughout The Day. By Evening, I Can Barely Keep My Eyes Open. I Even Have To Use Drops Throughout The Night When I Sleep. A Lift That Was Normal With Glasses Is Now Horrible Without Glasses. ItS Not Good That These Drs Are Not Checking Tear Production Before Surgery But Dry Eye Is The Number One Complaint After Surgery. The Drs Make You Feel So Comfortable With The Procedure Saying You Will Be Fine That Side Effect Are Very Rare. Now After The Surgery, My Eyes Are Terrible Dry, My Dr Decides To Do A Tear Test And Says Here Are Some Eye Drops, There Is No Cure For Dry Eye. I Can Say This Has Been The Worst Decision Of My Life And My Family Has To Suffer With Me. IM Very Young (B)(6) And Have To Live With This The Rest Of My Life. Something Needs To Be Done About This. Drs ShouldnT Be Able To Butcher Peoples Eyes At Such Ease. They Should Have To Be Able To Do Tear Production Test Before The Procedure. Now That I Know What Dry Eye Is, I Can Remember Times Before The Procedure Where I Had Some Mild Dry Eye. I Know If The Dr Had Checked For It She Would Have Seen It. I CanT Say It Enough: Something Needs To Be Done. On Top Of All That Research For Dry Eye Relief Is Moving At A SnailS Pace. We Really Need To Step It Up. Thousands Of Dry Eye Patients Out Here Need Help, Relief And Comfort. Bilateral Custom Wave Front Lasik (B)(6) 2010. (B)(6).

    Reported: 15-Oct-11

  • Had Custom Intralase Lasik Performed On Both Eyes In May. Since Have Had Severe Dry Eye, Halos, Floaters, Starbursts, And Light Sensitivity. I Wore Contacts For Years And My Eyes Never Bothered Me Before. Now I Am In Constant Pain. I Have Never Had Depression Before And Since Lasik Have Fallen Into A Deep Depression. My Physician Downplayed The Side Effects Saying They Were Uncommon, Occuring Less Than 1% Of The Time, With The Newer Lasers And If I Had Custom Lasik, The Change Of Side Effects Would Be Even Less.

    Reported: 02-Sep-10

  • I Had Lasik Performed In (B)(6) 2010. After 4 Months, I Developed Severe Eye Dryness As Well As Increased Severe Sensitivity To Light. I Have Tried Taking Omega 3 As Well As Many Types Of Eye Drops And Now At 6 Months After Lasik I Do Not Have Any Improvement. It Is Affecting My Work And Quality Of Life. Night-Time Vision Has Not Improved And I See Halos And Starbursts And As A Result I DonT Like To Go Out At Night Any More. Other Problems Resulting From The Surgery Include: Loss Of Vision In Dim Settings, Loss Of Near Vision, Frequent Headaches, Difficulty Seeing Under Fluorescent Lights, Night-Time Loss Of Vision, Daily Discomfort And Pain, Dry Eye Stinging And Burning. Risks Were Not Adequately Explained And I Would Never Have Gone Through This Had I Known All The Risks.

    Reported: 23-Jul-10

  • A Pt Report Was Received From FdaS Medwatch Program Reporting The Following: Had Intralase Custom Lasik Complications. Chronic Dry Eyes, Eye Pain, Eye Ulcer And Severe Depression Due To Symptoms And I Am Considered A Success By My Eye Surgeon Because I Can Read The 20/30 Vision Line On The Vision Chart. I CanT Believe Lasik Was Ever Approved By The Fda. Please Prevent Other People From Going Through This Hell And Stop Lasik Now. I Go Back Now And Talk To People Who Told Me They Loved Their Lasik And Ask Them If They Were Aware The Flap Never Heals And Possible Complications From Their Thinner Cornea And None Were Aware The Possible Long-Term Effects. Eventually, This Country Will Find Out Which The Lasik Pt Population Starts To Age And Millions Of People Start To Suffer From Long-Term Effects. ItS A Little To Late To Say The Fda Was Wrong 10 Years From Now When There Is Evidence Now Of The Severe Complications.

    Reported: 12-Jul-10

  • Lasik Procedure. After 11 Months. I Have Dry Eye, Halos, Starburts, Pain. I Cannot Work Because Of This. I Have Been To 7 Doctors All Have Different Answers And Nothing Has Worked. I Am Upset With The Way Lasik Is Put Forth. My Doctor Made It Sound Like This Stuff Will Not Happen To You It Only Happens To 1% Of The People And You Have Healthy Eyes, So You Have Nothing To Worry About. I Told Him Over And Over, I Am On A Computer All Day I Cannot Have Dry Eye And He Told Me It Would Be Short Term. (B) (6)

    Reported: 28-Jan-10

  • I Had Lasik Surgery And It Pretty Much Ruined My Quality Of Life. I Now Suffer From Extremely Painful Dry Eye Syndrome. I Never Even Knew What Dry Eye Syndrome Meant Before My Lasik Surgery. I Thought Complications Were A Very, Very Small Percent And Now I Am Reading That The Dry Eye Complications Are Huge. I Think This Surgery Is A Crime Against Those Of Us Who Think It Is A Miracle, Only To Find Out That Our Lives Are Ruined With Pain Afterwards.

    Reported: 07-Apr-09

  • Lasik Surgery Has Resulted In Glare And Halos In My Vision. Objects In A Landscape Sometimes Appear Flat, Like A Paper Cut Out In A Diorama. I Have Dry Eyes, This Was Never A Problem Prior To Lasik. My Vision Becomes Blurry When My Eyes Are Dry. I Get Headaches From Some Lighting Conditions, Grocery/Department Store Lighting Is Problematic.

    Reported: 13-Mar-09

  • I Had Lasik Surgery – I Am Now Dealing With Significant Dry Eye Which Has Compromised My Ability To Complete Daily Tasks, Including The Ability To Work Productively. The Dry Eye Is, Quite Simply A Disability For Me. I Really Struggle In Office Environments With Florescent Lighting. While Lasikplus – The Company Who Did The Surgery Is Still Providing Care To Me, The Consent Process Was, In My Opinion, Glossed Over – Involves The Reading Of A Pamphlet Only And A Required Signature-.

    Reported: 05-Jan-09

  • I Had Surgery In Lasik Center In 2008, I Was Farsightedness Using 1.50 Glasses I Went To Have A Consultation To See If I Was A Candidate For Surgery, They Said I Was The Perfect Candidate And That It Will Be Done In Less Than 10 Minutes. The Day Of The Surgery, A Lady Doctor Who Was Going To Perform The Surgery Told Us That We May Need Reading Glasses After The Surgery, She Never Told Us That I WonT Be Able To See Up To 8 Feet Or That I Will Have This Problems That I Am Writing Below. Discomfort Of Pain, Blurry Vision, Dryness, Glare, Halos, Starbursts Around Light, Itching, Scratchiness, Light Sensitivity, I Can Hardly See My Face Now, I Cannot Perform My Job, I Have Been Buying Almost 30 Pairs Of Glasses Trying To Fit One To My Needs And My Life, It Is Not The Same Any More. I Am Very Depressed, Grieving, Desperate, They Have Ruined My Eyes And My Life, And The Life Of My Family. Please Help Me. I DonT Know What To Do Now. I Feel Blind, I Can Do Nothing.

    Reported: 22-Oct-08

  • Lasik 2007. Severe Dry Eye Since, Burning, Unremitting Pain, 4 Tear Ducts Plugged, Blood Serum Drops, Artificial Tears, Restasis, Depression, Post Traumatic Stress, On Work Disability Since 2008. This Experience Has Been Beyond Traumatic. They Should Ban This Procedure If Beforehand, There Is No Way To Determine If You Will Get This. I Had No Previous History Of Dry Eye Or Any Underlying Conditions.

    Reported: 08-Jul-08

  • I Had Lasik Surgery And Since Then I Have Not Been Able To Work For More Than A Half A Day. I See Double At Times. My Vision Goes Blurry And Then I CanT See Up Close Or Anything In The Distance. I Can No Longer Drive At Night Because Of The Halo Effect. In Low Light Areas, I Strain My Eyes So Hard That I Have Pain. I Had Mono Lasik And It Has Completely Screwed My Life Up. My Doctors Office Which Is The Lasik Vision Institute Keeps Telling Me That I Have Extremely Dry Eyes And That It Will Clear Up, But I Have Had No Improvement And It Seems To Be Getting Worse. This Could Ruin My Career And My Life. When They Tested My Eyes Before The Surgery And Found Out How Dry My Eyes Were, They Should Have Turned Me Away, Or At Least Informed Me Of The Serious Problems That Were Occurring Because Of Dry Eye Syndrome. I Am Paying For Surgery That Has Ruined My Life. I DonT Know How The Fda Can Continue To Let These Doctors Perform This Surgical Procedure That Ruins Peoples Lives. I Am Devastated Over This And DonT Know What I Am Going To Do.

    Reported: 21-Jun-08

  • I Had Lasik From A Dr About 6 Years Ago. It Ruined My Vision, And Gave Me Permanent Eye Pain And Dryness. I Now See Severe Halos, Ghosts, Multiple Images, Streaks, Starbursts, And My Vision Fluctuates Terribly. My Contrast Sensitivity And Depth Perception Are Ruined. It Affects My Work, My Hobbies, Every Aspect Of My Life Is Pain And Difficulty. I Wake Up In The Middle Of The Night From The Painful Dry Eye. I Never Knew Depression Until Lasik. ItS Hard For Me To Believe This Horrific Lasik Procedure Is Fda Approved. These Problems Are Permanent And CanT Be Fixed. IVe Been To Many Doctors And None Of Them Can Do Anything. Dr Lied To Me About The Quality Of Vision, Dryness, Side Effects, Risks, And Remedies If Something Went Wrong. He Told Me That Night Vision Problems Were Due To Older Technology And They Had Been Fixed. He Told Me Lasik CanT Cause Permanent Dryness. He Told Me This Would Be Better Vision For Tennis. He Reported That I Was “Off To A Great Start” To A Referring Doctor At A Time When I Was Already Experiencing These Terrible And Permanent Problems. I Was Retreated With Ladarvision Several Months Later. The Ladarvision DidnT Fix Anything.

    Reported: 21-May-08

  • “I didn’t know his eyes were burning to the extent because of Lasik eye surgery or his ears were ringing.” Therapist, Dr. Joel Rooney says that combination, for a man, at that age can be lethal… Now his family has his memories, and his writings, which have given them insight into his suffering. “He said it was like a cancer, like a terminal illness that you just couldn’t get through and the pain was too much to overcome it he couldn’t live that way anymore,” says his brother.

    LASIK patient with burning dry eyes commits suicide: Robert Pedretti


This photo shows the same eye (as the previous photo) 2 seconds later (without blinking), which demonstrates how quickly the tear film deteriorates on the eye.

One of the biggest lies told by Lasik industry is that dry eye disease is an infrequent, minor, and temporary complication of Lasik eye surgery.

Joe Tye – Lasik Dry Eye Disease


    1. Sugar A, Rapuano CJ, Culbertson WW, Huang D, Varley GA, Agapitos PJ, de Luise VP, Koch DD. Laser in situ keratomileusis for myopia and astigmatism: safety and efficacy: a report by the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Ophthalmology. 2002 Jan;109(1):175-87.
    1. Bailey MD, Zadnik K.Outcomes of LASIK for myopia with FDA- approved lasers. Cornea. 2007 Apr;26(3):246-54.
    1. Erie JC, McLaren JW, Hodge DO, Bourne WM. Recovery of corneal subbasal nerve density after PRK and LASIK. Am J Ophthalmol. 2005 Dec;140(6):1059-1064.
Special thanks to Dr Edward Boshick for the supplied media. Eye Freedom