Purpose: It is well reported that dry eye symptoms can increase after many refractive surgery procedures. This study aims to provide a clinical understanding of the correlation of fluorescein tear film breakup time (FTBUT) with quality of vision (QoV) and dry eye symptoms following small incision lenticule extraction surgery (SMILE). Methods: Patients electing to have SMILE surgery were subdivided into 2 groups: Group 1 included short preoperative FTBUTs of 3 to 6 seconds (s); Group 2 included long FTBUTs of ≥ 8 s. Uncorrected distance visual acuity, corrected distance visual acuity, manifest refraction, FTBUT, QoV and Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI) questionnaires were recorded 1 and 6 months postoperatively. Results: Thirty-nine subjects were included in each group. There was no significant difference in visual outcomes between the 2 groups at both the 1- and 6-month postoperative assessments. FTBUT remained significantly lower in group 1. Oxford staining was initially higher for group 1 at 1 month (P = 0.007), but there was no significant difference at 6 months (P = 0.180). There was no significant difference in QoV or OSDI scores between the 2 groups at both postoperative visits. Conclusions: Low preoperative FTBUT (3–6 s) does not appear to negatively affect postoperative visual outcomes or results in a greater likelihood of dry eye symptoms and poor ocular surface compared to eyes with a longer preoperative FTBUT. These results suggest that a low preoperative FTBUT does not necessarily increase the likelihood of poor visual acuity, dry eyes symptoms, or poor ocular surface outcomes following SMILE surgery.
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- Dry eye
- Fluorescein tear film breakup time (FTBUT)
- Ocular surface disease index (OSDI)
- Quality of vision (QOV)
- Small incision lenticule extraction (SMILE)