Dry eye symptoms after conventional cataract surgery are a very common problem. Until now, only few data are available on objective tear film parameters in regard to femtosecond laser-assisted cataract surgery (LCS). Aim of this study was therefore to analyze and compare tear film parameter changes between LCS and conventional cataract surgery.
A consecutive group of 34 patients, scheduled for cataract surgery, were randomly selected for either LCS or conventional cataract surgery (17 patients/group). Tear film assessments including tear film osmolarity, Schirmer test, MMP-9 analysis via quantitative ELISA, corneal sensitivity, corneal fluorescein staining, and conjunctival fluorescein staining were sequentially evaluated pre- as well as 1 and 3 months postoperatively.
Both groups showed no significant difference in baseline characteristics. All surgeries were performed without any complications. After 1 and 3 months, there was no statistically significant difference in regard to tear film osmolarity (1 month: p = 0.81, 3 months: p = 1.0), Schirmer test (1 month: p = 0.35, 3 month: p = 0.08), and MMP-9 concentration (1 month: p = 0.36, 3 month: p = 0.28) between the two groups.
Neither LCS nor conventional cataract surgery affected objective tear film parameters significantly during our 3-month postoperative observation period. Hence, both surgical techniques can be equally used to treat patients without prior dry eye symptoms.