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The Risk of Flap Complications after LASIK

By Andrew Holzman on January 20, 2014

The Risk of Flap Complications after LASIKIf you want to achieve excellent vision, one of the best options out there to consider is LASIK surgery. By undergoing LASIK, you can effectively eliminate your need for corrective lenses, seeing clearly and crisply without glasses or contact lenses. Though LASIK has continued to improve in terms of quality and safety over the years, there are potential complications of which patients should be aware.

Right now, our team would like to take a moment to consider complications related to the corneal flap and what these may mean to you.

About LASIK Surgery

In basic terms, LASIK surgery is a laser procedure in which the cornea (the clear, frontal portion of the eyes) is reshaped so that light passes through it properly en route to the retinas. LASIK surgery and similar alternative refractive surgeries are ideal for addressing myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism.

About the LASIK Procedure

During the LASIK procedure, it's essential that the surgeon create a small flap in the topmost part of the cornea (the epithelium). This flap will allow the corneal reshaping to be performed.

What is a flap complication?

A flap complication refers to various issues related to the corneal flap that is created during LASIK surgery. These kinds of complications tend to be very  uncommon after LASIK, and they can be avoided if a patient follows all of their surgeon's pre-operative and post-operative instructions to the letter.  By utilizing the Intralase laser to perform all-laser LASIK as Dr Holzman does, the risk of a flap complication is reduced greatly.

Types of Flap Complications

When a corneal flap heals improperly, it can lead to poor corneal shape or ripples along the flap. This is very unlikely when techniques employing the Intralase laser are used.  If a patient were to bang their eye post op or push too hard in the first day or so, rippling can occur.   If this rare event occurs, Dr Holzman is able to remedy this and repair the flap back to its normal position and shape.  Problems with corneal shape will affect the patient's overall vision. Some vision issues associated with a cornea flap complication include:

  • Keratoconus - This refers to the outward bulging of the eye when too much corneal tissue is removed.
  • Diffuse Lamellar Keratitis (DLK) - This refers to inflammation occurring just under the corneal flap.
  • Epithelial Ingrowth - This refers to cells from the other portion of the cornea growing into the inner portion of the cornea.
  • Irregular Astigmatism - This refers to vision issues such as double vision caused by an irregularly shaped cornea.

Addressing Flap Complications After LASIK

When it comes to treating flap complications after LASIK, there are various revision methods and procedures that can be performed as needed. The proper corrective surgery will depend on the exact nature of your flap complication and can be discussed with your LASIK surgeon during a follow-up visit.

Other Concerns Regarding LASIK Surgery

In addition to flap complications, there are other potential issues with LASIK that patients should consider before they undergo surgery, including the potential for dry eyes, issues with LASIK cost and payment, and the potential for under-response or over-response.   We recommend that you work with a very reputable surgeon such as Dr Holzman to minimize your risks of these issues.

By understanding the risks as well as the benefits of LASIK surgery, patients will have more realistic expectations about the treatment process and better satisfaction with the surgery overall.

Learn More About LASIK Surgery

For more information about LASIK surgery and how we can help you achieve the best possible vision, be sure to contact our LASIK surgery centers in Washington DC, Maryland, and Virginia today. Our entire team of eye care specialists is here to help you achieve good vision and healthy eyes.

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