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Possible LASIK Risks: Corneal Flap Complications

By David Gross on June 01, 2014


A blue-eyed woman looking upwardAs a patient, you should have all of the information about a procedure at your disposal before you commit to undergoing that procedure. You have a right and obligation to understand not only the benefits of a procedure but its risks as well. All medical procedures have risks, even if they are relatively minor, and even state-of-the-art, high-quality LASIK is no exception.

At Deen-Gross Eye Centers in Merrillville, LASIK flap complications are among the risks that we explain in detail to prospective LASIK patients. We believe in honest, open patient education, which is why we give our patients balanced, factual overviews of LASIK. For most qualified candidates, the risks associated with LASIK are eclipsed by the very real possibility that they will achieve outstanding vision without the need for glasses or contact lenses. For others, the risk of post-surgical complications is enough to convince them that laser eye surgery is not right in their cases. We will support you in whatever decision you ultimately make regarding the procedure, because we know that it will be an informed one.

What are flap complications and why do they occur?

During LASIK, an excimer laser is used to reshape the middle, or stromal, section of the cornea in order to improve the focusing power of the eye. The stromal tissue is covered and protected by a thin layer of cells called the epithelium. In order to access the stroma, an eye surgeon must create a hinged flap in the epithelium using a precision instrument with an oscillating blade on the end called a microkeratome.

Modern microkeratomes are capable of producing corneal flaps with exceptional accuracy. After creating the flap, the eye surgeon simply folds it back, applies the excimer laser to the stroma as needed, and replaces the flap. No sutures are necessary at this point; the flap self-adheres and, in the vast majority of cases, remains in place without further incident.

In rare cases, however, flap complications do occur. Fortunately, these complications are usually temporary and relatively easy to treat. Nevertheless, it is important that patients understand that complications can occur and that, in a small percentage of cases, they can have long-term or even permanent consequences.

The most common flap complications include:

  • Flaps that are too thin
  • Flaps with jagged edges
  • Irregularly shaped flaps
  • Flaps of uneven width
  • Small tears or holes that develop in the center of flaps
  • Flaps that become unhinged
  • Striae (small wrinkles in the flap)
  • Flaps that are not complete

At Deen-Gross Eye Centers, our exceptionally skilled eye surgeons minimize the risk of these complications through the use of advanced technologies and techniques and careful screening processes to determine candidacies. Patients can also help to minimize the risk of complications by following all pre- and post-operative instructions given to them by their eye surgeons to the absolute letter.

Learn More about LASIK Risks and Benefits

If you would like to learn more about the risks and benefits associated with LASIK, or you want to schedule your initial LASIK consultation, please contact our laser eye surgery center today.

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