Understanding Flap Complications and LASIK Surgery Risks

LASIK and Flap Complications - Hudson Valley, NY


Dec 8, 2015 @ 01:54 PM — by Richard Gordon
Tagged with: Lasik | Flap Complications |

An eye seen in close upPalisades Laser Eye Center is a state-of-the-art eye care center, with a team trained to address serious vision problems. Serving the Hudson Valley, we offer safe, effective, and advanced LASIK surgery to improve vision.

While LASIK is very effective, there are potential risks to the procedure that have to be considered. With that in mind, let's look at the nature of flap complications.

What Is a Flap Complication?

To understand flap complications, let's first consider what causes a flap complication to occur.

During LASIK surgery, a surgeon makes a small flap on the topmost layer of the cornea. It is through this flap that a LASIK surgeon is able to reshape the cornea and improve the passage of light through the eye. The flap is set back down to heal after the LASIK procedure has been performed.

A flap complication occurs when the corneal flap is set back down but does not heal properly. This can lead to vision problems as well as host of serious eye health issues.

Types of Flap Complications

Potential flap complications include the following:

  • Epithelial Ingrowth – Epithelial ingrowth occurs when cells from the outer layer of the cornea wind up growing inward.

  • Irregular Astigmatism – If the flap is set down and results in an uneven curvature, this can lead to irregular astigmatism, which manifests itself most commonly as double vision.

  • Diffuse Lamellar Keratitis (DLK) – This is an uncomfortable inflammation of the cornea that can result in vision loss if left untreated.

  • Keratoconus – If the cornea is weakened by the creation of a flap, it can lead to keratoconus, a bulging outward of the eyeball. This makes the shape more oblong than round.

How Common Are Flap Complications?

Flap complications are thankfully quite rare. That said, it's important that LASIK patients be aware of the possibility of flap complications so they have realistic expectations about the treatments process and what it may entail.

Treating Flap Complications

Flap complications are most commonly treated through revision LASIK procedures, additional surgery, the use of antibiotics, or a combination of these. A patient's needs will vary based on the nature of the flap complication and other factors, so it's best to discuss these matters with your LASIK surgeon during a follow-up visit of some kind.

Preventing Flap Complications

There are three primary ways that flap complications can be prevented.

From the side of a LASIK surgeon, the one way that flap complications are avoided is to use the most advanced technology and techniques. These refinements in process mean a much safer form of laser eye surgery than previously available and reduced chances of all sorts of complications.

On the patient side of the equation, there are two important things. For one, patients should follow all of their pre-operative instructions very closely. This ensures ideal conditions in which to heal. In addition, patients should follow their post-op instructions to the letter so that they heal properly and avoid any kinds of problems in those crucial early days and weeks following LASIK surgery.

Speak with the Team at Palisades Laser Eye Center

For more information about LASIK surgery and how our team can help you have the best vision possible, we encourage you to contact our advanced eye care center today. The entire team at Palisades Laser Eye Center is eager to meet you in person and go over all of your eye care needs in greater detail.