LASIK and Flap Complications: What Patients Need to Know

LASIK and Flap Complications - El Paso, TX

Dec 22, 2015 @ 06:33 PM — by Paul S. Gulbas, M.D
Tagged with: Lasik | Complications | Risks |

An eye seen up closeAt El Paso Eye Surgeons, we take eye care and vision correction seriously. This means discussing the risks and benefits of LASIK surgery with our patients so they know what to expect.

With that in mind, we'd like to go over some of the basics when it comes to flap complications. These kinds of complications during LASIK need to be taken seriously since they can affect eyesight and general wellness.

How LASIK Surgery Works

To understand flap complications, it's important to first go over how LASIK surgery is performed.

During LASIK surgery, a small flap is created in the topmost layer of the cornea, a part of the eyes known as the epithelium. When this epithelium is lifted up, a laser is then used to reshape the cornea. By doing this, light passes through the eye properly and focuses on the retina, which is the light-sensitive tissue located at the back of the eye.

LASIK is ideal for treating refractive errors, which you may know better as nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), and astigmatism.

Defining Flap Complications

Flap complications are issues with the corneal flap that occur as a result of the LASIK procedure. This may include issues with the surface of the flap, weakness around the flap during healing, or folds and poor shape of the flap when it is set back down.

Types of Flap Complications

There are different kinds of flap complications that may occur and affect the results of your LASIK surgery. These include the following:

  • Irregular Astigmatism – This flap complication occurs when the flap heals in an uneven or curved manner after it is set down.

  • Epithelial In-Growth – This flap complications occurs when cells on the outside of the epithelium wind up growing inside the epithelium.

  • Diffuse Lamellar Keratitis (DLK) – This is a type of inflammation that occurs just under the corneal flap and has been nicknamed "sands of the Sahara" by some eye care specialist, giving you an idea of the discomfort and how serious it is.

  • Keratoconus/Keratectasia – This flap complication involves the outward bulging of the eye into a slightly conical rather than round shape.

How Common Are Flap Complications

Flap complications are thankfully a relatively rare complication after LASIK surgery, and they are avoidable with proper pre-op, post-op, and surgical care. All care is taken to ensure that a LASIK procedure is performed safely and effectively.

Treating Flap Complications If They Arise

If a flap complication does arise from a LASIK procedure, it can be addressed through various kinds of surgical revisions in most cases. You can learn about LASIK revision procedures during a follow-up consultation with your surgeon.

How to Prevent Flap Complications

The best way for patients to help prevent the occurrence of flap complications and other risks of LASIK surgery is to follow all pre-op and post-op instructions to the letter. This puts patients in the best condition to heal and also the most ideal conditions for speedy and problem-free recovery.

A Focus on Pre-Planning and Proper Post-Op Care

On our end, we place a great emphasis on proper surgical planning and post-op care, using state-of-the-art technology to limit risk and enhance overall results of surgery in the process.

Contact El Paso Eye Surgeons

If you would like to learn more about LASIK and how it can help you have great vision without the aid of glasses or contacts, be sure to contact our team of laser eye care specialists today. The team at El Paso Eye Surgeons will work with you to help ensure you receive safe and effective vision correction treatment.