Flap complications related to LASIK surgery are uncommon, with only 2% of patients experiencing complications such as incomplete flap, irregular flap, torn flap, or excessively thin flap. The side effects and treatment of flap complications are based on the severity and type. Most flap complications can be fixed and do not result in any loss of vision. According to Dr.William Boothe of Boothe Eye Care, the majority of flap complications can be corrected using eye drops, medications, or additional LASIK surgery.
LASIK flap complications are becoming increasingly less common due to improved screening processes, the introduction of Wavefront technology, and new LASIK procedures. If you are interested in correcting your vision through LASIK, you should discuss potential complications of LASIK with Dr. Boothe. The success of LASIK surgery depends heavily on the skill of the surgeon, but it also depends on the patient. The patient must strictly adhere to instructions given by the doctor after the LASIK eye procedure. During the recovery period, following all of the guidelines provided by Dr. Boothe will help prevent flap complications.
During LASIK surgery at Boothe Eye Care, the corneal flap is created by cutting the epithelial layer of the cornea. The newly created flap is then folded back to give access to the corneal tissue deep inside. After correcting the refractive error, the corneal flap is returned to its original position and allowed to heal on its own. In order to allow the corneal flaps to heal effectively and safely, special eye care and protection is required during the recovery period.
Epithelial ingrowths are a kind of flap complication in which scarring occurs when the lining of the eye goes beneath the flap. This complication may cause distorted vision; however, if there is no visual distortion, you will not need to undergo corrective treatment. If visual distortion needs to be corrected, then Dr. Boothe will lift the flap and scrape away the epithelial cells in a separate procedure. Diffuse Lamellar Keratitis is an inflammation of the cornea that can be treated by using topical steroids or anti-inflammatory drugs. If the inflammation becomes severe, then surgery may be required to remove the inflamed cells to prevent serious vision damage.
Ectasia is a condition in which the corneal tissue becomes too thin, and thus weak. A weak and thin cornea will result in distorted vision and bulging corneal tissue. Ectasia is difficult to correct with additional LASIK surgery, but it can be corrected using contact lenses. Extreme cases of ectasia may require a corneal transplant. Occasionally, the flap may detach from its hinge, resulting in a free flap. Normally, a free flap can be replaced safely and effectively through a surgical procedure. If the free flap is lost or damage, the cornea will repair itself with new cells during the recovery period.
The formation of wrinkles in the corneal flap is known as striae, which occurs most often in association with the correction of myopia. Striae can occur in hyperopic correction and also due to stress or trauma. Severe striae can result in reduced vision and ghosting. Striae can be corrected by repositioning the flap. A torn or irregular flap may lead to the development of a hole, resulting in a condition known as buttonhole flap. Buttonhole flap can also be caused during surgery by a poorly fitted or worn microkeratome. If this happens, the surgeon must stop the surgery immediately to avoid further damage. The surgeon will allow the flap to heal before performing surgery again.