Possible LASIK Complications

Like any medical procedure, refractive surgery has some inherent risks. For example, approximately 1-2% of patients do not see as well with glasses after LASIK as they did before the procedure with glasses. This undesired outcome is called "loss of best spectacle-corrected visual acuity" (BSCVA) and is usually caused by unusual healing after an uneventful surgery.

Please remember that you may still experience some troublesome side effects after LASIK eye surgery even if your visual acuity is 20/20 or better.

LASIK complications (or other refractive surgery procedure, such as PRK, epi-LASIK, or LASEK) occur infrequently, and most can be successfully managed by your eye doctor.

Epithelial ingrowth is just one of several possible LASIK complications. This is when cells from the surface layer of the cornea (the epithelium) start growing under the corneal flap after it has been replaced over the laser-treated area. Epithelial ingrowth may not become apparent until several weeks after surgery. (This is one reason postoperative visits with your eye doctor are important.)

If epithelial cells grow under the corneal flap, they can turn opaque and interfere with light entering the eye, distorting vision. Should this happen, your LASIK surgeon can eliminate the problem by surgically lifting the flap and removing the wayward epithelial cells, which usually restores clear vision. (Sometimes, a bandage contact lens may be applied for a few days to help the flap seal better and decrease the risk of a recurrence of epithelial ingrowth.)

(Epithelial ingrowth is not a potential complication of PRK, epi-LASIK, or LASEK because no LASIK-style flaps are created in these procedures.)

You can minimize your risk of complications after refractive surgery by carefully selecting your refractive surgeon and the optometrist or ophthalmologist who will perform your pre- and postoperative care. Likewise, it's very important to follow your doctors’ instructions and not miss any scheduled postoperative visits.