LASIK Flap Complications

Despite its excellent record of success and safety, LASIK eye surgery, like all surgical procedures, has some associated risks. Most LASIK side effects are mild and temporary. While serious complications, such as those associated with the LASIK flap, are extremely rare, it’s important that patients be fully aware of all possible risks, no matter how remote, before deciding to undergo the procedure.

What Causes LASIK Flap Complications to Occur?

The creation of a flap in the outermost layer of the cornea is what distinguishes LASIK from other forms of laser refractive surgery such as PRK and LASEK. This means that flap complications are a potential risk of all forms of LASIK. However, these complications are slightly more common when LASIK is performed using a handheld microkeratome surgical tool. While this blade is extremely precise and safe, it is operated by hand; therefore, there is a greater chance of slight imperfections with the resulting corneal flap. In general, these imperfections, jagged edges, uneven depths and other possible issues do not interfere with LASIK results or lead to complications of any sort.

To minimize the risk of flap complications, your surgeon prefers replacing the traditional microkeratome with a more accurate, computer-guided laser. The all-laser approach using the latest laser technology removes the element of even slight human error, resulting in corneal flaps that have perfectly straight edges with strong hinges and uniform depths.

Reducing the Risk of LASIK Flap Complications

Regardless of the technique used to perform LASIK, patients play a significant role in preventing flap complications. After LASIK surgery, it is vitally important that you follow the post-operative instructions provided to you by your surgeon. These instructions may include advice tailored specifically to your case, but should include avoiding:

  • Rubbing your eyes
  • Wearing eye makeup
  • Lotion around your eyes
  • Getting water, especially streaming water, directly in your eyes
  • Contact sports
  • Dust and dirt

You will be given protective eye shields to wear during sleep for the first week after your surgery; this will prevent you from accidentally rubbing your eyes at night. Itchiness and irritation can be soothed with artificial tears. Following all post-operative instructions will help to ensure a safe, comfortable, speedy recovery free from LASIK flap complications.

To learn more about LASIK flap complications and how they can be avoided, contact Harvard Eye Associates today at 949-951-2020 or