At the Eye Center of Texas, we want to make sure our LASIK and PRK patients can see clearly and have the healthiest eyes possible. This means carefully screening our patients and doing whatever we can to prevent complications.
While wavefront LASIK allows excellent custom laser eye surgery results, there are some cases in which LASIK is a poor option for vision enhancement. With that in mind, let’s consider why corneal thickness is so important.
What Is LASIK Surgery?
LASIK is a refractive surgery procedure that involves the use of lasers to reshape the cornea, which is the topmost central transparent layer of the eye. By reshaping the cornea, the passage of light through the eye is improved. Light will focus on a single point on the retina, which is the light sensitive tissue located at the backs of the eye.
LASIK is ideal for treating the following refractive errors:
- Nearsightedness (myopia)
- Farsightedness (hyperopia)
How LASIK Is Performed?
During LASIK surgery, a flap is created in the topmost portion of the cornea, which is known as the epithelium. Once the epithelial flap is lifted, a laser can then reshape the rest of the cornea to improve vision quality. The flap is set down after the laser contouring is completed.
Why Corneal Thickness Matters:
Good candidates for LASIK have corneas that are of regular thickness. Corneal thickness matters since it’s important to have sufficient corneal tissue in place to be reshaped. Thin corneas can make it difficult to create an epithelial flap. A lack of corneal tissue can make the surgery risky. The laser will remove a minute amount of corneal tissue, but if there is not enough corneal tissue in place this can result in keratoconus (an outward bulging of the eye) as well as other serious complications.
Can People with Thin Corneas Undergo LASIK?
In general, LASIK is a bad idea for people who have thin corneas or corneas that are irregularly shaped. This is just a common sense approach to laser vision correction that helps prevent serious complications and other issues.
Alternatives to LASIK for People with Thin Corneas:
If you do have thin corneas, there are other laser vision correction options that work on similar principles. This includes PRK. Rather than create a corneal flap, these surgery will involve removal of the epithelium or the shifting of the epithelium to allow for corneal reshaping.
In terms of results, these LASIK alternatives can each enhance vision in a significant way, with results that are comparable to LASIK. Healing times and overall healing experience may be different from LASIK, but patients should noticed improved vision without the need for corrective prescription lenses.
Discussing Your Treatment Options
During the consultation process, we can assess the thickness of your corneas and determine the ideal treatment option for you and your needs. We will work closely with you each step of the way to ensure you undergo optimal treatment for your vision needs. This includes a full discussion of the risks and benefits of laser eye surgery and why one option may be better for you than another.