Why Does It Matter If I Have Thin Corneas?
If you are interested in LASIK, one important factor is corneal thickness. Corneal thickness is a genetic trait. Normal corneal thickness is about 550 microns.
To put that into perspective, a single millimeter is equal to 1000 microns. That means even a normal cornea is thin. This is why precision lasers and computer technology has become so important!
If your corneas are thinner than this, undergoing LASIK becomes dangerous. In fact, you could even end up with vision loss or other serious complications. To understand these potential complications, you first have to understand how LASIK works. Keep reading to learn more!
LASIK surgery is fast, painless, and straightforward. During LASIK, corneal reshaping occurs.
When reshaped, the cornea can bend light properly. An irregularly shaped cornea results in refractive errors like astigmatism, nearsightedness, and farsightedness.
During the procedure, you’ll receive numbing eye drops. These drops ensure you won’t feel any pain during LASIK!
First, a femtosecond laser creates a flap in the top layer of the cornea. This flap is then lifted up to reveal the middle layer of the cornea.
A second laser, an excimer laser, reshapes the corneal tissue in the middle layer of the cornea. The middle layer of the cornea is much thicker and more resilient, making it easier to reshape.
For the best results possible, both lasers are actually assisted with wavefront software. This reduces almost any chance of a human error occurring.
After the corneal reshaping, the flap is finally placed back down. You don’t need any stitches since the flap reattaches itself over time.
People who have thin corneas do not have enough tissue to spare for this surgery. As a result, there are often severe complications when the flap starts recovering.
This is part of why patients with thin corneas should not undergo LASIK. If you find out that you aren’t a good LASIK candidate, there are other options!
Although LASIK is a popular procedure, it is not the only laser vision correction option.
There is more than one way to circumvent the problem of thin corneas. The most common surgical alternative is PRK, which is short for photorefractive keratectomy.
This surgery follows the general outline of LASIK with one key difference. A part of the top layer of the cornea is completely removed rather than cut into a flap.
The elimination of the flap prevents the risk of complications. This is better for patients with thinner corneas, though there is a longer recovery.
Rather than reattach the flap, your body will need to grow that tissue back. You may also be more susceptible to infection during recovery. Make sure to find out about other vision correction alternatives if you’re concerned.
If you are not a good PRK candidate, your eye doctor will discuss other alternatives. When it comes to vision correction, there are plenty of options!
Wondering if you could be a good LASIK candidate? Schedule a LASIK consultation at Atlantic Laser Center in Little Silver, NJ today!