Your Cornea Decides if LASIK is Right for You

Throughout the past several years, millions of people have undergone the LASIK laser vision correction procedure. This popular procedure is performed about700,000 times a year. Because laser vision correction has a strong history of success, many people who are ready to toss their glasses or contact lenses consider whether they are good candidates. One of the primary qualifying factors is corneal thickness. Here, we discuss why.

LASIK and Corneal Thickness

Patients who visit Silverstein Eye Center can expect a thorough consultation and examination to determine whether LASIK is right for them. One of the vital aspects of the pre-screening process is to measure corneal thickness. Why? It comes down to safety. Studies have indicated that the LASIK procedure could cause irreparable damage to the cornea or eye if this small piece of tissue is too thin.

The Corneal Flap

During the LASIK procedure, the surgeon uses a precise laser device to create a small flap in the cornea at the front of the eye. This layer of tissue covers the body of the cornea, called the corneal stroma. It is this inner structure that the surgeon reshapes to correct the existing refractive error. The reshaping of the corneal stroma results in a slight amount of thinning of this part of the eye. The average corneal flap measures approximately 110 microns in thickness. Each diopter of vision correction results in thinning of approximately 16 microns. Therefore, we must ensure that sufficient thickness will remain after the procedure. We do this by confirming corneal thickness is between 500 and 600 microns.

What If My Cornea is Too Thin for LASIK Laser Eye Surgery?

Board-certified ophthalmologists are fully trained in the specialized services available for a multitude of vision and eye problems. While LASIK has its advantages, an ophthalmologist understands that alternatives must be explored in some situations. For the patient with thin corneas, Dr. Silverstein may consider the photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) procedure. PRK was the most commonly performed refractive surgery procedure before LASIK was developed. For patients with thin corneas or large pupils, PRK may be ideal.

Learn more about LASIK and its alternatives. Call our Chester, NJ office at 908.879.7297.

Posted in: LASIK

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