|Epithelial Ingrowth after Lasik appears as whitish islands
in the cornea when illuminated.
Epithelial ingrowth is a relatively benign complication of
conventional or custom wavefront Lasik and Bladeless Lasik that can resolve on its own or may require
the Lasik flap to be lifted and the cells removed.
The epithelium is the outermost layer of cells of the cornea, just under the tear film. If you stick your finger on
your eye, you are touching your epithelium. These cells are the
most rapidly reproducing cells in the human body.
The process of conventional or custom
Bladeless Lasik includes the creation of a flap of corneal stroma tissue, folding the flap back, applying laser energy
to the exposed cornea, and replacing the flap. It is possible that
epithelial cells may get under the flap.
PRK, LASEK, Epi-Lasik, RLE, and P-IOL do not have this Lasik stromal flap and are not
subject to epithelial ingrowth.
Cells do what cells do: divide and multiply. If the epithelial
cells start growing under the Lasik flap, they can cause bumps in
the flap. This is called epithelial ingrowth and may provide vision
that is out of focus.
In some cases, the epithelial cells will not continue to grow,
will die, and will be absorbed by the cornea. In this case, no additional
action is required by the doctor other than to monitor the condition.
If the cells do grow and if allowed to remain, the epithelial
cells can starve the cornea from nutrients causing disintegration
of the flap (flap melt).
The most common resolution for epithelial ingrowth is for the
doctor to lift the flap, wash out the area, and reposition the flap.
In some cases, the doctor will apply a small amount of excimer energy
or a diluted alcohol solution to destroy any remaining cells. It
is uncommon, but if necessary multiple flap lifts can be performed
to resolve stubborn epithelial cell ingrowth.
Looking For Best Lasik Surgeon?
If you are ready to choose a doctor to be evaluated for conventional
or custom wavefront Lasik, Bladeless Lasik, PRK, or any refractive surgery procedure, we recommend you consider a doctor who has been evaluated and certified by the USAEyes nonprofit organization.
Locate a USAEyes Evaluated & Certified Lasik Doctor.
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