Retinal complications after laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis (LASIK)

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Purpose of review: This paper reviews the retinal complications that may occur after laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis (LASIK). Recent findings: During the review period (1 year), several nonrandomized retrospective studies and case reports/series were published. One study was performed to determine the efficacy and safety of prophylactic laser photocoagulation for retinal breaks in patients with myopia undergoing LASIK. Retinal breaks were identified and treated in 39 eyes (2%). None of the patients developed a rhegmatogenous retinal detachment (RRD) (except one trauma case). Another group studied retinal disease observed in 9239 consecutive eyes after refractive surgery (including LASIK) and found RRD in 11 eyes (0.36%) and choroidal neovascularization (CNV) in 10 eyes (0.33%). Three reports described a total of 16 patients with a previously placed encircling scleral buckle for a RRD who had LASIK to correct myopia. In all patients, the visual acuity (VA) improved. Another study reported the characteristics and surgical outcomes of RRD in myopic eyes after LASIK (33 eyes of 27 patients; frequency 0.08% [33/38, 823]). They found that 45.8% lost two or more lines of VA after vitreoretinal surgery. Two letters described the characteristics and potential mechanisms of a macular lacquer crack (one with subsequent development of subfoveal CNV) in a myopic patients corrected by LASIK. Summary: Serious complications after LASIK are infrequent. A dilated fundus examination is very important before LASIK and in every patient whose VA after LASIK is not as good as expected to avoid delayed referral to a vitreoretinal specialist if necessary. Only prospective studies can determine whether the procedure exacerbates myopic pathology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)184-191
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent opinion in ophthalmology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2004


  • Choroidal neovascularization
  • Macular hemorrhage
  • Macular hole
  • Retinal breaks
  • Retinal detachment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology

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