If you’re tired of having to wear glasses or contacts, you may be considering LASIK surgery. LASIK is a good option for people to correct their vision in a permanent way and most adults in good health qualify. However, there are some factors that may make LASIK surgery potentially harmful— one of the big ones is the thickness of your cornea.
Why is Corneal Thickness Important?
LASIK surgery uses a laser to reshape your cornea in order to correct your vision. It’s important that in doing this, there is a significant amount of corneal tissue — otherwise, the complications could massively distort your vision rather than correct it.
How Thick Does Your Cornea Need to Be for LASIK?
The numbers vary depending on the strength of your prescription and other health factors, but generally speaking, your surgeon will want to be able to leave you with at least 250-300 microns of thickness left after surgery (corneal thickness, by the way, is measured in microns, or micrometers, which is one millionth of a meter).
During LASIK surgery, the surgeon will make a flap in the cornea, and then shape the cornea. So they want to be sure that your cornea is thick enough that after they make the flap and shape the cornea to your prescription, what you have left is thick enough. The size of that flap can be anywhere between 80-160 microns, depending on your surgeon’s methods— but they will know how much they need before the operation using your prescription.
How Does Your Doctor Measure Corneal Thickness?
There are two methods of pachymetry, the process of measuring corneal thickness — ultrasonic and optic. Ultrasonic pachymetry utilizes an ultrasound — an instrument that measures sound waves — to determine the thickness of your cornea by touching the ultrasound to the thinnest part of it. Some optic methods also involve contact with the eye, but optic pachymetry simply means the eye is measured through close observation. Usually, this means utilizing a highly specialized camera that can analyze the eye incredibly close-up. What method your doctor uses depends on the doctor’s preference and what is available at the facility.
What If Your Cornea Isn’t Thick Enough?
If your doctor determines that your cornea isn’t thick enough for safe LASIK surgery, you still have options. Loden Vision performs several alternative procedures. We offer photorefractive keratectomy, or PRK, which is another kind of laser corrective surgery that is similar to LASIK. We also offer refractive lens exchange, or ICL, which replaces your natural lens with a lens implant.
Want to know if you qualify for LASIK? Contact our offices in Nashville today! Our LASIK experts will determine your candidacy for LASIK eye surgery.