Approximately 1 to 5 percent of LASIK patients develop a smallcorneal abrasion, or scrape, caused by friction of the microkeratome. The eye is covered by a thin layer of skin, called the epithelium. This skin is just like the skin on your hand except that it is clear so you can see through it. Occasionally, the minor trauma of surgery causes part of the epithelium to fall away. This is called a corneal abrasion or corneal epithelial defect. This doesn’t harm your eye and doesn’t interfere with the laser treatment. However, your eye will be uncomfortable while the epithelium heals, just as your hand is after it is scraped.
Your surgeon will know immediately if you develop a corneal abrasion when the LASIK procedure is performed on your eye; he or she will place a very thin contact lens on the eye. This is called a bandage lens, because it serves as a protective layer over the eye surface.
The lens increases comfort and promotes healing. It can be removed in 1-5 days. The abrasions always heal, usually in 1-3 days. But it may take up to 10 days to achieve your best vision if the abrasion is located centrally.
While the abrasion is healing, your vision will be blurred- as if you were looking through a scratched pair of eyeglasses. In rare cases, if the corneal abrasion is significant, Dr. Kornmehl may decide to postpone doing LASIK on the other eye for 1-2 weeks, giving the first eye a chance to heal. Postponement of surgery on the second eye ensures that you don’t have blurry vision in both eyes at the same time.