Diffuse Lamellar Keratitis
This condition, diffuse lamellar keratitis (DLK)- also known as “sands of the Sahara” syndrome- is an inflammation that occurs in the space between the corneal flap and the underlying stroma. This relatively rare condition is typically observed by the doctor the day after surgery. You may have no symptoms, or you may notice some haziness in your vision or a mild irritation. After LASIK, all patients are given a topical corticosteroid, a medicated eye drop used to suppress inflammation. You will be instructed to apply these drops at least 4 times a day after the procedure. These drops prevent DLK from occurring in the great majority of patients.
There is considerable debate about what causes DLK. It is normally easily treated with topical corticosteroids. Most cases of DLK respond promptly to this treatment. More severe cases may require that Dr. Kornmehl lift the corneal flap and irrigate beneath it to remove the inflammatory cells. Severe cases may cause some blurring of vision that necessitates an enhancement procedure, although these cases are extraordinarily rare. When recognized early and treated properly, DLK resolves quickly.
Keratoconus is a naturally occurring disease by a weakness in the cornea. Keratoconus naturally occurs in some people as they age. Patients with this condition suffer from increasingly poor vision as their corneas bulge and thin over time due to the pressure put on their weakened corneas. Symptoms often reported by keratoconus patients include nearsightedness and fluctuating vision (irregular astigmatism). This disease is progressive, but does not progress much after age 40. Scientists are not completely sure of the causes of keratoconus, but genetics is believed to play a large part.
Patients who suffer from preexisting keratoconus are not candidates for LASIK, because LASIK in some cases accelerates the progression of the disease. An essential part of your consultation is examining you for keratoconus, using a specialized map of the eye called corneal topography.