The cornea is the transparent eye tissue, which is located on the outermost layer of the eye. The cornea protects the eyes from external elements and also filters the small sounds of UV light. Corneas are categorized as thin corneas when the thickness falls below 500 microns (half a millimeter), and the average thickness of the normal cornea is about 540 microns.
Thin corneas can cause several distressing symptoms that can have short term and long-term effects on your ocular health. The condition can also prevent you from being eligible for several eye surgeries.
Patients with thin corneas are usually rejected for LASIK and Supra LASIK procedures as their corneal thickness is not sufficient enough to carry out the procedure. However, you do not have to despair about the fact, as there are other surgeries you can opt for instead of LASIK.
Why Not LASIK
The LASIK surgery alters the cornea, and this can affect your scope of vision. During the LASIK procedure, the surgeon cuts a flap into the cornea and then uses the laser to reshape the cornea. The amount of tissues removed depends on your nearsightedness, and after the procedure is completed, the flap is replaced and left to complete the healing process.
Some patients do not qualify for LASIK as their cornea is not thick enough to withstand cutting. LASIK treatment for a patient who suffers from thin corneas can substantially weaken the eye. Therefore, it is not advisable, as it can cause other conditions like ectasia (weakening of cornea) or even permanent blindness.
Other Laser Procedures For Thin Corneas
There are other alternatives for LASIK, such as Epi-Lasik, LASEK, and PRK. However, all of these treatments use a blade or a laser to remove tissue from the eye.
Epi-Lasik: In this procedure, the flap is created from the cornea’s topmost layer, and the results can be seen in three days. However, it will take between 3 to 6 months for your vision to stabilize completely.
LASEK: Although it sounds similar to the LASIK procedure, there are major differences between the two treatment processes. In the LASEK procedure, eye drops are used to loosen the cells on top of the cornea. The cells are scraped to the side, and a laser is used to reshape the cornea. After this, the cells are smoothed back on, and a contact lens is placed on top to promote healing. The surgery’s final results can be seen after one or two weeks, and the patients will have to wear a bandage contact lens for three to four days.
PRK: In this treatment, the outermost layer of the cornea is scraped and then reshaped. There is no flap formation in PRK, and the vision stabilizes in one to three weeks or up to three to six months after surgery.
Implantable Collamer Lenses (ICL): It is one of the best choices for people suffering from thin cornea. ICL uses a biocompatible, advanced lens and does not involve any cutting in the eye area. The lens also provides UV protection and does not cause dry eye syndrome. The lens can also be removed when required. Results are usually seen in a few days, and the whole procedure only takes between 20 to 30 minutes.
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