Posted by: Manhattan LASIK Center
Several refractive procedures can help eliminate your need for eyeglasses or contact lenses. Even if your corneas are too thin for LASIK, there are likely alternatives suited for you. During a refractive exam, your eye doctor will perform several specialized tests to determine whether you are a good candidate for LASIK. One of these is a corneal thickness exam.
This is one of the most important factors in determining your eligibility for LASIK. You probably hear people saying that LASIK is unsuitable for them because their corneas are not thick enough or too thin.
Thus, it is important to understand the relationship between corneal thickness and LASIK. The average corneal thickness is between 520 and 540 microns. However, typically, it can range from 470 to 630 microns.
Relationship Between Corneal Thickness and LASIK
LASIK is one of the primary options for people considering vision correction to reduce or eliminate their need for eyeglasses or contact lenses. Though it is an amazingly effective procedure, LASIK is not right for everyone. If your corneas are too thin, you might be wondering whether there are alternatives.
Fortunately, there are effective and safer alternatives available to patients with thin corneas. Made up of several layers, the cornea is responsible for most of the eye’s focusing power. LASIK corrects refractive errors by reshaping the cornea.
What Happens During the LASIK Procedure?
The procedure involves the creation of a flap in the cornea’s top layers. This allows your eye surgeon at Manhattan LASIK Center to access and reshapes the stroma, which is the thickest layer of the cornea. This reshaping involves the removal of corneal tissue. This is why LASIK is ideal for people with a certain corneal thickness. But if your corneas are too thin, this vision correction technique will not be effective.
At Manhattan LASIK Center, our surgeons routinely create ultra-thin flaps of 80-micron thickness. We believe that our 80-micron ultra-thin flaps produce better visual results, more rapid visual postoperative recovery, and a lower rate of enhancements, leaving the cornea stronger and significantly reducing postoperative dryness.
Are Your Corneas Too Thin for LASIK?
To determine whether your corneas are thick enough to allow for LASIK, your eye doctor will use a measurement known as a diopter. This measurement determines the focusing power or prescription of the lens. For every diopter that requires correction, your eye surgeon will need to remove approximately 15 microns of your corneal tissue.
Following the LASIK procedure, you need to retain a certain amount of corneal tissue. To lower the risk of complications, you need to have at least 250 microns of leftover corneal tissue.
To put it into perspective, to make one millimeter, it would take one thousand microns. Also, to ensure a healthy and fast recovery from the procedure, your corneal flap should be at approximately 160 microns.
Can SMILE Be a Better Option?
Both LASIK and SMILE are relatively safe options. Medically known as Small Incision Lenticule Extraction, this procedure does not involve creating a corneal flap. Therefore, SMILE has a significantly lower risk of dry eyes that may happen as a result of flap creation. Due to its flapless nature, SMILE might be more effective in correcting refractive errors in patients with thin corneas. Furthermore, compared to LASIK, it is less invasive. This is because it uses a special laser to flatten and reshape the cornea.