LASIK Flap Dislocation – The Flap Never Heals

LASIK Flap Dislocation – The Flap Never Heals

With the advancement in medical science, everything seems very easy and almost risk free but the risks are still there as a black spot on a white sheet. There is one such popular surgery i.e. LASIK surgery is very popular for its high success rate and long lasting benefits but this surgery has also its own set of risks.

Risks of LASIK eye surgery

  • Dry eyes – this surgery can temporarily decrease the tear production in eyes which makes your eyes dry but you can use eye drops for this problem.
  • Halos, Glare and Double vision – The vision in dim light get reduced after surgery and you might also notice halos, glare around bright lights and double vision.
  • Under corrections – It happens mostly in cases of nearsightedness when little amount of tissue is removed by laser and you won’t get clearer vision.
  • Over corrections – It is more difficult to rectify over correction or extra removal of tissue than the under correction condition.
  • Flap displacement – To reshape the corneal tissue, a flap is created over the cornea to access into the cornea and it is re-positioned after the surgery. But if the flap folds back or gets removed then this condition is known as flap displacement and it can cause serious problem.

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Factors increasing the risks

There is some health and behavioral conditions which increases the above mentioned risks associated with the LASIK surgery and these are:

  • Dryness of eyes persisting for long duration
  • Autoimmune disease e.g. Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Immunodeficiency caused by immune suppressants
  • Certain medications, hormonal changes, pregnancy or increasing age
  • Several eye conditions like keratoconus, keratitis, uveitis, herpes simplex affecting the eye area, glaucoma, cataracts, eye injuries or lid disorders
  • Habit of rubbing your eyes frequently
  • Involving in contact sports like wrestling or boxing which has increases the chances of blow on your face especially eyes

We have seen that how things can change if something goes wrong during the LASIK surgery but the risks can be easily tolerated with advanced techniques and experienced assistance. Although, every risk is unique and temporary but risk of flap displacement is slightly different from others.

Why Lasik Flap displacement risk is different?

As we know that, the flap which is created during the surgery is repositioned after the completion of surgery but it is found that it can remain weakened even after years of surgery. The flap can be easily disturbed and therefore it requires extra care in first few weeks of post surgery to prevent any displacement even from light rubbing of eyes.

What studies say about flap dislocation?

According to studies, flap dislocation is rare LASIK complication and a study on army personnel shows that the incidence of flap dislocation is 0.085% means 1/1174 eyes. Another report of Wills Institute shows a higher incidence of flap dislocation i.e. 2.75% or 3/109 patients. Most of this dislocation occurred in postoperative period through mechanical disruptions like eye rubbing or forceful blinking. According to Schmack et al., laser flaps can be lifted without complications up to 8 years and five months after surgery. If any dislocation occurs then the flap can be repositioned again and clearer vision can be achieved.

What happens when flap gets displaced?

The patients with flap displacements has reported common symptoms like pain, blurred vision, irritation and foreign body sensation and some associated symptoms like headache and nausea. Although, the chances of dislocations are very rare; the longest period reported between a surgery and flap dislocation is 14 years.

Does a Flap Dislocation never heal?

According to a board certified ophthalmologist and renowned writer on LASIK articles Lance Kuglar, founder and CEO of Kugler Vision, there is a misunderstanding in patients regarding the treatment procedure of flap. The Lasik flap dislocation is a separation between layers of collagen within the cornea and it does adhere back to the underlying collagen after few weeks of surgery especially the flaps made by using femtosecond laser. In simple terms, it actually adheres quite well if the surgery is performed with the use of modern technology. If the flap get dislocated even after years of surgery then also it can be lifted and replaced back to its original position to restore the 20/20 vision without any problems.


The risk of Lasik flap dislocation is there after the surgery but it can be avoided easily by following the precautions and giving extra care to your operated eye. It takes six months for the flap to adhere firmly to the underlying collagen but still you should avoid actions which can apply extra pressure on your eye like getting into contact sports, breaking into fights or accidents. If any such thing happens then you should immediately seek help of your ophthalmologist to get your eye checked for any damage or dislocations of flap.

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