I’VE HAD LASIK / PRK / RK. AM I STILL A CANDIDATE?

I see and treat a lot of patients with eye floaters who have previous had one or more of a few corneal refractive procedure like LASIK, PRK, and RK performed. These procedures will change the structure and curvature (and as a result, the optics) of the cornea.
The YAG laser used in our office is quite different than the excimer laser used in corneal refractive procedures. Whereas the excimer laser acts on the front surface of the cornea and vaporizes the corneal tissues, the YAG laser passes right through the clear cornea and lens (natural or artificial) and doesn’t affect or change either structure.
Corneal refractive procedure like LASIK do change some of the optical qualities of the cornea which can diminish the ‘quality‘ of the YAG laser energy used to treat floaters.
The effect that we see in treating eye floaters is that there may be a decrease in the YAG laser energy delivered to the target floaters. The amount of decrease may not really be noticeable or it may be significant. The amount of decrease will depend on the amount of correction, the optic zone of the LASIK treatment, the size of the eye, etc. These factors may not be predictable prior to treatment.
The floater treating surgeon may be able to compensate for some of these factors. One technique may be to ‘manipulating’ the floater into a position that is more amenable and efficient for treatment by asking the patient to move their eyes a certain way, or by increasing the treatment energy to improve the delivered energy.
The take home message is that a history of previous corneal refractive procedures is common in our practice, generally can be compensated for by a very experienced floater treatment specialist, and most importantly, IT DOES NOT INCREASE THE RISK TO THE PATIENT.

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