Can I Have LASIK If I Have Keratoconus?
LASIK and other laser refractive surgery procedures like PRK and SMILE correct nearsightedness and other refractive errors by reshaping the cornea. In this reshaping process, some corneal tissue is removed, making the cornea thinner.
Because keratoconus is a degenerative corneal disease that causes thinning of the cornea and leads to unpredictable and irregular changes in the shape of the front surface of the eye, LASIK generally is not recommended for anyone with keratoconus.
In fact, there is a small risk that LASIK can induce a keratoconus-type condition called corneal ectasia if too much tissue is removed from the cornea of individuals who are susceptible to this condition.
If you have keratoconus and are interested in refractive surgery to correct your nearsightedness or other refractive errors, the first step is to have your cornea carefully examined by an eye doctor — preferably a keratoconus specialist.
Your doctor may recommend a corneal cross-linking procedure to strengthen and stabilize your cornea prior to considering refractive surgery. Depending on the outcome of this procedure, LASIK or some other type of refractive surgery to decrease your dependence on eyeglasses or contact lenses might be possible. AAV
About the Author: Gary Heiting, OD, is senior editor of AllAboutVision.com. Dr. Heiting has more than 25 years of experience as an eye care provider, health educator and consultant to the eyewear industry. His special interests include contact lenses, nutrition and preventive vision care.
Page updated January 2018