Can LASIK reduce the risks of a detached retina?

15 Feb 2024LASIK Procedures and Options

LASIK surgery is among the most popular treatment options for vision correction today. Generally used to address refractive errors of the eye, it has become so well-known now that you can often hear people asking about its potential for even non-corneal issues!

We will take up an example of that today by answering one of the most common queries we get about LASIK here at Shinagawa Eye Centre. Namely, does LASIK reduce the risk of retinal detachment?

Understanding LASIK

LASIK surgery is a procedure that involves the creation of a small flap in the eye in order to access and reshape the cornea, the clear tissue at the front of the eye.

The cornea is responsible for bending light so that it hits the retina accurately and allows us to see well. If the cornea does not do this correctly, one gets a refractive error such as myopia (nearsightedness) or hyperopia (farsightedness).

LASIK reshapes the cornea with a small precision laser in order to fix refractive errors like that. In the same way altering the shape of a piece of glass can subtly change the way light looks when passing through it, changes to the cornea can change the way it bends light for our vision.

LASIK is done to improve eyesight without using glasses or contact lenses. There are several types of LASIK procedures too, which you can read about in our previous article.

Shinagawa_Blog Piece Mockup_Feb 2-03

Exploring retinal detachment

Now, what is retinal detachment? This is the term for a condition when the retina detaches or separates from the back of the eye.

When this happens, the retina ends up being disconnected from the layer of blood vessels at the back of the eye. An emergency condition, retinal detachment can lead to serious vision loss. It is often indicated by flashes and floaters in the person’s vision, and is also most often caused by trauma to the eye or ageing.

Shinagawa_Blog Piece Mockup_Feb 2-04

Can LASIK reduce the risks of a detached retina?

Now we come back to the query: does LASIK reduce the risk of retinal detachment?

In brief: no, LASIK does not reduce the risk of retinal detachment. The reason is fairly simple. 

LASIK is a procedure that reshapes the cornea. Retinal detachment, however, is a condition that involves the retina and not the cornea.

The causes of retinal detachment – retinal tearing, retinal scarring, ageing, injury to the eye, inflammation in the blood vessels of the retinal wall – have nothing to do with the cornea.

Therefore, treatments that reshape the cornea have no effect on retinal detachment or its chances of development.

Conclusion

It may be disheartening to learn that LASIK cannot reduce the chances of developing a retinal detachment, but that hardly means those with a lot of risk factors for the latter are helpless.

Indeed, going for regular eye exams and visiting your eye doctor as soon as you notice a change in vision can do a lot to help you address things like detachments before they worsen.

Moreover, LASIK remains a safe and relatively low-risk procedure for a lot of other vision problems. If you want to learn more about it or determine if you are a candidate for the treatment, book an appointment with us today. We can assess you and find out if you may need LASIK for your own vision concerns.