Epithelial Ingrowth after Lasik (Video)

This video shows epithelial ingrowth that occurs sometimes after LASIK surgery. If you look closely at the lasik flap, you can see an area of white deposits in an island configuration. These are collections of corneal epithelial cells that have grown under the flap. The surface epithelial cells can proliferate quickly, explaining why surface abrasions heal so fast. If they get into the flap interface, they can grow incorrectly and push their way under the rug.

In this particular case, the growth is minimal, far from the visual axis, and stable in size. If larger, the cells can cause astigmatism, affect corneal nourishment, and even lead to a flap melt in the area. Fortunately, ingrowth like this is easy to see and the flap can always be lifted and irrigated if the cells looks prodigious.

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lasikepithelium.wmv (5.0 meg, Windows video file)


Epithelial Ingrowth
This photo shows epithelial ingrowth, and common finding after lasik eye surgery. The white pattern of lobulated opacity is typical and the condition is generally benign with no effect on visual potential.
Nest cells
The geographic lobular pattern is typical, and easily seen by direct and retroillumination.
Lasik complication
There is a mass of white-opacities near the limbus. These area epithelial cells that have grown under the flap.

Dr. Timothy Root is a practicing ophthalmologist and cataract surgeon in Daytona Beach, Florida. His books, video lectures, and training resources can be found at:



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