Re-treatment in LASIK: To Flap Lift or Perform Surface Ablation

Colin Chan, Michael Lawless, Gerard Sutton, Chris Hodge

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5 Citations (Scopus)



To review safety and efficacy outcomes following re-treatment for residual refractive errors in eyes with prior laser in situ keratomileusis (LASIK) and determine the most appropriate course of action for patients.


A review of all patients undergoing LASIK enhancement at a single refractive surgery center between 2012 and 2017 was undertaken. Refraction and biomicroscopy results before and after enhancement were collated and analyzed according to the method of enhancement (flap lift or surface ablation).


A total of 108 eyes were included in the analysis; 58 eyes underwent flap lift and 50 underwent surface ablation retreatment with mean times to enhancement of 22.3 and 53.2 months, respectively. The mean spherical equivalent prior to enhancement was −0.43 ± 0.69 and −1.03 ± 1.01 diopters (D) for the flap lift and surface ablation groups, respectively. The absolute difference from intended refraction was statistically significant (lift 0.16 ± 0.24 versus surface ablation 0.31 ± 0.35 D; P = .01). The difference was more pronounced for eyes with prior hyperopia (P = .041). The incidence of haze following re-treatment was 3.4% in the flap lift group versus 10.0% in the surface ablation group, and 8.6% of the flap lift group had evidence of epithelial ingrowth, with 1 eye requiring washout. There was no correlation between time to enhancement, refraction, and incidence of complications following the enhancement procedure.


There has been a trend toward treating residual LASIK refractive error through surface ablation. This review suggests that flap lift may result in a more accurate refractive outcome, albeit with an expected greater risk of epithelial ingrowth.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6-11
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Refractive Surgery
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020


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