Post-laser in-situ keratomileusis ectasia: current understanding and future directions

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Abstract

Purpose of review

The aim of this article is to review the causes, risk factors, management, and future research directions for corneal ectasia after laser in situ keratomileusis.

Recent findings

Complex corneal biomechanical processes influence the integrity of the normal and postoperative cornea, and developing an understanding of these processes facilitates recognition of risk factors for ectasia after laser in-situ keratomileusis. Currently identified risk factors include keratoconus, high myopia, low residual stromal bed thickness from excessive ablation or thick flap creation, and defined topographic abnormalities such as forme fruste keratoconus and pellucid marginal corneal degeneration. Ectasia can also rarely occur in patients without currently identifiable risk factors, and future identification of at-risk patients may be facilitated by corneal interferometry and corneal hysteresis measurements. Utilization of intraoperative pachymetry measurements at the time of surgery and confocal microscopy prior to enhancement to measure residual stromal bed thickness should avoid unanticipated low residual stromal bed thickness. Management options for ectasia after laser in situ keratomileusis include intraocular pressure reduction, rigid gas permeable contact lenses, and intracorneal ring segments, in addition to corneal transplantation. In the future, collagen cross-linking may reduce corneal steepening and improve refractive error.

Summary

When ectasia develops, early recognition and proper management are essential to prevent progression, to promote visual rehabilitation, and to reduce the need for corneal transplantation for these patients.

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