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Clin Ophthalmol. 2012;6:1665-74. doi: 10.2147/OPTH.S36382. Epub 2012 Oct 12.

Laser in-situ keratomileusis in patients with diabetes mellitus: a review of the literature.

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  • 1University of Arizona College of Medicine, Phoenix, AZ.



A growing number of diabetic patients request laser in situ keratomileusis (LASIK) for elective vision correction each year. While the United States Food and Drug Administration considers diabetes a relative contraindication to LASIK surgery, there are several reports in the literature of LASIK being performed safely in this patient population. The purpose of this review was to examine whether diabetes should still be considered a contraindication to LASIK surgery by reviewing the ocular and systemic complications of diabetes, and examining the existing data on the outcomes of LASIK in diabetic patients.


A literature review was conducted through PubMed, Medline, and Ovid to identify any study on LASIK surgery in patients with diabetes mellitus. This search was conducted without date restrictions. The search used the Medical Subject Headings (MeSH(®)) term LASIK linked by the word "and" to the following MeSH and natural language terms: diabetes, diabetes mellitus, systemic disease, and contraindications. Abstracts for all studies meeting initial search criteria were reviewed for relevance. There were no prospective clinical studies identified. Three retrospective studies were identified. Key sources from these papers were identified, reviewed, and included as appropriate. An additional literature search was conducted to identify any study of ocular surgery on patients with diabetes using the MeSH terms refractive surgery, photorefractive keratectomy, radial keratotomy, cataract surgery, vitrectomy, and iridectomy linked by the word "and" to the following MeSH terms: diabetes, diabetes mellitus, and systemic disease. This search was conducted without date restrictions. Abstracts of studies meeting the initial search criteria were reviewed and articles deemed relevant to the subject were included in this review.


LASIK may be safe in diabetic patients with tight glycemic control and no ocular or systemic complications.


LASIK surgery; diabetes mellitus; diabetic corneal neuropathy; diabetic keratopathy; refractive surgery

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