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Ophthalmology. 1998 Oct;105(10):1839-47; discussion 1847-8.

Incidence and management of intraoperative and early postoperative complications in 1000 consecutive laser in situ keratomileusis cases.

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  • 1Gimbel Eye Centre, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.



To identify intraoperative and early postoperative complications of laser in situ keratomileusis (LASIK) surgery learning curve and to offer recommendations on prevention and management.


Retrospective noncomparative case series.


The first 1000 consecutive myopic LASIK eyes (April 1995-February 1997) operated on by one surgeon (HVG) were examined.


Myopic LASIK surgery was performed with the Chiron Corneal Shaper and NIDEK EC-5000 excimer laser.


The preoperative and 6-month postoperative spherical equivalent, best-corrected visual acuity, and corneal status were recorded, as was the incidence of intraoperative and early postoperative complications. The rate of retreatments was also recorded.


There were 32 (3.2%) intraoperative complications and surgical events recorded, including 19 (1.9%) microkeratome-related flap complications and 13 (1.3%) nonmicrokeratome-related surgical events such as inability to obtain sufficient suction. There were 18 (1.8%) postoperative complications requiring repositioning of microwrinkled or shifted flaps. Six-month spherical equivalent was -0.52 diopter [D] +/- 1.19 D for eyes with microkeratome complications, -0.56 D +/- 1.07 D for the group with nonmicrokeratome-related intraoperative events, and -0.78 D +/- 0.92 for eyes requiring postoperative flap repositioning. None of the 32 eyes with intraoperative complications and surgical events lost 2 or more lines of vision. One eye in the postoperative complications group lost two lines of vision. The rate of microkeratome complications related to surgical technique and the overall surgery times decreased over the course of the first 1000 myopic LASIK cases.


The complications encountered during the early learning curve of LASIK surgery have not in this series resulted in a significant loss of best-corrected visual acuity. With increasing surgical experience, the incidence of complications, along with surgical times, has decreased.

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