Can LASIK cause Keratoconus? How likely is corneal ectasia?

If you’ve ever considered getting LASIK surgery, you’re not alone. According to the American Refractive Surgery Council, an estimated 18 million people in the United States have undergone laser vision correction surgery. While LASIK can be a safe and effective way to improve your vision, there are some risks associated with the procedure that you should be aware of.

What is Keratoconus?

Keratoconus is when the cornea—the clear, outermost layer of the eye—becomes thin and cone-shaped. Keratoconus can cause distorted vision and may require frequent changes in eyeglasses or contact lens prescriptions. In some cases, keratoconus can be treated with special contacts or glasses. However, in severe cases, a corneal transplant may be necessary. Keratoconus is not a complication arising from laser eye surgery. You cannot have LASIK if you have keratoconus.

What is Corneal ectasia?

Corneal ectasia is a complication that can occur after LASIK surgery. Corneal ectasia is a rare condition in which the cornea bulges outward abnormally. This bulging can cause progressive nearsightedness, severe astigmatism and blurry vision. Corneal ectasia is usually treated with glasses, contact lenses, or INTACS inserts—plastic arcs placed inside the cornea to change shape. In severe cases, a corneal transplant may also be necessary.

LASIK surgery is safe and effective; however, as with any surgical procedure, there are risks are involved. If you’re considering LASIK surgery, be sure to talk to us about the risks and benefits so that you can make an informed decision about whether or not the procedure is right for you. You can do this by booking a free virtual appointment here.

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Recognized leaders in Harrisburg LASIK eye surgery


Dr. Bennett Chotiner
M.D., F.A.C.S.


Dr. Bennett Chotiner is the founder and medical director of Memorial Eye Institute. A noted innovator, in 1977 he established his clinical practice, the Pennsylvania Eye Associates. In 1984, he established the Pennsylvania Eye Surgery Center, Pennsylvania’s first …

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Dr. Erik A Chotiner
M.D., F.A.C.S.


Erik Chotiner, M.D. diagnoses and treats a wide range of medical eye conditions. He is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Franklin and Marshall College. Dr. Chotiner attended Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia where he received multiple awards including the Physiology Prize for …

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