A rare complication of LASIK, diffuse lamellar keratitis is a sterile irritation that occurs when foreign material gets lodged underneath the corneal flap. If untreated, DLK can lead to permanent vision loss.
DLK usually develops within the first week following LASIK surgery and is easily observed by your eye surgeon using a slit lamp microscope. Under a slit lamp, the condition appears like tiny waves of sand in your cornea. As a result, the condition has been nicknamed “Sands of the Sahara.”
Patients suffering from DLK often experience:
There are four stages of diffuse lamellar keratitis:
treatment generally consists of anti-inflammatory eye drops that must be used frequently for several months. Your eye surgeon may also choose to lift up the corneal flap and rinse the treatment area in order to flush out any foreign substances lodged in the region.
Early diagnosis and prompt treatment is crucial to preventing permanent vision loss. When properly treated, patients rarely experience permanent damage.
While DLK most commonly develops immediately following surgery, it is possible for it to occur months or years later if you suffer trauma to the eye that causes material to enter your corneal flap. It is always a good idea to err on the side of caution and get evaluated by your eye surgeon after sustaining any serious eye trauma.
Please contact an eye doctor in your area to learn more about diffuse lamellar keratitis.