What are the risks of having glaucoma after LASIK surgery?

Glaucoma and LASIK are totally separate issues, not related in any causal way.

What you may be thinking of is the issue of measuring intraocular pressure after LASIK. High eye pressure is one of the more important diagnostic signs of glaucoma. So in patients with subtle signs, or a family history, of glaucoma, it is important to be able to measure eye pressure accurately.

Most traditional ways of measuring eye pressure involve a device that puts pressure on a small part of the cornea to find out how much resistance there is. This is then translated into a number (in units of mmHg). But these methods all assume a normal corneal thickness -which may not be the case in LASIK patients. This is because LASIK works by thinning and flattening the cornea. This means that a falsely low number may be measured from a thin cornea and mislead the doctor into thinking there is less of a pressure issue than there actually is.

There ARE devices available today that measure eye pressure WITHOUT making assumptions about corneal thickness. It is important, then, to tell any eye doctor seeing you (even years after LASIK) that you have had the procedure and to ask if the pressure measurement device used takes into account a thin cornea.

_Written by J. Trevor Woodhams, M.D. - Chief of Surgery, Woodhams Eye Clinic