PURPOSE: To describe clinical characteristics, risk factors, and visual outcomes in patients requiring flap lift for epithelial ingrowth following LASIK. METHODS: Consecutive, noncomparative, retrospective case series of eyes requiring flap lift for epithelial ingrowth following LASIK from June 2003 through July 2011 at a tertiary care, university-based eye hospital. Main outcome measures were uncorrected distance visual acuity (UDVA) and corrected distance visual acuity (CDVA) at 1 and 3 months and recurrence of epithelial ingrowth. RESULTS: Forty-five eyes were included. Laser in situ keratomileusis retreatment was the most common etiologic factor for epithelial ingrowth (28/45 eyes [62%]). All patients were treated with flap lift and scraping. Mean logMAR UDVA at presentation was 0.28 (Snellen equivalent 20/38). Mean logMAR UDVA at 3 months was 0.17 (Snellen equivalent 20/30) with 53% of eyes 20/25 or better. Mean logMAR CDVA at 3 months was 0.06 (Snellen equivalent 20/23) with 78% of eyes 20/25 or better. Epithelial ingrowth into the central cornea portended a trend towards UDVA worse than 20/25 or worse at 3-month follow-up (hazard ratio [HR] 5.54, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.98-31.3, P=.05) and CDVA worse than 20/25 at 3-month follow-up (HR 4.32, 95% CI: 0.85-21.9, P=.08). Recurrence after treatment was 31% at 3 months and 36% at 1 year. Risk factors for recurrence included: infectious etiology of ingrowth (HR 5.7, 95% CI: 1.11-29.1, P=.04), use of microkeratome for primary LASIK (HR 4.64, 95% CI: 1.07-20.1, P=.04), and hyperopic primary LASIK (HR 2.49, 95% CI: 0.98-6.31, P=.06). CONCLUSIONS: Patients undergoing flap lift for the treatment of epithelial ingrowth have a relatively high rate of recurrence but good visual acuity outcomes.
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