What Keeps The Corneal Flap in Position After LASIK Surgery?

It’s not something that’s particularly pleasant to even think about never mind have it happen to you. And yet when you’re researching Laser Eye Surgery, your mind can’t help but go there.

If you know even a little about how LASIK works, then there’s no doubt that questions about the flap will spring up. How big is it? Does it hurt to make it? How does it stay in place?

Will it even stay in place?

As there is a chance of risk in every surgical procedure, it’s good to explore such possibilities. However, thankfully Laser Eye Surgery is extremely safe, and I’m sure you’ll be pleased to know that there is an almost close to zero chances of the flap moving, never mind coming loose, after LASIK.

This is in part thanks to the miraculous abilities of the cornea to heal, as well as the minimally invasive and highly-refined nature of the procedure.

To help close the door on the flap issue and make sure your mind is truly at ease, let’s explore the LASIK flap a little further and hear from expert Laser Eye Surgeon Mr Glenn Carp.

What Happens To The Flap After LASIK Laser Eye Surgery


Mr Glenn Carp talks about what keeps the corneal flap in position securely and provides advice for patients after the Laser Eye Surgery.

As Mr Carp states, straight after Laser Eye Surgery the flap is returned to its original position and is held in place by an osmotic gradient force, which has to do with the balance of fluid and pressure in the eye.

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The fact is that the corneal flap made in LASIK is self-healing. Initially, this vacuum effect keeps it in position, with the cells lining the inner surface of your cornea, known as endothelial cells, pumping water out to the inner part of the eye and the suction holding it in place.

During the first day or two after surgery, the outer surface of the cornea, known as the epithelium, seals the edges of the corneal flap. Over the next few weeks, natural substances inside your cornea bond the corneal flap to the underlying tissue.

In theory, the flap can still be adjusted using a soft micro-sponge to correct for any small positioning errors, however, even straight after surgery, because the eye has already begun the healing process, it is difficult to move the flap.

After day one of your treatment, the flap will be securely in place. After week one, you will have a hard time dislodging the flap even if you rub your eyes excessively. However, as a precaution, it’s advised to be very wary of rubbing your eyes, particularly in the first week, and most clinics should provide you with eye shields to protect them while sleeping.

The LASIK flap is like a temporary wormhole; it opens once, then it disappears. That means, as long as have your treatment at a high-quality clinic and with an expert surgeon, then you have absolutely nothing to worry about. 

What Keeps The Corneal Flap In Position After LASIK Surgery? [video]