Laser Eye Surgery

My daughter has worn glasses since being 8 years old. She switched to contact lenses at 16. She is 21 now and told me yesterday that she is considering using her savings from her part-time job to get laser eye surgery.

Now I wear glasses and can see that they are inconvenient at times. I tried contacts years ago, before the newest generation of soft daily wear lenses were developed. One day I will get around to trying them again. But I know nothing about laser eye surgery, so I told her I would find out more and then we could talk about it.

I have summarised what I found in the paragraphs below.

Laser eye surgery, or LASIK surgery (Laser Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis ) is one answer for those people who do not want to wear glasses all the time. The surgeon uses a laser to permanently change the shape of the cornea, the tough part at the front of the eye. Because the shape is changed, the eye’s own lens is more able to do all the focussing that’s necessary, reducing the need for glasses or contacts.

There are some risks attached to the procedure, as there are to all surgical procedures, but most patients are pleased with the results.

You do need to be aware of the specific risks and to weigh up how important these negative effects of Lasik surgery are to you.

Some patients develop extended blind spots, they cannot see certain lines on a reading chart or when reading a book and have to move their heads to overcome this.

If you have very strong lenses, for either near sightedness, or long sightedness Lasik surgery may not be very successful.

Some patients develop glare, halos and double vision. All of these symptoms can make life unbearable. Other patients lose vision in low contrast settings, like driving at dusk.

You may develop a severe case of Dry Eye Syndrome. This is a permanent condition that causes discomfort and occasional blurring of vision.

These risks put off a lot of potential patients from having laser eye surgery. They would certainly put me off, and I will do my best to persuade my daughter not to go ahead.