Most patients who undergo refractive surgery are delighted with the results. However, just like any other surgical procedure, there are also some risks that come with it. This is why it is very important to be aware of the possible complications, effects and laser eye surgery risks.
Here is a list of the most common laser eye surgery risks, and complications.
In order to understand the complications, there has to be a simple understanding of the procedure of Lasik eye surgery. Lasik eye surgery involves the cutting of a small flap in the front covering of the eye or cornea. The flap is lifted so that the laser may reshape the eye and then the flap is replaced as a type of bandage.
The flap is cut using a type of bladed instrument called a “microkeratome” or else with a laser. The surgeon’s preference determines what technology is used. Using a laser to perform this portion of the procedure allows for more precision and, therefore, fewer complications are likely to arise.
Now, if the flap is not cut correctly it may fail to form properly to the surface of the eye. The flap might also be cut too small or thin, which would cause wrinkling upon the attempt to adhere the flap to the surface of the eye. These complications can lead to an irregularly shaped eye surface and in time may lead to astigmatism or blurry vision.
After the procedure, a very small percentage of all patients experience a vision loss which cannot be corrected with glasses, contacts or a second surgery. This is a very rare, but very serious laser eye surgery risk.
Debilitating Visual Symptoms
Some patients experience halos, glare or double vision after surgery. This causes serious night vision problems. Even if they have a good vision on the vision chart, they may not see well at night, in fog or in other situations of low contrast. They may even see worse in these situations than they did before treatment.
Under Treatment or Over Treatment
This is a very frequent laser eye surgery risk. Only a small percentage of patients obtain 20/20 vision after surgery without glasses or contacts. You may need additional treatment to enhance vision, but this is not always possible. Even if you used to wear very weak prescription glasses before treatment, you may still need glasses or contact lenses afterwards. If you used to wear reading glasses before, you might still need them after surgery.
Severe Dry Eye Syndrome
Another laser eye surgery risk is to develop serious dry eye syndrome. After surgery, your eyes might not be able to produce enough tears for keeping moist. This not only produces discomfort, by can also reduce quality vision due to permanent blurring and other problems. This eye condition may be permanent. It is usually treated with intensive eye drop therapy, but other procedures can also be used.
Results Diminishing with Age
Another laser eye surgery risk is for results to decrease over time, especially in patients with farsighted vision. If your manifest refraction (an exam with lenses before using dilating drops) differs from your cyclopegic refraction (another exam with lenses after applying dilating drops), the chances of getting this side effect are higher.
For newer technologies, there is not enough research data available. As some of them have been developed only a few years ago, long-term effectiveness and safety cannot be determined yet. Even though they are more advanced, they might have some unknown long-term side effects.
As with any surgical procedure, there are a variety of complications. Care must be taken to select the right Lasik eye surgeon for your specific needs and also to decide of Lasik eye surgery is the right procedure for you. The most important factor in successful surgery is to find an experienced surgeon, who will monitor your follow up care, and be there with you if you find yourself having any of these complications.