Benefits and Risks of Laser Eye Surgery
According to the Mayo Clinic, about 85 percent of people who've undergone refractive surgery no longer need to depend on their glasses or contact lenses most of the time. People with a low grade of nearsightedness tend to have the most success, and people with a high degree of farsightedness along with astigmatism have the least predictable results.
The results you get, of course, will depend on the nature and degree of your vision problems going into surgery and the quality of the work your doctor does.
Risks and Complications
We're all well-acquainted with the touted benefits of corrective surgery, but what about what the ads don't necessarily tell you? What are the risks associated with laser eye surgery? Any surgical procedure carries with it a certain amount of risk, and laser eye surgery is no different.
Some of the risks of undergoing such procedures include:
- Loss of vision. If things don't go as planned, some patients emerge from the procedure with vision that's worse than what they came in with.
- Development of new visual problems. Some patients develop a glare, halos, starbursts and double vision as a result of laser eye surgical procedures.
- Undertreatment/ Overtreatment- Reshaping the cornea is a delicate business. Sometimes the cornea is not reshaped enough—too little material is taken out; sometimes it's reshaped too much—too much material is taken out.
- Dry eyes. Many patients report having dry eyes after surgery. Although eye drops (plus a little time for healing) are usually able to correct or at least help the problem, in some more serious cases, special plugs are required to prevent tears from draining away from the eyes.
- Infection and other flap-healing problems. Cutting a flap into your cornea is like cutting any other part of your body. There is always the potential that it may get infected or otherwise not heal properly.
- Results may diminish with Time. Although technically not a “risk” of surgery, you should know that even with the best laser eye surgery, the results don't last forever. The cornea continues to age and change shape. Keep in mind that these procedures are still so new that no long-term data exists. In how many people will Lasik corrections last twenty years or longer? We don't really know. The first FDA-approved Lasik eye surgery was in 1998.
Talk with your doctor about which risks he thinks might affect you and whether or not he believes laser eye surgery is still right for you.
Are there some people who should NEVER have laser eye surgery? Click next and find out.