An honest look at the potential risks and side-effects of LASIK Surgery in 2017.
LASIK, commonly known as Laser Eye Surgery or Laser Vision Correction is one of the most common surgical procedures performed worldwide. An article in Eyenet magazine back in Sept 2013 shows that over 28 million procedures have been performed worldwide since 2009.
LASIK Surgeries are done by an ophthalmologist to correct near-sightedness, far-sightedness, astigmatism, and presbyopia.
There are known complications to LASIK, one of the most common is subconjunctival hemorrhage which is minor bleeding inside the eye. It will look alarming, but it is harmless and will not impair quality of life. It normally takes two weeks to heal.
Another common risk is over correction and under correction. This happens 2-8% of the time based on a satisfaction survey conducted by the American Society of Cataract and Refractive surgery in March 2008. Modern procedures have improved many of the problems associated with this and possibly will result in lower occurrences today.
A major risk associated with LASIK is an infection, though vision loss due to infection is a rare 1 out of 10,000 cases. There is significant discomfort involved with LASIK induced infection. Consult your doctor if you are experiencing infection related discomfort after a LASIK procedure. Studies indicate that infection rates are lower with LASIK postoperative cases than contact lens wearers over time. However, it is still an associated risk to the procedure.
Dry Eye Syndrome is another common postoperative complication. A lot of patients complain of dry eyes and will require treatment to drastically reduce the possibility of permanent damage. There are known cases where in spite of treatment Dry Eye Syndrome becomes a permanent ailment.
Halos and Aberrations are “Ghosting” visual problems that may occur after a LASIK operation. This requires special testing and diagnosis by a professional and cannot be corrected without additional surgery. This happens when people see phantoms, halos, and lights that are not actually there. This is caused by the irregularity of the corneal tissue and the LASIK flap. The advancement of LASIK technology over the years has reduced the risk of Haloes and Aberrations. However, it is a known major complication that is still occurring today.
DLK or Diffuse Lamellar Keratitis is when white blood cells cause an inflammation between the Lasik corneal flat and the stroma. This occurs in 2.3% of the cases and will require treatment to cure. Extreme cases will require an additional surgery for the doctor to manually remove the cells.
A rare complication which a case report in 2011 shows that it is possible for the Lasik Flap to be dislocated due to a traumatic event seven years after the completion of the LASIK procedure. Appropriately named as the “Traumatic Flap Dislocation,” this happens when an external event causes the LASIK built corneal flap to change position resulting in blurry vision, pain, irritation, and other complications.
There is dozen more known LASIK postoperative risks and complications like corneal scarring, slipped flap, post-LASIK corneal ectasia, Retinal detachment, Choroidal neovascularization, Uveitis, and “Eye Floaters” These are all very rare cases, and it is best to talk with your doctor regarding all the risks associated with the surgery.