Is LASIK eye surgery safe? No surgery is without risk of complications; however LASIK is still considered a safe procedure, particularly in the “long term.”
“LASIK is an FDA-approved procedure… if there were long-term issues with the procedure, the FDA would pull the procedure off the market, right? And that is absolutely not the case,” Dr. Marc Werner, an ophthalmologist at the Stahl Eye Center in New York City, told FoxNews.com. “We still have lots of people we started on 18 to 19 years ago who are perfect. It’s still a very good procedures with long-term results.”
The surgery has improved dramatically in the 18 years since it became available, and is therefore safer than ever. The main complication with LASIK is failure to correct vision, with other complications fairly minor. Let’s take a look at the potential complications of LASIK eye surgery:
Eye Flap Complication
The eye flap, or the area of the eye that covers the cornea, is cut during LASIK eye surgery. The cornea is subsequently reshaped with a laser, and the flap restored. Sometimes the flap is cut incorrectly or becomes injured during surgery. Thankfully this risk is minimized due to a surgical improvement called IntraLase, and while more expensive, it dramatically reduces the possibility of incorrect corneal cuts.
Under and Overcorrection
Sometimes the laser removes too little tissue from the eye, and undercorrection results. Most common among nearsighted individuals, undercorrection does not result in clear vision. Overcorrection refers to too much tissue removal. If you fear overcorrection issues, keep in mind that this effect is normal as the cornea stabilizes.
Astigmatism occurs following uneven tissue removal. Additional surgery, contacts, or glasses are required to rectify the issue.
Return to Pre-Surgery Vision
A slow return to pre-surgery vision may occur when other health factors are involved, such as pregnancy, hormonal imbalances, and wound healing complications.
Problems with night vision are another potential complication of LASIK surgery, such as halos, glares, and double vision. Anyone experiencing these issues needs to see their specialist immediately to avoid vision loss.
Minor Side Effects
Minor side effects resulting from LASIK eye surgery include swelling, inflammation, dry eye, irritation, temporary redness, and infection. These side effects generally disappear after a short amount of time.
What to Remember
It’s very important to remember that the above complications of LASIK eye surgery are minimal in healthy LASIK candidates who see highly-trained doctors well-versed in performing such surgeries. Certain health conditions greatly increase the risk of complications, and include dry eyes, HIV/AIDS, autoimmune disorders, and the aforementioned pregnancy. Assorted eye conditions also put patients at greater risk of complications, such as glaucoma, cataracts, keratoconus, keratitis, herpes simplex affecting the eyes, uveitis, lid disorders, and eye injuries. Age and breast-feeding may also affect the outcome of LASIK eye surgery.
LASIK eye surgery is also not recommended for those who already have good vision or have very thin corneas or large pupils. Jobs that may be affected by the procedure, age-related eye changes, and participation in contact sports must also be considered before undergoing surgery.
Again, it’s imperative to stress that risks and complications are greater in those with pre-existing conditions. Healthy individuals working with skilled LASIK surgeons have little to worry about.