LASIK Eye Surgery (cont.)
J. Bradley Randleman, MD
Dr. Randleman received his BA degree from Columbia University in New York City. He earned his MD degree from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, where he was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society. He completed his residency training at Emory University, serving as Chief Resident in his final year. He then completed a fellowship in Cornea/External disease and refractive surgery at Emory University.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
In this Article
- What is LASIK?
- How does LASIK work?
- What is refractive error?
- What are the primary types of refractive error?
- How do glasses or contacts improve vision in people with refractive errors?
- What happens to vision when we age?
- Are there different types of LASIK?
- What is conventional LASIK?
- What is wavefront-optimized LASIK?
- What is wavefront-guided LASIK?
- What other types of refractive surgery are available?
- Am I a good candidate for LASIK?
- What is my doctor looking for during my evaluation?
- What are the risks of LASIK?
- How do I find the right doctor?
- What should I expect before, during and after surgery?
- What are the advantages of LASIK surgery?
- What are the disadvantages of LASIK surgery?
- LASIK checklist
- Find a local Eye Doctor in your town
What are the risks of LASIK?
LASIK has been shown to be a very effective procedure, and most patients are very happy with their vision following the procedure. However, like any surgical procedure, LASIK does come with some risks. In order for you to decide whether LASIK surgery is right for you, you need to be aware of potential risks and complications and weigh these carefully before proceeding with surgery.
1. You may be over-corrected or under-corrected.
Most patients are satisfied with their vision after a single treatment, but in
some cases, you may not achieve quality vision initially and need a second
surgery, called an enhancement, to sharpen your vision. Patients with more
extreme prescriptions are at higher risk for needing an enhancement. This
enhancement cannot be performed for many months after your initial surgery to
allow for your eyes to heal appropriately from the first surgery and for your
eyeglass prescription to stabilize. In some rare cases, you may not be able to
have an enhancement if your corneas are too thin or abnormally shaped after
2. You may still need glasses or contact lenses after surgery to achieve your best vision. This is extremely rare for the average person; however, it is something you should discuss with your surgeon. In addition, if both of your eyes are corrected for good distance vision, you will still need glasses for close work when presbyopia develops as a part of normal aging process.
3. Your results may not be permanent. Although uncommon, some patients do experience a regression of their desired treatment effect many years after the surgery. This is more common in patients with hyperopia, or farsightedness. Those who need reading glasses are especially prone to having changes in their vision after LASIK surgery. If regression does occur, it may be possible for you to have an additional surgery many years after your initial LASIK.
4. You may experience visual aberrations, especially in low light. Visual effects that can occur with LASIK and decrease visual quality include: anisometropia (difference in refractive power between the two eyes), aniseikonia (difference in image size between the two eyes), double vision, hazy vision, fluctuating vision during the day and from day to day, increased sensitivity to light, glare, shadows, and seeing halos around lights. These visual aberrations are extremely unusual; however, they may be incapacitating for some time and may not ever go away completely.
5. Dry eye symptoms may persist or get worse. Most people experience some dry-eye symptoms immediately after surgery. In some cases, people may develop worsening of dry-eye symptoms, such as burning and redness, or even decreased vision, after surgery. This condition is occasionally permanent and may require medication to improve tear production or punctal plugs, which temporarily close off the drainage system for tears.
6. You may lose vision. Rarely, LASIK may result in worse vision that cannot be corrected with glasses or contact lenses. This could result from flap-related complications, equipment malfunction, infection, scarring, or extreme changes in corneal shape postoperatively.
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