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Are There Side Effects Of Laser Eye Surgery?

All surgeries are associated with a number of known side effects, and laser eye surgery is no exception; the known side effects of eye surgery are well-documented and researched by eye doctors , who consider them to be minimal. The eyes of most patients heal on their own within six months without any additional treatment from their eye doctor.

A side effect of a surgery is considered to be the body's reaction to the surgical procedure that is not related to any error which may have resulted from the surgery. Overall, it is very important to be aware of all of the known side effects of laser surgery when considering this procedure.

Halos or Starbursts and sensitivity to light

Halos affect the patient's night vision. They occur at night when looking at bright lights, and are characterized by blurred images with circles radiating from the center. If untreated they may prevent the person from driving at night. Although they often heal themselves within two months, glasses or additional surgery may sometimes be required to correct the halo effect. Halos are one of most common known side effects of LASIK, and have a greater tendency to develop if a patient had a condition prior to the surgery in which the pupils dilated larger than seven millimeters in the dark, if there were any flap complications during the surgery, or if a person has any problems recovering from the surgery.

Sensitivity to Light

Although this is also among the most common of all known side effects of LASIK surgery, this condition usually resolves itself after the first few days following surgery.

Visual Regression and Dry Eye conditions

This condition is characterized by visual dimness and loss of visual clarity, and occurs with greater frequency in patients who had been taking hormone therapy prior to the LASIK surgery. This condition typically heals itself within the first three months after surgery.

Dry Eye

Dry Eye is one of the more common among the known side effects of LASIK surgery and is characterized primarily by dry, itchy eyes; other symptoms associated with this condition may include redness, blurring, crustiness, or the feeling that there is a foreign object or dust in the eye. This condition usually subsides within the first three months after surgery and may be treated with lubricating eye drops in the meantime.

Infection and delayed healing

Approximately 0.1 percent of all patients suffer from corneal infection after PRK and slightly fewer after LASIK. This usually means an additional discomfort and slower healing, but no long-term effects after a period of four years.

Under correction/Overcorrection – one of the most common side effects

Under correction or overcorrection is also one of the most common side effects of laser eye surgery. A surgeon cannot predict precisely how your eyes will respond to treatment. This means you might need to keep wearing corrective lenses after surgery. In some situations, you can have another surgical procedure to improve the results.

Decrease in Best-Corrected Vision

After a laser eye surgery, a few patients find that their best-corrected vision with contact lenses is worse than before. This is also one of the side effects of laser eye surgery, usually resulting from irregular tissue removal.

Excessive Corneal Haze

Corneal haze is part of the normal recovering process after a PRK procedure. It usually has no significant effect on the final vision and can be noticed only by an ophthalmologist with a microscope. However, in some cases, excessive haze can interfere with vision. The risk for having this side effect is much lower with LASIK than PRK.

Flap Damage or Loss

This side effect of laser eye surgery can only affect patients undergoing a LASIK procedure. In some cases, instead of creating a hinged flap on the center of the cornea, the entire flap tissue comes off. This can usually be replaced after the laser treatment. However, in some cases, the flap can be damaged or lost.

Distorted Flap

This side effect of laser eye surgery also affects only patients who have had a LASIK procedure. It consists of a distortion in the shape of the cornea created during the healing process, which can result in a lower best-corrected vision.

Other Side Effects of Laser Eye Surgery

Even when both the procedure and the healing process seem to go perfectly, there are some side effects that may still cause dissatisfaction. Older patients, for example, cannot have both good distance and near vision in the same eye without wearing glasses or contact lenses. Patients suffering from myopia which could still read without glasses may no longer be able to do that after surgery. If both eyes are not treated in the same time, the eyes might work awkward together in the period within the two treatments.