Is LASIK Safe? Possible Risks Of Laser Eye Surgery

You may find the use of contact lenses and spectacles inconvenient for a number of reasons. It could be the hassle of carrying them around, a risk factor due to the nature of your job, the time they take up in your daily routine, or simply the associated expenses.

In such a case, one may consider the option of laser eye surgery. Commonly referred to as LASIK — which stands for laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis — this type of surgery uses a laser to correct problems like nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.

As evident from the popularity of the surgery, eye health experts assure that serious complications from LASIK are rare. It was described as the "safest, most effective procedure that’s ever existed in ophthalmology" by Eric Donnenfeld, a former president of the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery. 

Nevertheless, as a part of the consultation, you will want to know the risks and side effects involved even if you are a good candidate. Here are a few of the possibilities.

Dry eyes

While this is the most commonly reported side effect, it is only temporary. Patients may experience dryness in their eyes anywhere between a few weeks to six months after the surgery.   

This is most likely to affect older adults, those with autoimmune disorders, or people who take certain medications. Your surgeon may recommend a few simple steps to reduce this risk such as using eye drops or consuming flaxseed oil or fish oil.

Overcorrection or undercorrection

The surgery involves the use of a laser to cut and reshape the cornea, which is the domeshaped outer layer of the eye. As a result, it is possible that the removal involves too much tissue (i.e. overcorrection) or not enough tissue (i.e. undercorrection).

The latter, of course, is easier to fix with the help of a second procedure. As for overcorrection, treatment is slightly harder and will depend on the individual case. There are instances when the overcorrection or undercorrection is only mild and does not impact the patient enough to warrant any kind of treatment.

Problems with vision 

Even when the primary eyesight issue is fixed, some patients may become more prone to glare, double vision, or seeing halos around bright lights. Additionally, you might not be able to see as well as you used to when in dim light settings. In very rare cases, the patient may experience loss of vision, distorted vision or chronic pain.

But Christopher Hood, from the University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center, assures "the risk is much lower than it used to be and the technology is much better. The treatment zone is much larger now, covering the entire cornea."