LASIK is a laser eye surgery that corrects vision problems like astigmatism, nearsightedness, and farsightedness. The procedure is an excellent alternative to wearing glasses or contact lenses. Like any other surgical procedure, it carries some risks that can be minimized or eliminated. Here are some risks and how to lessen them:
Overcorrection and Undercorrection
LASIK involves reshaping the cornea using laser technology. Inappropriate shaping can lead to overcorrection or undercorrection. Overcorrection occurs when a surgeon removes too much tissue from the eyes, and undercorrection occurs when they remove too little tissue.
You can reduce your risk by choosing a qualified and experienced surgeon. Find one who has thorough pre-operative preparations. Before your procedure, they should map your cornea to help determine its ideal shape. Be patient during pre-operative preparations for the best results.
LASIK maintains the epithelial membrane covering the cornea since it provides key nutrients for the eye. Keeping the flap can result in complications like a free cap and flap buttonhole. A free cap results when the flap is dislodged from the cornea, whereas a flap buttonhole occurs when the microkeratome prematurely leaves the epithelial membrane and enters the flap again. Flap complications can also occur when the epithelial flap doesn’t heal properly.
These complications are relatively rare today because of advancements in surgical technology. A surgeon can lessen this risk by using an IntraLase femtosecond laser as it’s precise. Patients can lessen the risk of complications by protecting the flap as it heals. You shouldn’t touch or move it until it’s healed.
The eye can be susceptible to infections during surgery and healing. Potential causes of infections include poor sanitation and airborne contaminants.
Choose a sanitary clinic to reduce your risk of eye infections during laser eye surgery. All LASIK equipment and operating rooms should be sterilized before the procedure. After the procedure, avoid touching your eyes to avoid transferring dirt from your hands to your eyes. Take antibiotics and use eye drops recommended by your surgeon.
A dry eye is mainly a temporary problem as LASIK causes a decrease in tear production. The complication should only last a few months as your eyes heal. It can be a long-term complication if a patient isn’t adequately evaluated before surgery. Underlying conditions like meibomian gland disease can cause long-term dryness after LASIK.
Your surgeon should conduct a thorough assessment before your procedure to identify and treat any underlying condition. You may need Omega 3 supplements to restore proper meibomian gland function before surgery. After your surgery, your surgeon may recommend eye drops. Use them as advised for quality results.
Patients who experience severe dry eyes might need to get some plugs in their tear ducts. These plugs can prevent tears from evaporating too fast from the surface of your eyes.
Ectasia is a rare complication characterized by an increased elasticity in the cornea. The cornea can become unstable, causing distorted vision. Your surgeon may recommend initially wearing glasses to help with vision. If the astigmatism increases, you may need to undergo a corrective surgical procedure.
The risk of ectasia can be lessened through proper pre-operative patient assessment. Before the surgery, your surgeon should conduct epithelial thickness mapping and biomechanical checks to determine if your cornea is at risk of developing ectasia.
Patients can experience visual disturbances like halos, glares, and double vision that worsen in low-light conditions. These disturbances are temporary and correct themselves over time when the fluid in the treated cornea clears.
Only use the prescribed eye drops and avoid activities that may strain your eyes to reduce visual disturbances. These include using your computer or phone or reading for long periods.
Regression occurs if the cornea doesn’t heal properly after the surgery. Lessen the risk of regression by following your doctor’s aftercare instructions. Your surgeon may recommend regular eye exams to check if your cornea is healing as it should and assess your vision.
The Risks of Laser Eye Surgery Are Manageable
Laser eye surgery is life-changing as it can correct your vision, allowing you to see without visual aids. The surgery is relatively low risk when performed by a qualified surgeon. Look for one with an established track record of treating patients with the same visual problems. They should also have up-to-date medical equipment for effective eye mapping and maintain a sanitary environment for increased patient safety.