Laser Eye Treatment – 10 Risks To Consider
As laser eye treatment grows in popularity, and more and more people are choosing this route in preference to wearing glasses or contact lenses, it is wise to take just a few minutes to examine the risks of surgery. In this article we look at 10 of the more common problems associated with laser eye treatment.
Laser eye treatment has been around for several years now and as technology continues to advance and treatments of this type are more widely accepted, so more and more people are turning to laser eye surgery as an alternative to wearing glasses or contact lenses.
But what are the risks of laser eye treatment?
In spite of the fact that the chances of experiencing a serious vision-threatening complication, or severe eye injury, as a result of laser eye treatment are minimal, treatment is not without risk and in this brief article we will look at a few of the more often seen problems.
Regression: In the months following laser eye treatment some patients find that the effects of the procedure are gradually lost. This is similar to an undercorrection, and an additional treatment is often feasible.
Infection and delayed healing: There is a very small possibility (less than 1 chance in 1,000) of the cornea becoming infected following laser eye treatment. Normally, this means some discomfort and delay in healing, with no lasting effects appearing within a period of four years.
Excessive Corneal Haze: A common occurrence during the healing process following laser eye treatment is the appearance of corneal haze. More often than not, it has no, or extremely minimal, effect on final vision and can only be seen through a microscope by an eye doctor. In spite of this, there are some cases of excessive haze that interferes with vision which can often be healed by means of an additional laser treatment.
Decrease in Best-Corrected Vision: After laser eye treatment, patients sometimes find that their best obtainable vision with corrective lenses is worse that it was before laser eye treatment was undertaken. This can occur as a result of irregular tissue removal or the development of corneal haze.
Undercorrection/Overcorrection: Every human eye is unique and it is imposssible to say exactly how it is going to respond to laser eye treatment. As a result of this, you might find that you continue to require corrective lenses following surgery for good vision. In certain cases, additional surgery can be performed to improve results.
problems with a Perfect Procedure: Even when everything goes to plan, surgery can result in effects that could well cause some dissatisfaction. Older patients have to be aware that they cannot have both good near vision and good distance vision in the same eye without needing corrective lenses. Several patients suffering from myopia rely on their nearsightedness (by taking off their glasses, or by wearing a weaker prescription) when they want to read. Such patients may need to use glasses when reading after the myopia is corrected surgically.
Flap Damage or Loss: The flap of tissue created on the central cornea can come off, rather than remaining hinged to the cornea. In this case the flap can be replaced after the procedure, however, the risk of loss, or damage to, the flap still remains.
Halo Effect: The halo effect is an optical effect that is noticed in dim light. The untreated peripheral part of the cornea generates a secondary, if somewhat faded, image as the pupil opens. For a few patients the halo effect can cause difficulties when driving at night.
Severe dry eye syndrome: The eye may be unable to produce sufficient tears to keep the eye both moist and comfortable because of laser eye treatment. Dry eye not only leads to discomfort, but can reduce visual quality due to intermittent blurring and other visual symptoms. This condition can be permanent. Intensive drop therapy or other procedures may be required.
Distorted Flap: Irregular healing of the corneal flap can create a distorted corneal shape, resulting in a fall in the degree of corrected vision.
Now at this point you've probably decided that laser eye treatment is just too risky, but let's just put things into perspective.
Although the risks mentioned here are extremely real risks and are seen occasionally, the chances of coming across any of these problems is most certainly minimal. Many thousands of procedures are performed every day and, in the vast majority of cases, patients are very happy with the results.
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