LASIK Surgery and its Risks


Advances in medical
technology allow us to do things we only dreamed
of just 10 years ago. New procedures and devices
save and improve the quality of lives around the globe. Among elective procedures
that have made leaps and bounds in the last decade,
Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis-or LASIK
surgery–is among the most commonly performed. It is estimated
that more than 600,000 LASIK surgeries are
performed each year in the US alone for the treatment
of nearsightedness, farsightedness
and astigmatism. Most LASIK patients report
being satisfied with the results of their surgery. As with any
surgery, however, there are risks involved. That’s why it is important
to be fully informed before you decide to have
LASIK surgery. The FDA reviews clinical data from LASIK laser manufacturers showed that
the benefits outweigh the risks when used properly,
and on the right patients, LASIK is not for everyone. For it to be safe
and effective, eye doctors must carefully
evaluate their patients to determine if they are
good candidates for the procedure. Factors that may prevent you
from being a good candidate for LASIK include… Having changes in your
contact lens or glasses prescription in
the past year; Having a condition
such as diabetes, or taking medications that
may affect wound healing, such as corticosteroids
like prednisone and, Having a current or past
history of eye disease, such as glaucoma, herpes
infection or inflammation inside the eye, or a history
of eye injury or previous eye surgery. Patients should make sure
their eye doctor is aware of any eye or
medical conditions they have because these may cause them to have a bad outcome. In particular, doctors
should check for dry eyes, large pupils and
thin corneas, since these have led to
serious complications. Even if you are
a good candidate, LASIK can have
complications. These complications
include dry eyes, sensitivity to light,
blurred vision, and other visual symptoms,
such as glare, halos, starbursts, and
double vision. Such symptoms are commonly
mild and temporary, but, can become severe
and permanent, leading to loss of vision,
interference with your usual activities, and pain. Your vision may not be
fully corrected after the procedure, and so you may
require additional surgery to get the desired outcome. Also, the vision correction
you get may not be lasting and could worsen over time. These are just some of the
risks associated with LASIK. After LASIK surgery, patients may still need to wear glasses to perform certain tasks. Also, LASIK can’t
reverse presbyopia, that’s the difficulty with near
vision that comes with aging so patients may need to
wear glasses for close work and reading, even if you
didn’t need them before surgery. Ask your doctor to
provide you with your eye measurements before
the LASIK surgery. You should keep them with
your other important papers in case you need cataract
surgery in the future. They will help your doctor
calculate the lens implant power. You can find a sample form
on the Internet by going to geteyesmart.org and
searching for “K Card”. Before discussing LASIK
with your eye doctor, review the information
on FDA’s website. The information can help
guide your discussion. When talking to
your eye doctor, make sure to discuss the
risks and benefits in your case, and your alternatives
to getting LASIK surgery. Patients should talk to their eye doctor about what they expect to gain from the surgery. Before committing
to surgery, be sure to get the laser
manufacturer’s patient information booklet (or
labeling) for your LASIK treatment from your eye
doctor or FDA’s website. It provides more information
on the risks and benefits, and what to expect
before, during, and after the procedure. Read the consent form
carefully and ask questions about anything you don’t
understand before signing it. Remember-LASIK is surgery. Patients should get the facts before deciding if the procedure is right for them. For more information
on LASIK, go to www.fda.gov/lasik.

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