Potential risks with LASIK

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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:48 pm
As with any surgical procedure, there are a few potential risks associated with LASIK (LAY-sick) eye surgery. It’s important to be aware of these risks so you can make informed decisions about the procedure, especially if your career depends on your vision. If you’re a pilot or a surgeon, for instance, you may not want to take any risks with eye surgery. Possible complications of LASIK include undercorrection, overcorrection, and irregular astigmatism. These conditions can occur because it’s impossible to predict how your eyes will respond to laser surgery. The incidence of these conditions is rare, however, and the problem can usually be corrected with additional surgery. Another possible hazard is an infection of the cornea developing after the procedure. Generally, this means added discomfort and a delay in healing, but it can easily be managed with treatment. Corneal haze has also been reported after LASIK surgery, and is considered part of the normal healing process. It has little effect on your long-term vision, and can only be seen by an eye doctor through a microscope. Some cases of haze, however, may be so severe that your vision becomes distorted. In addition to haze, some patients report a halo effect, or glare, which shows up around lights. This effect can interfere with driving at night. After LASIK, there’s also the possibility you may experience increased dryness of the eyes. In most cases, this clears up within three months but, for some people, it’s a permanent side effect. Although any of the risks outlined here are possible, remember that the chances of having a serious vision-threatening complication are minimal, and most people are happy with the results of LASIK surgery.
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