Many people like the idea of getting rid of their glasses or contacts and therefore find the idea of laser eye surgery attractive. Although some people worry about the risks these are very small provided you are properly assessed in advance.
There are several types of laser eye surgery but the most common is Lasik eye surgery in which a small cut is made into the cornea and laser is used change its shape. If the patient is shortsighted it will be flattened and if the patient is longsighted it is made more curved. Once this is done the flap created by the initial cut is replaced. This procedure has been available for a number of years and is performed whilst the patient is awake although anesthetic drops will be placed in the eye and a sedative may be given.
Although the risks are very low, lasik eye surgery is still a surgical procedure and as with all such procedures can never be risk free. Possible adverse effects include problems with healing of the flap, problems with glare, seeing halos around images, poor night vision and dry eyes.
To minimize these risks screening procedures should avoid the treatment of unsuitable candidates:
- The eye should be fully matured because any changes in eye shape after surgery will affect the clarity of vision. This normally rules out anyone under eighteen although in some cases physicians may recommend waiting until later (up to twenty-five). There is no upper age limit.
- The vision prescription should be stable for at least a year again because changes afterwards will affect the result.
- The patient must have healthy eyes with no recurring problems or recent injuries or infections. Anyone who suffers from dry eyes will most likely not be suitable.
Most complaints about lasik procedures are due to unrealistic expectations (or the potential benefits being oversold):
- It is unrealistic to think that every patient will attain 20/20 vision after lasik treatment without wearing contact lenses or glasses.
- It is possible that under of over treatment can occur. There will be an improvement in vision but not a total correction. It may be possible to improve matters via further treatment.
- Lasik surgery may not remove the need for glasses/contacts all together. If reading glasses were required before they may still be required afterwards.
- Best results are found in patients who require smaller adjustments. When larger adjustments are required it is more likely that glasses or contacts will still be required.
- In some patients the effects of the lasik surgery may lessen with age.
Most generally healthy people with standard vision problems will benefit greatly from Lasik eye surgery undertaken by a trained, professional Lasik physician. It is therefore up to each individual to balance the likely benefits against the small risk and the cost and decide if this procedure is worthwhile.
You might like to watch this video which is from 2008 but gives quite a bit of info without being too long: