Possible Complications And/Or Side Effects Of Laser Eye Surgery:
As stated above, there have been no reported cases of blindness as a result of undergoing laser eye surgery. But it is possible for blindess to result from an untreated complication of surgery. Even complications that are not treated, and cause permanent damage to the cornea, can be remedied by replacing the cornea with donor tissue. These operations are quite routine for specially trained corneal surgeons, and corneal donor tissue is easy to obtain.
Occurs when the laser is not aligned properly with the pupil. Treatable with a second procedure.
Most laser eye surgery patients experience dry eyes after the procedure, some for days, others for months. This problem is easily solved with artificial tear drops, available at any pharmacy. Dry eyes are more common in LASIK procedures than PRK.
An absense of tissue in the center of the flap caused by reduction in pressure during the microkeratome pass. Treatable by replacing the flap, waiting for the cornea to heal (about three months) and undergoing a second procedure.
Haze exists when new collagen fibrils form proteins on the surface of the eye as it attempts to heal itself after surgery. This is usually temporary and often undetectable by the patient. More common with PRK patients, and extremely rare with LASIK procedures.
Similar to glare. Halos usually disipate in a few days.
Very rare, as antibiotic drops are used on your eyes before, during, and after your surgery.
Loss of contrast sensitivity:
Some patients report difficulty reading in dim light, or reading street signs that are in sharply contrasting colors. Usually diminishes over time, but there is a chance it could be permanent.
Extreme sensitivity to light, usually clears up within a few days.
Virtually non-existant, as your eyes are anesthetized during the procedure. After the surgery you may feel scratching, burning, or gritty feelings, but this is temporary. PRK can be more painful than Lasik, post-op.
"Sands of the Sahara":
Also known as diffuse interlamellar keratitis, it is the presence of inflammatory white blood cells that collect under the corneal flap. It is treated with cortisone-type steroidal eyedrops and sometimes by lifting the flap and manually scraping away the debris.
A common side effect of laser eye surgery, similar to glare and halos.
This simply means that the full desired effect on your vision was not acheived, and a second procedure known as an "enhancement" is performed to further improve your vision.
Overall, complications from laser eye surgery are extremely rare. Side effects are also rare, and most are temporary as a natural part of the healing process. In fact, your chance of a minor complication from your laser eye procedure are about 1 to 2 percent. Chances of a major complication are even lower, at about 0.1 percent. There have been NO reported cases of blindness (vision strength less than 20/200 that cannot be corrected) resulting from laser vision correction. But as rare as they are, complications do occur. Here is a general list of potential problems:
A condition in which cells from the outer layer of the cornea (epithelium) migrate under the corneal cap. Treated by simply scraping away the cells from both the bed and underside of the cap. If left untreated, this growth can enlarge and impair vision.
Folds or wrinkles in the corneal flap that cause the surface of the cornea to be irregular, reducing quality of vision. Easily fixed by lifting the flap and smoothing out the wrinkles.
Discomfort in bright light, can also make night driving difficult. It is usually temporary and lasts for a few days, although it may become permanent if you have very large pupils.
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