Pros and Cons of LASIK Surgery
When comes down to weighing the pros and cons of LASIK surgery, there are a lot of questions to ask. Will my vision be perfect the first time, or will I need to have another surgery done? Will LASIK complicate or increase my chances of developing other eye problems? Does LASIK hurt? Will my recovery time be long?
With so many questions regarding LASIK surgery, look no further than below for the pros and cons.
Let’s start off with cons, shall we?
- Overcorrection/Undercorrection: During LASIK, tissue is removed from your cornea. If too much tissue is removed (overcorrection) or too little tissue is removed (undercorrection) after the procedure, it can tamper with your normal optical functions. Although undercorrection can be fixed through another surgery, it’s usually harder correct overcorrection (there are, however, ways to correct it).
- Halos/Glare at night: As the numbing drops wear off from surgery, the eyes will begin to be sensitive to light, and one symptom that can last up to six months post-procedure is the occurrence of halos or glare from lights at nighttime. Fortunately, however, your eyes will adjust to this over time.
- Dry Eyes: Some patients experience dry eyes after LASIK for the first few weeks to a couple of months. The symptoms will subside eventually, but for the time being it’s suggested patients use lubricating eye drops. If the eyes just seem to be extremely dry, a visit to the eye doctor for an examination is recommended. You may need to undergo another procedure where plugs will be inserted into your tear ducts, ultimately helping with dry eyes.
In 2009 a study was done by the FDA (Federal Drug Administration) concerning the outcomes of LASIK. Participants were observed for up to 3 months post-procedure, and 23% developed dry eyes after LASIK (they did not have dry eyes before the procedure), 5% with moderate dry eye and 4% with severe dry eye. Although these numbers may seem high, it’s important to note that symptoms from LASIK can occur up to 6 months after the procedure, and the study was only done for half of the recovery time—“I’ve done many studies looking at LASIK outcomes and I’ve found that the incidence of the signs and symptoms of dry eye are most pronounced between one to three months, and then improve markedly at six to 12 months…This also applies to glare, halo and starbursts. These symptoms are more pronounced in the early postop period and then tend to subside at six to 12 months,” said Dr. Edward Manche, MD, Director of Cornea and Refractive Surgery at the Stanford University Eye Laser Center.
- Painless: If you’re one to worry about pain during LASIK, have no fear. numbing drops are applied to the eyes before the procedure and the numbing should last until after the procedure. You can take over-the-counter medications to help with any mild pain you’ll feel once the numbing drops wear off. Some patients just can’t fathom the idea of having anyone do anything to their eyes so in cases like this, the LASIK surgeon might administer a mild sedative for the procedure.
- Recovery Time: Most patients will go home (being driven by a friend or family member, of course) and take a nap after their LASIK procedure, and many report feeling great and seeing perfectly when waking up. Not just that, but most people resume their normal activities the next day.
- Change in Lifestyle: LASIK can correct other vision problems like nearsightedness and astigmatism during the procedure, plus no longer having to wear corrective lenses is a major plus for LASIK patients. Instead of being nervous to swim or play sports (due to glasses), patients who have undergone LASIK can live an active lifestyle.
- Any age: Anyone at any age can have LASIK done! Before patients undergo surgery, their eye surgeon will assess their eyes to ensure that they are proper candidates for LASIK.
Dr. Francis price Jr., and his wife, Marianne Price, PhD, from Indianapolis performed a study based on satisfaction of LASIK patients post-procedure vs. contact lens wearers. 98% of patients that had undergone LASIK said they would “Strongly Agree” that they would recommend the procedure to their friends and family. It is also noted in this study that patients who received LASIK did suffer from symptoms (dry eye), but the percentages of patients experiencing any serious problems declined two years later.
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