The short answer is yes. This technology aimed at fixing vision is widely used, and many patients are satisfied with the results. However, not everyone is happy, and some of the adverse effects associated with Lasik are not as rare as they seem to be and can affect your vision permanently.
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The term Lasik defines a kind of eye surgery aimed at vision correction, which can help you avoid wearing glasses or contact lenses. It is the most commonly used type of vision correction, and it was approved by the FDA in the 1990s. Since then, myriads of people have had their vision corrected with the help of lasers.
While the Lasik story seems to be a success, there are many people who would dismiss such definitions as misleading. The reason is their vision deteriorated after it to such an extent that they could not keep doing their usual activities.
Not so rare
Most ophthalmologists promote Lasik as a nearly foolproof method which has enabled millions of people to stop wearing glasses. They say complications are rare, and even if you experience adverse effects, they are usually mild and resolve on their own within several months. The truth is, Lasik is capable of causing eye damage which can persist and transform into eye pain.
According to a paper recently published by the FDA, half of patients undergoing such treatment experience side effects, and one third reports developing dry eyes. It is worthy of note that the figures include those who had otherwise healthy eyes before Lasik, and it was the first time they had these symptoms.
Lasik’s popularity is impressive: in 2016, over 700,000 surgical interventions of the kind were performed, despite its being costly (around $4,000). Many studies sponsored by organizations and companies related to laser production suggest most patients are satisfied with the results, but even they admit that about 50% of patients have dry eyes in a 5-year perspective, 20% feel pain or soreness in the eyes, around 40% report becoming light-sensitive, and about a third had difficulty driving when it’s dark or doing activities that require seeing something close to the patient.
Severe pain resulting from Lasik is a rare complication, but two cases of suicides following vision correction were also reported. For those interested in the issue, there is a website run by proponents of withdrawal of the FDA’s approval.
Possible Lasik complications
The list of Lasik-induced adverse effects includes the following:
- Dry eyes. This adverse effect is the most common one, and around 50% of all patients have dry eyes even years after surgery. Some cases are mild and can be managed using artificial tears or similar products, but others are not that easy to treat.
- Halos, double vision and starbursts. Bright objects, like lamps, may appear as surrounded by halos or starburst. Some people start seeing all their As, Bs and Cs after Lasik, but they appear as thee As, three Bs, etc. Such vision aberrations can be temporarily or persist.
- Improper corrections. In some cases, a surgeon removes an insufficient amount of tissue to fix your vision, or removes too much of it. If it happens, another Lasik is required (though it can be performed only after one year passes).
Other adverse effects may include infections and vision changes: after the surgery, you may stop seeing the difference between some shades of grey, at least to some extent, and other aberrations may follow.
Patient-reported outcomes 5 years after laser in situ keratomileusis – Jcrsjournal.org