While the different types of laser eye surgery are renowned for its ability to help restore a 20/20 vision, however, one should be well acquainted with the LASIK side effects and complications before choosing to undergo this surgery. Most of the problems here should go away with time, but in some cases will need additional surgery. In rarer cases, it may lead to permanent problems and even vision loss.
Here are some of the side effects of LASIK:
Eye infections after LASIK surgery is usually temporary, and can be treated with antibiotic eye drops or anti-inflammatory medication such as steroids. It happens mostly with laser eye surgery that causes surface ablations such as PRK.
Damages to the nerve that stimulates tears. Individuals would have to apply eye drops daily, which then gives rise to another issue – chronic eye inflammation (due to long-term usage of eye drops). However, the discontinuation of eye drops would cause the eyes to be severely dry which would result in serious infections and eventually, a complete loss of vision.
Floaters are essentially clusters of black dots and lines. During the Lasik procedure, a flap is cut into the surface of the corneal (the clear domed part of the eyeball), the flap is lifted so as to remove some corneal tissue underneath and to then reshape it. However, in the event that the flap is folded back down with crinkles or does not adhere to the eye properly, it would cause spotty and speckled visions.
Irreversible Cornea Changes
Changes made to the cornea cannot be reversed after LASIK. That is to say, if part of the cornea has been lasered inaccurately, it would result in CHRONIC poor night vision, and that is irreversible!
Glare, Halo, Starbursts surrounding Lights
Some patients experience difficulty seeing at night, with night vision problems such as glare, halo and starbursts disturbance which can affect one’s quality of life.
This problem will cause one to have difficulty driving at night. This happens in the early stages after treatment but will gradually subside over the period of 3 to 4 months. Precautions will be taken as pupil size in dim light is measured before the surgery and you will be advised if you are susceptible to this effect after surgery.
Most patients will experience some form of fluctuation in their vision after LASIK, but many will never notice it. Any fluctuation will usually subside within a few weeks. However, there are some that will have more severe fluctuating vision problems.
Growths where the eye is cut
There may be unwanted growth of corneal epithelial cells in the eye, which will cause one’s vision to be blocked, causing plenty of distress to the patient. You can read more on US celebrity Kathy Griffin’s unwanted epithelial cell growth.
Double vision/foggy vision
Another LASIK side effect will be double vision, or also called “ghost vision”. In the more serious cases, the eye will need re-treatment.
Chronic eyelid inflammation
Severe inflammation of the eyelid, or Blepharitis can be very acute. It can take up to 4 weeks to heal, causing lots of discomfort to the patient.
Under or over-corrections
While this LASIK side effect is rare, it may still happen. For example, a person with initial 1000 degrees of Myopia may be left with 50 degrees in a case of under-correction. In the event that this happens, a top-up laser (enhancement or retreatment procedures) can be performed 3 months after the first laser treatment. However, individuals whose eyes with very thin or steep corneas or high degrees of refractive errors may not be eligible for enhancement procedures)
Complications and Corneal/Flap issues
- Incomplete or irregular corneal flaps
- Flaps that are too small or too thin
- Buttonholes (small holes or tears in the center of the flap)
- Free caps (flaps without a hinge)
While a majority of patients should get a 20/20 vision, however, studies have shown that some patients will still require glasses even when eyesight is successfully corrected. So, these are some of the LASIK side effects and complications which we hope you will not experience.
Should you still want to understand more, you can find out about the LASIK procedure. You can also refer to our Laser Eye Surgery Checklist to understand better should you choose to go for laser eye surgery.