What are the Long-Term Effects of Lasik?
Lasik vision correction surgery is a widely performed procedure designed to help improve the eyesight. This procedure can often completely eliminate the need for corrective lenses in some patients with a good surgical outcome. While the Lasik procedure is a relatively quick and easy surgery, there can be risks and complications. With Lasik vision correction surgery becoming a popular option for people who depend on glasses or contacts, many wonder about the long-term effects.
The Lasik surgery can often drastically improve the vision of many people. About 94 percent of all patients find that they have improved vision almost immediately after the surgery. Many times, patients can have 20/40 eyesight or better after Lasik. A few patients do reports complications with this procedure including seeing halos around lights at nighttime, worsened vision and infections. The laser technique procedure is relatively new, so many patients are curious about the long-term effects of Lasik.
Modern Lasik surgery was first performed in the United States in 1991. A sort of Lasik procedure was performed much earlier than this though. In 1948 eye vision correction was performed. This procedure was much more involved than the current technique. It involved cutting and stitching the cornea back in place. This early procedure was only performed in very extreme cases and at the time was very experimental. Early eye correction surgeries had results that were often unpredictable and risky. Now, many people can have Lasik without the worry of major complications. Lasik procedures today are highly effective and are very precise.
It is important to understand that since the modern technique of Lasik has only been used for about ten years, doctors do not know the long-term effects. Scientist who research and track Lasik complications, believes that there are probably no significant long-term effects from this surgery. It is known that early forms of vision correction seemed to work well and did not have negative long-term effects. The excimer, which is the laser used during these procedures, have been used since the early 1980s. The technique of making a flap in the cornea to correct vision has been performed in the late 1940s. Neither has shown negative long-term effects on patients.
One possible long-term side effect could be reduced night vision or seeing what are called halos around lit objects in low light. One research shows that some Lasik doctors no longer use the laser technique for Lasik procedures because of the patient’s complaints of reduced night vision. The US Food and Drug Administration also warn of these effects on patients. The FDA warns that after Lasik surgery, some patients will no longer be able to drive at night. This side effect can be a major problem for some people.
Another possible long-term effect that the FDA cautions potential patients about is that the benefits of improved vision may not be permanent. They feel that the improved vision could be temporary especially for those who already depend on reading glasses. Many Lasik patients find that they still need reading glasses after the surgery is complete. Even with the surgery an immediate effect of the surgery may include the need to still wear glasses. The surgery is not designed to completely eliminate the need for glasses, but to reduce the need for them after surgery. Additionally, the need for reading glasses is caused by natural maturity of the eyes and Lasik cannot improve the need for reading glasses.
The most important part of the Lasik procedure is to make certain that you are a good candidate for the surgery. Most of the complications and side effects of Lasik are on patients who are not properly screened or who have not had proper education. A Lasik surgeon should be prepared to tell you every aspect of the surgery and determine if you can have a good outcome. People who should not have the surgery include those who suffer from diseases of the immune system, those who are under eighteen years of age, those with certain eye diseases and people who are pregnant or nursing.
Proper education about the surgery can help many potential patients understand the risks and complications prior to surgery. There are no guarantees for those who choose to have Lasik. The best Lasik patients are those who are fully informed and have realistic expectations of the procedure.
This information is not presented by a medical practitioner and is for educational and informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read. This statement has not been evaluated by the FDA and is not intended to “diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease".
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