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How Safe Is Laser Eye Surgery?

Updated on January 28, 2013

Introduction to Laser Eye Corrective Surgery

In considering the question, is laser eye surgery safe, the simple answer is yes.  All procedure used are FDA approved and most have been done for a decade longer over in Europe.  The longer answer is that safe does not always mean uncomplicated, so being able to weigh the risks of side effects with the potential vision gains is key.  Though many laser eye surgery procedures exist the two most common types are LASIK and PRK.  Both surgeries are designed to reshape the cornea, the simple difference is that they use different methods of doing so.  As with any medical process, there are always risks and always exceptions, and there are many individuals who may not qualify for corrective laser surgery for their eyes because of the specific situation or problems their eyes have. 

More on Eye Laser Surgery Treatments

Both LASIK and PRK laser eye surgery starts with an evaluation from a specialist to determine if you’re a likely successful candidate for surgery.  This narrowing of the entrance pool, so to speak, ensures a greater measure of success with a reduction in the number of complications.  It should be understood that neither surgery is considered miraculous and the eyes require time to heal.  It should also be understood that the odds are against achieving 20/20 vision through laser eye surgery, even if your prescription is minimal.

The most common side effects for laser eye surgery are vision aberrations such as light halos, light sensitivity, or impaired night vision.  Dryness, itching, or burning sensations are also commonly reported after laser eye surgery.  These effects should be temporary, alleviating themselves within a few days.  Pain should be mild enough to be eased with NSAID pain relievers, such as Ibuprofen.  More severe pain should be reported immediately.  Though the risk is minimal, equipment malfunction, surgeon error, or infection may worsen your vision.  Additionally there is a chance that you would need a secondary procedure, or enhancement, several months after an initial procedure.

Cartoon of Lasik Eye Surgery Video

Possible Side Effects of Laser Eye Surgery Treatment

Because laser eye surgeries create a flap on the surface of the eye, contact sports or trauma run the risk of producing flap dislocation.  There is also a chance that laser eye surgery may overcorrect a vision problem, or that the improvement in vision might not be permanent.  To reduce these risks, the following steps are recommended.  First, become an informed consumer.  Read up on risks and benefits, surgeons, procedures and the like.  Two, find a surgeon and clinic that you trust.  Three, follow their advice to the letter.  If an experienced surgeon qualifies you for laser eye surgery, the likelihood that laser eye surgery is safe for you is quite high.

Other Links of Interest

These links might not be on eye laser surgery, but they are on cosmetic surgeries or various topics involving health that many people might find interesting for further reading.

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Comments on Laser Eye Surgery?

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    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

      Thank you for a very informative and comprehensive hub.

    • Marisa Wright profile image

      Marisa Wright 6 years ago from Sydney

      The bottom line with laser eye surgery is this - for most people, the only reason you're doing it is for vanity. Sure, the risk of serious complications is about one in a million - but is it really worth risking your eyesight just because you're too vain to wear glasses?

      I know several people who've had Lasik and are delighted with the result - but I also know one person who had complications and ended up needing complicated tear duct surgery. That's enough to make me think twice!

    • abrarr profile image

      abrarr 6 years ago from USA

      man that was a nice, beautiful, informative hub i've ever read related to this topic. information was genuine and new, hub setting is good and guiding for other new hubbers like me. thancs for producing useful hub for me!!

    • Jerry G2 profile image

      Jerry G2 6 years ago from Cedar Rapids, IA

      Great comments! I'm rather torn on it myself. I can definitely see the appeal, but it only takes the one in a million to go wrong and then it is very serious. Plus I always hesitate over something new enough that you don't have long term data. It's definitely much safer than it used to be, and I've also wondered about it from the "my eye sight has stabilized out now, but what if I don't do it and later on my sight declines again?" It would seem to be a missed opportunity for sure. Laser eye surgery is definitely not something to take lightly. Thanks for the comments!

    • ftclick profile image

      ftclick 6 years ago

      not sure what is needed when you naturally age and things that are very close to you (4 inches or less) now become blurry.

    • dosters profile image

      dosters 6 years ago from Chicago

      I have considered getting laser eye surgery because I am a baseball umpire during the summers and wearing contacts is a pain with the dust. The best umpires have good if not perfect vision, and not having to wear corrective lenses would definitely be a plus. No more glasses would be fine too, but I don't really mind them. I hate when my kids move them though because then I can't see them. I keep on thinking"If I only had my glasses, I could find the darn things!"

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