If you’re one of the many Santa Clarites (Santa Clarians?) who are considering eye surgery to have your vision corrected, it pays to know the risks before you go in. LASIK surgery is one of the most advanced forms of vision correction, and it’s hard to overstate the benefits — but we believe in making certain that our patients are fully informed about the risks, so Holbert & Associates, Santa Clara eye doctors, is going to tell you everything you should know.
The Worst News about LASIK
The single worst thing that you probably don’t know about LASIK is this: the surgery permanently thins and weakens the cornea of your eye. For the vast majority of people, this is not a problem — but a certain subset of the population suffers ectasia, a progressive bulging of the cornea that can dramatically distort your vision. A recent study found that about half of all optometrists offering LASIK have at least one patient that has suffered ectasia within 45 months of having the surgery.
The people most vulnerable to this are those who are profoundly nearsighted, those who have naturally occurring mildly-deformed corneas (‘forme fruste keratoconus’), and those with who already have naturally thin corneas. Of note: in the studies made, only people who already had one or more of these risk factors suffered from ectasia.
Common But Annoying Things That Are Often Unmentioned
Some of the most annoying problems with LASIK aren’t considered ‘complications,’ but rather merely ‘side effects.’ This labeling can mean that many doctors won’t even mention them on the list of things to worry about. The first is dry eyes — many people who get LASIK must eventually get and use eye drops regularly. Studies indicate that as many as 30% of LASIK patients develop dry eyes that last more than one year after their surgery.
The second is low-grade night vision problems, including halos and starbursts that appear around light sources when it’s dark out. These problems don’t interfere with most life activities, but can make it difficult to drive at night or otherwise perform complex, reaction-intensive activities in a dark environment. About 1 in 5 LASIK patients reported that their ability to drive at night was ‘worse’ to ‘severely impaired’ in a 2014 study.
Now you know the worst, and the least-often-mentioned annoyances for people getting LASIK surgery. It’s time to call your optometrist and talk to them about everything that LASIK can do for you — because as thousands of people prove every month, despite the potential disasters and the annoying everyday realities, LASIK is still very, very worth it.