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Is Laser Eye Surgery Safe?

A doctor examines a patient's eyes before laser eye surgery.
Any kind of eye surgery comes with a certain amount of risk for complications.
Article Details
  • Written By: J. Beam
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 11 September 2014
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Like any surgery, laser eye surgery carries some risks for the patient. Most surgeons who specialize in this type of surgery claim that, while not every patient experiences corrected vision, the risks of serious complications are low. Though this may be true, there are some complications that may warrant more concern.

The most common complication is failure to correct vision. Some patients who undergo laser eye surgery need a second surgery. Since most health insurance plans do not cover even the first one, this is an expense the patient must incur. In some cases, little or no vision correction is achieved. This makes the surgery a financial risk as well as a health risk. While every potential patient is supposed to be examined to determine if he or she are a valid candidate, each person should be certain that his or her surgeon and staff are experienced and competent enough to make that determination.

Other potential complications that have been known to result from laser eye surgery include increased dry eye symptoms, blurred night vision, and “halo” vision. In addition, some people experience worse vision than before the surgery. These are all potential risks that should be properly explained to the patient before undergoing surgery.

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The most serious complications are rarer, but have occurred. They include corneal damage and loss of vision. Again, these complications, though rare, are very serious and should be thoroughly explained by the surgeon — not a member of his staff.

There have been over a million cases of successful laser eye surgery in the United States alone. If a person feels the potential benefits far outweigh the risks, there are measures he or she can take to increase the odds of success. Patients should choose a surgeon who is experienced and remember that older does not necessarily mean better. Because this surgery has only been around a short number of years, it only matters how many surgeries the doctor has performed — not the number of years he or she has been in practice.

Potential patients should make sure the facility they choose allows them to consult with the surgeon prior to the day of surgery and that the evaluation is thorough. There is a specific procedure for determining candidacy for laser eye surgery. An inexperienced doctor could misdiagnose a condition that is causing vision problems and that condition may not be responsive to laser surgery. People who do undergo the surgery should make sure they follow the surgeon’s post-operative instructions exactly.

In the end, if a person can afford laser eye surgery, has found a competent doctor that he or she is comfortable with, and the surgeon has discussed all the potential risk factors, then the patient stands a good chance of reaping the benefits of the surgery. While this is not the most dangerous of all surgeries, it is not fail-proof. A patient may very well walk out with improved vision, which would be a blessing to anyone with poor vision, but he or she should be sure to have realistic expectations.

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Discuss this Article

burcidi
Post 10

@ankara-- That is not true!

First of all, I don't think that any surgery can be one hundred percent safe. Laser eye surgery might not be the most complicated surgery, but it does carry risks and the article already mentioned them.

Don't forget that the doctor has to cut and open the cornea to get to the pupil to do this surgery. So if nothing else, there is the risk that the cornea will not heal perfectly or quickly.

bluedolphin
Post 9

Laser eye surgery is as safe as wearing contacts.

burcinc
Post 8

From what I understand, laser eye surgery is mostly safe but it just requires so much precision. It's not an easy surgery to get right.

My teacher had a laser eye surgery at a clinic a couple of months ago. She's having it done again because apparently, the doctor didn't get it exactly right. So she went from being near-sighted to far-sighted. It's frustrating for her.

anon176550
Post 7

There are many types of eye surgeries are available for the treatment of eye patients. These days many people are suffering from eye problems. Laser surgery is very useful in almost all types of eye problems. It is compulsory for all suffering people to get all information about laser eye surgery and choose an appropriate treatment center.

anon166056
Post 6

Lasik surgery actually helps you, but if you buy the cheaper ones, it will just make your vision worse.

anon131352
Post 5

Having done the lasik operation recently (from £395 per eye), I would recommend it although I used a money-off voucher (from a friend's ambassador referral programme) cheap-laser-eye-surgery to keep quality high and costs down. I have much improved vision, however I followed the after-care eye drops religiously and I'm keeping to the follow-up appointments even though my eyes felt and looked fine two days after the surgery.

KingDream
Post 4

I had a friend that tried to get cheap laser eye surgery and it only made her vision worse. Cheap is not always the best and if you are having surgery on something as serious as your eyes then you need to save the money and find a qualified and licensed doctor. There are many cases where doctors have claimed to perform lasik eye surgery at a bargain price but do not inform the patient of extra costs or non-refundable deposits, even if you opt out of surgery. It is always best to go to a trusted doctor that you have been referred to so you know you will be getting the best care.

LitNerd
Post 3

Lasik eye surgery costs depend on where you are planning to get the procedure done. The estimated price is usually around $2,000 or more and is not always covered by your insurance company. If you are unsure, always consult your doctor and find out if you are covered by your insurance!

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