Risks and Limitations
Laser vision correction is an exciting medical procedure that can help transform an individual's life. However, as with all medical procedures, perfect results cannot be guaranteed. Almost all patients experience improved vision and a majority improve to 20/20, but not everyone. Many who do not achieve 20/20 are the next from the bottom line on the vision chart, which is very acceptable vision without glasses or contacts. Individuals who have the expectation of perfection should come in for a Free Lasik Screening to allow Dr. Carlson to determine the probability of you achieving the results you want.
Laser vision correction corrects your DISTANCE vision. Past the age of 40 to 45 everyone starts to need reading glasses or bifocals— laser vision correction will not prevent this. If you are over 40 and are accustomed to reading without glasses, you should know that once your nearsightedness is corrected it will be harder to see up close— much like when you wear your glasses or contacts now. Thus if you are over 40 something, you will need to wear readers to see up close. Some patients may still want to wear glasses for distance at times, for instance, for night driving.
Everyone responds and heals differently depending partly on your prescription, age and individual healing. Because of this variability, no guarantees as to your final vision or speed of recovery can be given. Patients who are farsighted have a longer recovery compared to nearsighted patients.
The most common complication with LASIK surgery is an undercorrection or overcorrection requiring a second treatment or enhancement. Enhancements are a part of doing LASIK surgery and perhaps, it is not even appropriate to call them complications. Approximately 2% will need to have an enhancement in order to see 20/40 (driving vision), and 10% choose to have an enhancement even though they may be seeing fairly well. Not all patients can be ideally corrected even with retreatment and some will need to wear glasses or contacts afterwards.
With more than two million procedures done in the United States alone, serious complications have been reported at a rate of less than one-percent.
Most people have some dryness to their eyes for several months after LASIK, and many have some glare or rings around lights at night that lessens over time. This night glare is similar to that seen with contact lenses but if you have very large pupils or were very nearsighted, it can persist and be bothersome.
LASIK requires the use of a laser to create a "flap" of cells that will be reseated after your laser treatment. To create this flap it is necessary to be able to open your eyelids wide enough to fit the suction ring. If this ring will not fit on your eye then LASIK may not be an option for you.