Common LASIK Side Effects
By Wlliam E. Holcomb, MD on May 22, 2014
As one of the most popular elective surgeries, and with an average patient satisfaction rate over 95 percent, LASIK eye surgery can be a very rewarding decision. Over 12 million people have already undergone a LASIK procedure, benefiting from dramatic and long-lasting improvements to their vision. Although treatment is deemed safe and reliable, the patients who are most likely to be completely satisfied with treatment are those who develop accurate expectations for it. After all, no procedure can guarantee perfection. Candidates for LASIK are thus advised to understand what the procedure entails, as well as the common side effects experienced during recovery.
When you visit our Cullman eye care office, we want to help educate you on any potential treatment options. If you are considering LASIK or planning on undergoing laser eye surgery in the near future, learn which side effects can be expected following treatment.
Effects on Vision
Some of the most commonly reported side effects of LASIK surgery involve temporary disturbances to one’s vision, particularly during night time or foggy weather. Although they pose no risk to one’s eyesight or general health, these effects can become inconvenient or distracting. Such disturbances include:
- Glare: Light sources may seem to emit extra luster, becoming uncomfortable to look at directly or interfering with vision of nearby objects.
- Starbursts: Rays of light may extend outward from a light source, obscuring a wider area of vision.
- Halos: Secondary rings may appear around sources of light. Halos are generally dimmer and less distracting than severe glare or starbursts.
- Hazy or blurred vision: As the corneal tissue heals over the eye, vision may be initially hazy until the lens can see clearly through it.
In a majority of cases, such disturbances fade within three to six months, and do not greatly interfere with one’s daily life. In cases of permanent effects, patients may choose to either ignore milder symptoms or undergo follow-up treatment for correction.
The nerves responsible for lubricating the eye often become temporarily interrupted during recovery, causing eyes to become drier. This can cause mild irritation and blurred vision, but is not typically cause for medical concern. The extent of dryness varies among patients, and is often dependent on the previous condition of the eyes. Patients who previously had chronic allergies or dry eyes may experience worse symptoms, while those with severely dry eyes are generally discouraged from the procedure altogether.
To offset this condition during recovery, patients may be prescribed eye drops to use as needed. Although it may be tempting to pick up an over-the-counter product, do not use any eye drops or medications that have not been approved by your doctor.
Tips for Recovery
The risks and side effects of your recovery can be minimized through the risk post-operative care. Take the following tips into consideration to avoid unnecessary complications or a longer recovery:
- Rest after surgery: Most patients are ready to return to work in the day or two after surgery. In the interim, however, spend your time resting. It is also helpful to not strain the eyes during early recovery; try to avoid reading, watching TV, or staring at a computer screen over the first 24 to 48 hours.
- Protect your eyes: Your doctor will most likely provide you with non-prescription glasses or a similar shield to protect your eyes from accidental harm. It may also be helpful to wear goggles while in the shower, as this will prevent stray soap, shampoo, and water droplets from irritating the eyes.
- Avoid makeup and irritation: The application of makeup and lotion may result in irritation and even infection of the eye. Keep foreign products away from your face as the eyes heal, and avoid touching or rubbing your eyes.
- Be wary of the sun: Your eyes will be extra sensitive to bright lights, especially the sun. Sunglasses can help your eyes remain comfortable and prevent further damage to the cornea.
Learn More about LASIK
From your initial consultation through recovery, we want to help you through the LASIK process. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Holcomb to learn more about laser eye surgery and whether you may be a good candidate.
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I went to the best of the best for LASIK: Dr. Holcomb. I highly recommend him and his staff.Courtney W.