December 26, 2006

Laser Eye Surgery – Weighing Up The Pros And Cons

Poor eye sight is something which afflicts most people at some point in their lives. While for some people this means nothing more than wearing reading glasses as they approach middle age, there are many more people who have been wearing glasses and contact lenses on a regular basis for so long that they can no longer recall what life with perfect vision was like.
For these people laser eye treatment – where the cornea is reshaped by a laser – may be an interesting proposition.

However, as laser eye surgery is an expensive and permanent procedure it is not a decision to be taken lightly and there are many factors which need to be considered when weighing up the pros and cons before opting for treatment.

There is no doubt that laser eye surgery can change a person’s life in a very positive way.

For around 90% of patients, laser eye treatment means that they no longer require use of their glasses or lenses. After wearing glasses for many years, simple things such as waking up in the morning and being able to see the time on the alarm clock without reaching for your glasses first, can bring a lot of pleasure. It should be noted, however that poor night vision and seeing a halo effect around lights are a normal side effect of laser eye surgery which can make driving at night dangerous without using glasses. However, most patients consider this a small price to pay for perfect vision in the daytime.

Other than poor night vision – which may even be worse than it was prior to surgery – there are further negative factors which need to be considered when deciding whether to commit to laser eye treatment. Common side effects include dry eyes, although after a six month course of eye drops most people find this condition improves. A minority of patients, if they underwent Lasik, may also develop corneal infections. In some instances this may develop in the small flap which was cut in the cornea to allow the laser to reshape the tissue. Corneal ecstasia can occur if the cornea is weakened, as pressure can build up causing an unnatural bulging. Further surgery will be required to prevent vision loss.

There is also the risk of problems arising during surgery, although the likelihood of these occurring is very small. For instance, in Lasik the corneal flap may become detached. In most instances this can be reattached once laser treatment is complete. In a rare number of cases damage occurs to the flap which prevents this. Vision loss is possible in a failed operation, but thankfully is extremely uncommon.

Another factor in your decision should be your expectations. If you believe laser eye surgery will give you 20/20 vision and you would not be satisfied if glasses were still required after surgery, the procedure may not be for you. Although the result is usually sufficient for the patient to go without their glasses – except perhaps at night time, as previously mentioned – the result is not always perfect. Under correction or over correction can occur and it is much harder to achieve ‘perfect’ sight in patients whose vision is very poor. However, for some patients a substantial improvement in their sight is enough to justify surgery, even if they can’t quite see the bottom line on the optician’s sight chart.

The best way to make your decision is to research laser eye surgery very thoroughly. Consulting your optician or contacting a vision clinic which specialises in this treatment is a good way of obtaining information and finding out if it is a good choice for you.

LeanneWilliams has had several articles published on the subject of laser eye surgery, including Lasik

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  1. Anonymous12:07 PM

    If the patients’ eye condition is incorrectly diagnosed, the patient might develop permanent debilitating visual symptoms such as glare, halos, or double vision after the operation

  2. Anonymous12:19 PM

    The worst con from having laser eye correction surgery is the chance of loss of vision. When you experience this con, your vision cannot be corrected by contact lenses or eye glasses. You will have permanent loss of vision, and as a result, will not be able to have it corrected. This is a huge con that you really should consider, and decide if the risk is worth it to you.

  3. Anonymous12:40 PM

    If you are farsighted, as you age, the benefits of LASIK will diminish with age, you’ll need glasses or contacts in the later years.
    Many patients experience significant improvement with their vision after LASEK. But remember to have realistic expectations; your age, eye condition and health are serious considerations. You may still need to wear eyeglasses or contacts after the operation.
    Educate yourself. If you do, you’ll competently manage the pros and cons of LASIK surgery. You’ll enjoy keener eye sight afterwards.


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