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.
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.