What Are The Side Effects of Laser Eye Treatment?

Many people are justifiably concerned about the side effects of laser eye treatment. After all, vision is the key to taking in and responding to the world, so it pays to be very careful with your eyesight. Therefore, if you are considering having laser eye treatments you will want to look at the statistics and evaluate your own personal risk factors.

First and foremost, you will want to separate the facts from the fiction. Searching the Internet for data on the side effects of laser treatment for eyes will often lead you to websites with a specific agenda to promote. Do not trust data from attorney’s websites, “victim” sites that ask for donations, or unmoderated public bulletin boards. Many of these sites will be pushing you to a course of action which either directly benefits them or unnecessarily alarms you.

A much better option is to seek out information from industry watchdogs, professional medical societies, patient advocacy groups or government reporting agencies. The US Food and Drug Administration, the American Association of Professional Eye Care Specialists, or USAeyes, a leading patient advocacy group, are all good sources of information on side effects. They will all provide you with up to date and factual information you can use to make an intelligent and informed decision about your level of risk and best course of action.

Once you have separated out the myths and deceptions, you can look objectively at the potential side effects you will need to take into account before deciding to have your eyes done. The most common side effects are (not in order of prevalence):
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Visual fluctuations
  • Dry eye
  • Glare
  • Ghosting
  • Halos around light sources (especially at night)
  • Headaches
  • Double vision
  • Loss of vision
  • Infection
  • Scratchiness and/or irritation
According to the US Food and Drug Administration, only 1% – 5% of patients experience any level of complication or side effect from the surgery. The American Journal of Ophthalmology reported in a study from March of 2006 that the most common side effect was dry eye, which was experienced by 36.6% of patients. However, many dry eye symptoms were caused by the healing process and cleared up completely by six months after surgery.

Some patients do have heightened risk factors for side effects from laser eye treatment that will need to be taken into account. Severe vision impairment, diabetes and chronic dry eye prior to surgery can all change the outcomes of the surgery. Interestingly enough, extremely large pupils are also a contributing factor to many of light sensitivity and glaring/ghosting side effects, so be sure to discuss this with your doctor prior to surgery as compensating operating strategies can be employed to mitigate this risk.


Post a Comment