LASIK Complications you may not know about and how to minimize them

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If you are wearing glasses or contact lenses, chances are, you would have heard about LASIK. LASIK (Laser-Assisted in Situ Keratomileusis) is a type of laser eye surgery that uses high-tech lasers to reshape the cornea and correct refractive errors. In 2016, a study was done showing that the vast majority of LASIK patients are satisfied with its almost-instantaneous healing time and excellent visual results. [1]

However, you may have come across articles online warning you about the possibility of LASIK complications. Sure enough to make you rethink, is LASIK worth it? Nowadays, LASIK is very safe and free from complications in the vast majority of patients. Nonetheless, we can’t deny that LASIK – like any other surgery – has its risks too. Read on to find out the possible LASIK complications which are rarely discussed by your doctors and clinic. We’ll also be discussing how to minimise post-op complications – so do read till the end!

“LASIK flap complications”, Sounds scary, doesn’t it? 

The defining feature of LASIK – the cut corneal flap – ironically happens to be a LASIK surgeon’s greatest source of worry.  Although it helps to protect the treated cornea surface and ensure a speedy healing, it can result in various complications.

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Flap complications can result from something as innocent such as a finger poke by a child, rubbing of the eyes, direct hit by an object, and many others. Under such circumstances, the flap may dislodge or wrinkles may result. [2] Flap complications can also present itself in the form of flap infection, Sands of Sahara, etc. This results in pain, excessive tearing, blur vision and irritation.

Chronic dry eyes after LASIK?

If you are already suffering from dry eyes, your doctor may not advise you to go for LASIK. Have you ever wondered why?

As LASIK involves the cutting of the cornea to create a flap, there are damages sustained by the nerve endings of the eye. If you opt for LASIK, you will be at higher risk of suffering from chronic dry eyes as opposed to a flap-less procedure. 3 in 10 LASIK patients experience dry eyes in the first three months post-op. [3] The majority of them will find their condition improving over time.

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Other complications which are common to all laser eye surgeries

On top of the flap complications, let’s not forget about complications which are common to all laser eye surgery procedures (including TransPRK & ReLEx SMILE).

Eye infection is one of those. Fortunately, with modern medications and proper hygiene, the incidence of sight-threatening infections is very rare. Corneal scarring can occur if your eyes are over-exposed to the uv-rays of the sun. It can be properly prevented by wearing sunglasses when you are outdoors. With modern technology, side effects such as halos, glares and under/overcorrection are uncommonly encountered.

Some tips on how to minimise LASIK complications.

Would you like to know how you can ensure a smooth healing journey from your LASIK procedure? For starters, you should do your own research prior to the surgery. Not only does this help to better inform you on what to expect, you can also find out how to take proper care for your post-surgery eyes. You should work closely with your eye surgeon and adhere closely to his/ her advice. Eye drops such as steroid and antibiotic eye drops would be prescribed. These should be applied routinely to help your eyes heal and prevent infection.

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Though surgery (including LASIK) almost always comes bundled with the potential of complications, modern surgical equipment coupled with an experienced surgeon can mitigate the risk of complications.

References:

[1] Sandoval H. P. et al (2016). Modern laser in situ keratomileusis outcomes. J Cataract Refract Surg. 2016 Aug;42(8):1224-34. doi: 10.1016/j.jcrs.2016.07.012.

[2] Sinha R, Shekhar H, Tinwala S, Gangar A, Titiyal JS (2014). Late post-traumatic flap dislocation and macrostriae after laser in situ keratomileusis. Oman J Ophthalmol 2014;7:25-7

[3] American Refractive Surgery Council (2017). LASIK Complication Rate: The Latest Facts and Stats You Should Know, from https://americanrefractivesurgerycouncil.org/lasik-complication-rate-latest-facts/

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