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What are the risks associated with laser eye surgery? I have very bad eyesight and am tired of wearing glasses, but i'm afraid that laser eye surgery could make me go blind. Is that a possibility? Are there any serious side effects of the surgery?

2 doctors weighed in
Dr. Gary Hirshfield
Ophthalmology

In brief: There are risks

Lasereyesurgery perfomed with the correct pre, intra and postoperative care is often life changing.
However, there are potential complicatiuons for every type of surgery.Night vision disturbances, glare and halos are common, often improve and usually tolerable. More severe complications such as inflammations and infections can often be treated with good results.Major visual loss is rarely possible.

In brief: There are risks

Lasereyesurgery perfomed with the correct pre, intra and postoperative care is often life changing.
However, there are potential complicatiuons for every type of surgery.Night vision disturbances, glare and halos are common, often improve and usually tolerable. More severe complications such as inflammations and infections can often be treated with good results.Major visual loss is rarely possible.
Dr. Gary Hirshfield
Dr. Gary Hirshfield
Thank
Dr. Andrew Doan
Ophthalmology

In brief: With

With all surgeries, there are risks.
The risk of going blind is very, very small, but it is a real risk. Surgeon and clinic selection is extremely important. Experienced and well trained surgeons will be able to detect on an eye exam findings that may increase your risk of having problems with lasik. Here are some risks patients may experience (from fda site): * some patients lose vision. Some patients lose lines of vision on the vision chart that cannot be corrected with glasses, contact lenses, or surgery as a result of treatment. * some patients develop debilitating visual symptoms. Some patients develop glare, halos, and/or double vision that can seriously affect nighttime vision. Even with good vision on the vision chart, some patients do not see as well in situations of low contrast, such as at night or in fog, after treatment as compared to before treatment. * you may be under treated or over treated. Only a certain percent of patients achieve 20/20 vision without glasses or contacts. You may require additional treatment, but additional treatment may not be possible. You may still need glasses or contact lenses after surgery. This may be true even if you only required a very weak prescription before surgery. If you used reading glasses before surgery, you may still need reading glasses after surgery. * some patients may develop severe dry eye syndrome. As a result of surgery, your eye may not be able to produce enough tears to keep the eye moist and comfortable. Dry eye not only causes discomfort, but can reduce visual quality due to intermittent blurring and other visual symptoms. This condition may be permanent. Intensive drop therapy and use of plugs or other procedures may be required. * results are generally not as good in patients with very large refractive errors of any type. You should discuss your expectations with your doctor and realize that you may still require glasses or contacts after the surgery. * for some farsighted patients, results may diminish with age. If you are farsighted, the level of improved vision you experience after surgery may decrease with age. This can occur if your manifest refraction (a vision exam with lenses before dilating drops) is very different from your cycloplegic refraction (a vision exam with lenses after dilating drops). * long-term data are not available. Lasik is a relatively new technology. The first laser was approved for lasik eye surgery in 1998. Therefore, the long-term safety and effectiveness of lasik surgery is not known.

In brief: With

With all surgeries, there are risks.
The risk of going blind is very, very small, but it is a real risk. Surgeon and clinic selection is extremely important. Experienced and well trained surgeons will be able to detect on an eye exam findings that may increase your risk of having problems with lasik. Here are some risks patients may experience (from fda site): * some patients lose vision. Some patients lose lines of vision on the vision chart that cannot be corrected with glasses, contact lenses, or surgery as a result of treatment. * some patients develop debilitating visual symptoms. Some patients develop glare, halos, and/or double vision that can seriously affect nighttime vision. Even with good vision on the vision chart, some patients do not see as well in situations of low contrast, such as at night or in fog, after treatment as compared to before treatment. * you may be under treated or over treated. Only a certain percent of patients achieve 20/20 vision without glasses or contacts. You may require additional treatment, but additional treatment may not be possible. You may still need glasses or contact lenses after surgery. This may be true even if you only required a very weak prescription before surgery. If you used reading glasses before surgery, you may still need reading glasses after surgery. * some patients may develop severe dry eye syndrome. As a result of surgery, your eye may not be able to produce enough tears to keep the eye moist and comfortable. Dry eye not only causes discomfort, but can reduce visual quality due to intermittent blurring and other visual symptoms. This condition may be permanent. Intensive drop therapy and use of plugs or other procedures may be required. * results are generally not as good in patients with very large refractive errors of any type. You should discuss your expectations with your doctor and realize that you may still require glasses or contacts after the surgery. * for some farsighted patients, results may diminish with age. If you are farsighted, the level of improved vision you experience after surgery may decrease with age. This can occur if your manifest refraction (a vision exam with lenses before dilating drops) is very different from your cycloplegic refraction (a vision exam with lenses after dilating drops). * long-term data are not available. Lasik is a relatively new technology. The first laser was approved for lasik eye surgery in 1998. Therefore, the long-term safety and effectiveness of lasik surgery is not known.
Dr. Andrew Doan
Dr. Andrew Doan
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