It is true that laser eye surgery is a safe and efficacious procedure for correcting a host of visual anomalies. However, as with any surgical procedure, refractive surgery has potential side effects or complications. Complications due to laser eye surgery may be classified into four categories – preoperative, intra-operative, early postoperative, and late postoperative. Peruse this article to have a clear understanding of the major complications associated with laser eye surgery.
One of the more frequently reported complications is dry eye. It has been reported that the surgery worsens the dry eye condition, where the tear gland’s capacity to produce tears is diminished. Another possible complication is over/under-correction, and in the worst case, loss of corrected vision. In the latter of the mentioned complications, the postoperative visual acuity is less than the preoperative one.
Patients who have undergone laser eye surgery may experience halos or starbursts around light sources at night. The eyes may experience abnormal light sensitivity and the patient may suffer from ghost vision or double vision. Then there are a few possible flap complications. A small microkeratome malfunction may result in an inappropriately cut flap. This in turn may lead to a number of different flap complications.
The most common among flap complications is flap dislocation, where the flap no longer rests on a hinge and is rather detached from the cornea. Another flap complication involves the appearance of folds in the flap. This hampers the natural healing process and typically necessitates repositioning of the flap. On the other hand, an awry healing procedure may result in debris or growth under the flap.
Though quite uncommon with the new breed of lasers, another possible complication is “de-centered ablation”. This pertains to an imprecise ablation of the corneal tissue because of an inaccurately focused laser. Another rare laser eye surgery complication is induced astigmatism.
The rapid enhancement in laser technology and other pertinent eye surgery equipment has reduced the complication rate to a meager 3%. This is also owing to an increase in the experience of eye surgeons. All in all, laser eye surgery is a potent procedure to correct a variety of refractive errors thereby enhancing a patient’s visual acuity.