LASIK is a safe and efficacious refractive surgery procedure. It is also the most prevalent of all refractive eye surgery techniques. With such overwhelming prominence, LASIK is often believed to be a panacea for all refractive anomalies. Therefore, the expectation of patients undergoing LASIK is unduly high. But LASIK is a surgical procedure and it’s bound to have a few potential complications and risks. Patients who conjure up an image of LASIK, believing it to be an “elixir for the eye”, are often thwarted at the outcome of the procedure. Satisfactory results often require realistic expectations.
In most patients, LASIK is capable of enhancing un-corrected vision (without the aid of corrective lenses). Over 90% of patients with low to moderate myopia are imparted 20/40 vision, which is the benchmark for qualifying for a drivers’ license in most of the US states. Over 50% of LASIK patients are expected to achieve Snellen 20/20 vision. However, a 20/20 post-LASIK vision does not necessarily mean that you would enjoy crisp and sharp vision. While the Snellen benchmark is a useful visual acuity test, it is not the only way to assess vision. For instance, a Snellen eye exam doesn’t evaluate color and light sensitivity, night vision, or the accommodation power of your eyes (the ability to focus on nearby and far away objects intermittently).
LASIK involves rapid visual recovery and visual acuity is restored within a day or two. But it may take a fair amount of time for the complications and side effects, if any, to subside. During this period, normally 3 to 6 months, the patient might experience halos, glare and starbursts around light sources at night. Ghost vision or double vision is another reported side effect. In general, after LASIK surgery, myopic patients recover hastily when compared with hyperopic patients.
Though LASIK often eliminates the need for eyeglasses and contact lenses, some patients might still require a minimal prescription for certain activities. The need for reading glasses would typically surface beyond the age of 40, since this is when presbyopia (also called “short arm syndrome”) sets in. LASIK may also pronounce the dry eye condition. LASIK is an irreversible procedure and the physical results are permanent. However, eyes may experience age related changes even after LASIK surgery.
If you find a LASIK surgery that you are confident with, you will be able to get more information about what to expect from LASIK laser eye surgery.