Thanks to Miami LASIK surgery, millions of people throughout the world are less dependent on glasses or contact lenses. Still, the decision to undergo LASIK should be approached with caution. Because LASIK is still considered a surgical technique, some serious potential risks — though rare — are associated with it.
Because LASIK is an elective procedure, you should always remember that you can opt for safer and still effective nonsurgical alternatives, such as wearing glasses and contact lenses.
When considering LASIK, do some homework and consult with your eye doctor to learn more about the procedure. Ask about potential LASIK complications as well as visual outcomes.
Inquire about the technology your LASIK surgeon uses for the procedure. In LASIK, an ultra-thin, hinged flap is lifted from the surface of your eye. After laser energy is applied to reshape the cornea, the flap is replaced to serve as a type of natural bandage.
Does your surgeon prefer a blade-created flap or a laser-created flap associated with the recent innovation of bladeless LASIK? You should also consider the newly developed eye-tracking technology in an excimer laser: it helps make inadvertent eye movement less of a problem during the eye surgery procedure. Also, “custom” or Wavefront-guided LASIK reduces the chance of nighttime visual side effects, such as glare and halos.
After you go through the education process to understand your best treatment options and the available technology, it is important to understand your surgeon's level of experience. After a balanced discussion about all these issues, you will be more prepared to make an informed decision, which will improve your chance of a good LASIK outcome.
LASIK Studies and Safety StandardsThe eye care community sets high standards for LASIK technology. In order for a LASIK laser to receive FDA approval, manufacturers are expected to have adverse event rates of less than 1 percent during clinical trials.
The FDA definition of adverse event includes a list of specific problems such as corneal swelling, flap problems, uncontrolled intraocular pressure and detached retina syndrome.
At this time, no central database of LASIK outcomes exists. At an April 2010 public hearing, the FDA announced its intentions to clarify information about quality-of-life issues and details about what can go wrong in a LASIK procedure. The idea is to make more of these types of statistics available to the public.
Most of what is currently known about visual acuity outcomes after LASIK is based on various clinical studies, especially trials the FDA requires laser manufacturers to perform to obtain approval.
Most clinical studies of LASIK vision outcomes have a few elements in common. These include:
- An assessment of how many people achieve 20/20 vision or better (so-called "perfect" vision) and how many achieve 20/40 vision or better (the minimum visual acuity required to obtain a driver's license in most states).
- A discussion of how many people get to within one diopter or a half diopter of zero refractive error. (Myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism are all refractive errors. Zero refractive error is called emmetropia.)
- Details about possible adverse events associated with LASIK.