Home E-Weekly November 29, 2016

The Downside of LASIK

Published: November 28, 2016

COMPLICATION RISK Patients might develop glare, halos and starbursts after surgery.

Patients who undergo LASIK surgery to correct nearsightedness and astigmatism might end up with more vision problems than they began with, according to new research published in the journal Ophthalmology

The study says 43% of 262 naval personnel and 46% of 312 civilians who underwent LASIK with no pre-procedure symptoms developed dry eye, glare, halos or starbursts after surgery. The symptoms did not hamper the lifestyle of many of the patients. Still, researchers say you should warn all LASIK patients about the possibility of developing new visual problems after undergoing the procedure.

Notably, 93% of the patients reported being satisfied with their visual outcomes at 3 and 6 months' post-op, and only 2% of patients reported dissatisfaction. However, the researchers note that patients were more likely to report the development of new visual symptoms in study-related questionnaires than to the doctors who treated them, and that might substantially underestimate the rates of symptoms.

The researchers say administering a standardized questionnaire to patients before and after LASIK would lead to more accurate assessments of visual and ocular symptoms, an enhanced understanding of patients' perceptions following surgery and, ultimately, better information for patients considering the procedure.

Daniel Cook

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