Good Morning America reports that the American Academy of Ophthalmology states 90% of patients achieve 20/20 vision following laser vision correction. What the AAO report does not address is that 20/20 does not mean that the patients have a good quality of visual acuity. The Good Morning America Video (video at the end) interviews both satisfied and unsatisfied patients. Some patients complain of a worsening of their dry eye symptoms, halos or shadows, glare or starbursting, poor night vision, reduced contrast or simply uncorrectable blurry vision. The vast majority of the patients that have had LASIK or PRK are happy with the result. However, laser vision correction is not reversible and some of the resultant problems from refractive surgery are not resolvable.
Options available to patients that are not happy with their surgical result, of course depend on the symptom. Some of the options available to patients are:
Post Surgical Contact Lenses
These special contact lenses are available as soft contacts, as gas permeable lenses and as a combination soft/gas permeable. Post refractive surgery contact lenses are usually used when a patients vision can not be corrected by additional surgery, glasses or regular contact lenses because their corneal surface has become slightly irregular or distorted. The symptoms may include, blurry vision, halos and shadows.
Dry Eye Syndrome
The most common complaint following refractive surgery is dry eyes. Most often the dryness improves two to six months following surgery. Ocular dryness can also cause blurry vision. Should the dryness not improve there are numerous solutions to improve patient comfort and it is worth seeking help from an eye doctor that is familiar with treating dry eye syndrome.
Glare and Poor Night Vision
Often glare, halos and night vision problems are due to large pupils and/or uncorrected refractive error. Night driving glasses will usually help patients that are still a little nearsighted following refractive surgery. Treating the glare is little more difficult. Glare often improves with time, however a medication called Alphagan has been known to improve night glare symptoms by causing the pupil to constrict slightly. Alphagan may contribute to the ocular dryness, however.
Know Your Vision Correction Options
LASIK and PRK are good procedures and can greatly improve one’s quality of life. Prior to taking the refractive surgery plunge patients should thoroughly research their options. In an upcoming article I’ll cover the alternatives to refractive surgery.
At Total Eye Care we offer all of the refractive surgery and non surgical vision correction options available and we pride ourselves on giving our patients an objective opinion of all of their choices. It is important for our patients to be well educated on the pros and cons of each option so that they can make an informed decision.
Check out the video below from the Good Morning America’s investigation on LASIK, it offers a balanced report on refractive surgery.