Just as all surgical procedures carry risks, so does the LASIK procedure. However, when LASIK is performed by an experienced surgeon, the risk of complications is quite low. In fact, this surgery is among the safest performed today. Still, it’s important to understand the risks and possible complications. Once you understand them, you will be able to determine for yourself whether the potential benefits of laser vision correction outweigh the risks.
Most complications are preventable. One of the most common reasons for complications following surgery is improper screening of the surgery candidate. An inexperienced surgeon may fail to detect a condition that would make you a poor candidate, whereas an experienced surgeon may advise you against have LASIK, after having performed a careful preoperative examination. As discussed in previous blogs, there are many reasons to turn down a patient. That is why it is important to choose a surgeon based on his or her competence- not on the cheapest fee available.
One Risk that can occer is Undercorrection.
Undercorrection results when the desired change in your refractive error, or focusing ability, is not fully achieved after the LASIK procedure. A slight undercorrection will not seriously affect your vision and may even be desirable in nearsighted patients over 40 years of age to help with their reading vision. More significant undercorrections may require an enhancement procedure, which sometimes is included in the original LASIK cost if performed within the first year.
Undercorrection happens more often in patients with higher levels of nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism. This makes sense if you think in terms of how much sculpting or reshaping the laser has to do. For example, a patients with less than 2.00 diopters of myopia has about a 1% chance of needing an enhancement procedure because of an undercorrection. On the other hand, a patient with more than 9.00 diopters of myopia has about a 10% chance of requiring an enhancement procedure due to undercorrection.
Surgeons who use consistent techniques and constantly analyze their outcomes have significantly lower incidences of undercorrection. This is another reason it is important to find a surgeon who tracks LASIK outcomes, as discussed in earlier blogs. If your doctor keeps an up-to-date database of at least 1,000 procedures, he or she will be able to show you the likelihood of your needing retreatment, based on your own degree and type of refractive error.