Common ComplicationsThere are three common complications that we like to emphasize with our patients. Of course, other problems are possible, but these are by far the most common issues:
Need for enhancement.Lasik and PRK are not one hundred percent accurate one hundred percent of the time. We get patients very close to perfect almost all of the time, but in around 4% of the treatments we are close to but not perfect. Most of these people can see very well and are not using any glasses or contact lenses for distance vision, but if we can make the vision even a little sharper, that is our goal. In these situations, we like to wait 3-6 months to be sure that we have the final results, and then perform an enhancement treatment. We do not charge any additional fee for this enhancement treatment, as long as it is performed in the first 18 months. If we can make the vision any better, we will offer a touch up. We will do everything possible to enable you to see as well as you are capable of seeing.
Dryness.Increased dryness on a temporary basis is very common after Lasik. Permanently increased dryness is rare. Dryness after treatment is more common in people who have a lot of dryness before treatment, and will often last up to three months. For people who have extreme dryness prior to treatment, we often recommend the PRK version of treatment.
When wearing contact lenses, many people experience dryness compared to wearing glasses. But after Lasik you will not be wearing contact lenses anymore. Your dryness following Lasik (after the initial healing period) will be similar for most people to eye dryness with glasses, which is typically less than the dryness with contact lenses. Freedom from the dryness and irritation of contact lenses is a major benefit of Lasik.
There are many treatments for the temporary dryness following Lasik treatment. The most effective seems to be taking fish oil liquid or pills (or flax seed oil for vegetarians). The omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil makes the tears much more effective and greatly reduces symptoms of dryness.
Halos and night vision symptoms.Night vision issues are not much of a problem anymore since we began using the Allegretto laser. However, this still remains a problem with other lasers (that we do not use), so we like to discuss it.
All people, whether or not they have Lasik, have some degree of halos at night. To prove this to yourself, go out and look at the full moon at night, and you will notice that there is softness to the edge of the moon. We call this a halo. When you view the full moon during the daylight, this softness is not present. In the past, and with other lasers, the halos were made worse in around 25% percent of patients. Although this almost never interfered with the ability to drive or live your life, it was annoying for some people.
With the Allegretto laser, there is commonly a short-term increase in the night halos, lasting for up to several months. However, on a permanent basis, the Allegretto laser is the only laser in which the average patient typically experiences less halos than with glasses or contact lenses. This is one of the major advantages of the Wavelight Allegretto laser over all other lasers being used today.