Submitted by Dr. Dean Dornic on Fri 06/05/2009 - 09:39
In most cases, you can expect a good result following a LASIK procedure. A worldwide study by the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery shows that more than 95 percent of the 16 million people who have undergone LASIK surgery are pleased with their new vision.
But not everyone will achieve crystal-clear, 20/20 vision after just one procedure.
Each case has a unique combination of variables that can affect visual outcomes. So in some instances, you may need additional eye surgery — often in the form of a LASIK enhancement — to give you the sharpness of vision you desire.
A number of factors affect your satisfaction after LASIK:
- The characteristics and health of your corneas.
- The type of refractive error you have, such as whether you are nearsighted, farsighted or have astigmatism.
- The amount (strength) of your prescription needed to correct your vision problem.
- The amount of tears you produce and their quality.
- Your age.
- Your expectations.
Although LASIK successfully corrects high degrees of nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism, younger people with mild nearsightedness and astigmatism generally are the best candidates for a good outcome.
Your expectations before LASIK also may play a key role in how happy you are afterward. Remember, the goal of LASIK is to decrease your dependence on glasses and help you to see acceptably well without corrective lenses. Results vary from person to person.
Although many people who have had LASIK believe they see better than they did with eyeglasses or contact lenses before surgery, not everyone has the same experience. After LASIK, you can expect your vision to be slightly better or about the same as it was with glasses.
A small percentage of people may notice their vision is not quite as good as it was before with glasses. But you should be able to drive safely and perform other routine daily tasks without needing glasses or contact lenses.
How do you decide when Is a LASIK Enhancement Needed?
When evaluating your vision after LASIK, it’s important to be patient. Although you should be able to see much better without glasses the day after surgery, it’s not unusual for vision to fluctuate for several weeks.
As part of your follow-up care after LASIK, your eye doctor will monitor your vision for several weeks.
Though not expected, it’s possible that you may feel uncomfortable driving or performing other visual tasks after LASIK. If this occurs, be sure to tell your eye doctor. If necessary, he or she can prescribe new eyeglasses for you to wear part-time while your vision stabilizes.
If your vision is still noticeably blurred three months after LASIK, you may need an enhancement.
To determine whether you’re a good candidate for a LASIK enhancement, your eye doctor will re-evaluate your corneas with the same methods used prior to your first LASIK procedure. Among other evaluations, your eye doctor will check to see whether you have enough corneal thickness for a second surgery.
Its important to note that having less than perfect vision may not be sufficient grounds to warrant an enhancement procedure. As long as you are able to function independent of glasses or contact lenses, you have achieved a successful outcome. If you are unsure of the need for an enhancement, discuss this with your surgeon who will help you in the decision making process.
As with any elective surgical procedure, it’s important to choose a LASIK surgeon you trust. This means someone who will communicate with you well and show concern about your satisfaction.