One of the most common concerns people have about laser eye surgery is whether the treatment is safe. Using the latest technology and expertise, laser vision correction has proven to be a very safe procedure. There are four aspects of laser eye surgery that contribute to its overall safety:
- Proper patient evaluation before surgery
- Proper selection of procedure
- Technology used for diagnosis and treatment
- Proper Post-operative care and follow-up
Proper Patient Evaluation and Procedure Selection
The most important step in laser vision correction surgery is determining what the specific vision goals are for the patient, and then determining which vision correction technology will achieve that goal. We offer a wide array of vision correction options, and it may be that laser vision correction is not the best choice for a particular patient, but rather another surgery such as an ICL, corneal inlay, or Lens Replacement may be better.
At our center, our doctor meets with each patient personally at the time of the evaluation to recommend the best vision correction procedure. We have several diagnostic imaging systems which allow our doctors to evaluate the optics of each eye individually. We also assess for other ocular conditions, such as dry eye or keratoconus, that may need to be addressed prior to considering vision correction surgery.
The quality of care patients receive after their vision correction procedure is just as important as the care they receive before and during the procedure. High quality care ensures patients have the best chance of achieving quality vision for a lifetime.
Long term effects of Laser Vision Correction
More than 16 million people have had LASIK since its approval more than 20 years ago. Although a recent study of over 2,000 patients confirmed that more than 95 percent of LASIK patients are satisfied with their results, one of the most common questions we are asked about LASIK is whether there are adverse long-term effects. LASIK significantly reduces difficulties with night driving, nighttime visual disturbances, self-reported rates of eye infections, self- reported rates of ulcers, and self-reported rates of abrasions when compared to contact lens wearers.[2,3]
(Source: 1: Solomon KD et. al. LASIK world literature review: quality of life and patient satisfaction. Ophthalmology. 2001 Apr; 116(4):691-701, 2: Three-Year Longitudinal Survey Comparing Visual Satisfaction with LASIK and Contact Lenses Price, Marianne O. et al. Ophthalmology , Volume 0 , Issue 0, 3: Solomon KD et. al. What literature review says about modern LASIK. Modern Medicine. 2016)
LASIK is Safer Than Contact Lenses
Patients are often under the impression that contact lenses are safer than LASIK, but recent studies suggest that is not true. LASIK is more than 10 times safer than wearing contact lenses . In fact, patients wearing contact lenses are 180 times more likely to have a serious infection than patients who have LASIK, and are more likely to require a corneal transplant later in life.[2,3,4] A three-year longitudinal survey was published in March 2016. The study shows LASIK delivers higher patient satisfaction than contact lens wearers and that LASIK is a better solution.
(Source: 1: Graham, Lauri R., and Benard P. Lepri. “Contact Lenses: The Risks You Need to Know.” Medscape. Medscape, 24 Oct. 2012., 2: Archives Ophthalmology 2007 Jun; 125(6): 853 853-4) 4, 3: ASCRS Cornea Clinical Committee, 4: Mathers et. al, Archives of ophthalmology 2006;124(1510-11)), 5: Three-Year Longitudinal Survey Comparing Visual Satisfaction with LASIK and Contact Lenses Price, Marianne O. et al. Ophthalmology , Volume 0 , Issue 0
LASIK Has Proven Excellent Outcomes
A recent study was published by the Army Warfighter Refractive Eye Surgery Program (WRESP), which was established by the US armed forces to reduce the limitations posed by corrective eyewear in combat situations. This program has given the US armed forces an unparalleled advantage over opponents. The study looked at the outcome and satisfaction rates of 16,111 armed service members who have undergone laser vision correction. The study concluded that this program has provided excellent outcomes and enhanced the overall readiness of our armed forces. Reports of night vision difficulties, surgical complications, and dry eyes are infrequent, and do not seem to have a significant negative impact on military operations or individual readiness. The study also showed that glasses cause more night vision problems than LASIK [1,2]. (Source 1: Ophthalmology; Volume 112, Issue 2, Pages 184-190.e2, 2:Price FW, Price MO. Prospective study of patient satisfaction with LASIK and contact lenses: 2-year results. American Academy of Ophthalmology annual meeting, Oct 21, 2014, Chicago, IL.)
Another study was published in Ocular Surgery News. This study followed 800 eyes for 10 years. According to this article: efficacy, safety and predictability were maintained throughout the study in eyes requiring low, intermediate and high levels of correction. (Source: Ocular Surgery News; January 1, 2007 p.36)
Another well designed study followed patients over 12 years after having laser vision correction and found that “Almost 90% of eyes recalled for 12-year follow-up maintained or improved best corrected visual acuity.” ( Source: Journal Of Refractive Surgery 2006; 22:871-877, Ocular Surgery News; January 1, 2007 p.34)
It is important to remember that, despite these positive reports, vision correction surgery is a medical procedure that carries certain risks and is best performed by a caring and conscientious doctor. Lance Kugler, MD is committed to spending time with you before and after surgery to ensure the best possible result.
Consider relative safety of alternatives
Lance Kugler, MD recently discussed some of the dangers of contact lenses in an interview on WOWT Channel 6 in Omaha: