How successful is LASIK?
The goal of treatment is to reduce dependency on glasses and contact lenses. LASIK has a proven track record of achieving this and is now the most commonly performed procedure for correction of refractive error. About 95% of patients with low to moderate myopia will achieve 6/12 vision, which is enough to function without glasses for day to day activities. The success rate depends upon the degree of refractive error and your consultant will discuss this with you at the time of consultation.
What about the long term effects?
LASIK, pioneered by Dr I Pallikaris in Greece and Dr Luis Ruiz in Columbia has been performed since 1989. Tens of thousands of operations have been performed without long term problems. More than 1 million LASIK operations are done in the USA alone. The Excimer laser has been shown to be safe and has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration in the USA.
Based on scientific research and follow-up of patients treated in the late 1980’s, experts around the world are confident that there is no long term effect of the treatment. If any change does take place it is usually within the 6 weeks of stabilisation period after surgery.
What happens when I get older, will I need glasses?
Most patients who have LASIK do not need to wear glasses for their daily activities. However, they may need to wear reading glasses if they are over the age of 40. This is caused by the normal ageing of the eye known as presbyopia. This condition occurs with or without LASIK. Those patients who currently have glasses for reading like bifocals will still need reading glasses after the surgery unless they opt for a treatment plan called monovision. In monovision, one eye is corrected for distance vision and the other for near vision.
Are there risks in having the procedure?
According to several large studies, there is approximately a 2% intra-operative and 3 to 5% post-operative complication rate. Most of these complications do not result in loss of two or more lines of best corrected visual acuity. The rate of severe complications that will permanently reduce vision is less than 1%. It is important to understand that LASIK is surgery and there is no operation without risk.