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For those suffering under the burden of poor vision, LASIK might seem like a godsend to cure them of their ailments and allow them to live free of their handicap.  However, just how safe is LASIK surgery and are you the right candidate for the procedure.

There are many different aspects and/or diseases associated with vision loss (astigmatisms, ulcers, dry eyes, thin corneas, cataracts and diabetes related retinal problems) and different kinds of treatments and surgeries, yet LASIK remains by far the most popular and is now a household name.  But just because it’s a common household name doesn’t mean it’s the common surgery fit for every person in the house.

LASIK, or In Situ Keratomileusis, is performed by the surgeon cutting open a flap in the cornea.

LASIK, or In Situ Keratomileusis, is performed by the surgeon cutting open a flap in the cornea, with either a blade or a laser, and using a laser to vaporize and reshape the stroma underneath in the middle of the cornea (fda.org.).  The surgery is intended as a quick, relatively painless, out-patient procedure that won’t cause too much of a disturbance in the patient’s life.  The surgery also boasted that patient’s would achieve or come close to perfect 20/20 vision.

However, many patients who went in for treatment for their nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatisms have reported experiencing dry eyes, loss of night vision, blurry vision, irritation, light sensitivity, halos and keratectasia, which could last six months or even permanently after the surgery   There are also those who need to be retreated with another round of LASIK as the effects of the surgery had either “worn off” or weren’t achieved through the first round; as LASIK is still an elective surgery, this could cost the patient dramatically more money than they already had to spend.

Dr. Morris Waxler, the former branch chief of the FDA’s Diagnostic and Surgical Devices branch, the man who initially approved the LASIK surgery, has recently come out and stated that maybe LASIK isn’t as safe as originally thought. Waxler went public on Good Morning America in 2010 and stated that he felt they’d been to rash in giving their approval and that he regrets allowing LASIK to pass.  He also suggested that some of the adverse effects hadn’t been reported to the FDA when it was under review.  Waxler has since then filed a formal petition to have LASIK removed from the market but as of yet, no action has been taken.

The appeals of LASIK surgery are understandable to all.

The appeals of LASIK surgery are understandable to all, not just those experiencing vision loss but to all empathetic of that sense. However, just because the appeal is strong doesn’t mean the answer is just as strong and ubiquitous as LASIK.  Ophthalmologists have been urged to warn their patients that LASIK is still a surgery, and like any other surgery complications can arise; there are even doctors who that the some of the adverse reactions patients complain of are simply unrealistic aspects they held for the surgery.  Still, Waxler feels at least half of LASIK patients complain of side effects and up to 22 percent exhibit excessive adversity.

The bottom line is that LASIK can do some good but thorough examination on both the part of the doctors and the patients is expected in order to yield the best outcome and make the determination of proper candidacy for the surgery.  As of today, LASIK isn’t for everyone and there are plenty of other surgeries available to correct vision loss that have proven to be (though perhaps more expensive) the safer alternative.

About the Author: Emily Joseph loves writing about laser eye surgery. When she’s not spending her time writing she loves spending time working out and living a healthy and active lifestyle.

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