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The risks of rushing into LASIK surgery

On Behalf of | Sep 23, 2014 | Firm News, Surgical Errors

Many of the cases seen here at DeLuca and Associates Ltd reaffirm the fact that no medical procedure is without risks. One such procedure that has become increasingly popular in Providence is LASIK eye surgery. Many view LASIK as a minimally-invasive path to guaranteed vision correction. Increasingly, an overzealousness by some doctors to recommend LASIK surgery, combined with the collective urgency of patients to abandon their eye glasses, has caused many to overlook its inherent risks.

During LASIK, a laser is used to cut a flap in the surface of the cornea, after which underlying tissue is excised, and the flap is folded back into place. Yet according to information shared by Dr. Bill Lloyd, a contributor to WebMD.com, the flap itself never fully heals. This can lead to higher rates of other vision problems amongst LASIK recipients, including:

  • Visual distortion (starbursts, halos) in dim light
  • Dry eye
  • Ectasia (bulging and deterioration of the cornea)

Research has also shown that the visual outcomes of LASIK decline over time, meaning many recipients will be back to relying on glasses in the future.

According to the online medical resource DocShop, over 700,000 LASIK procedures are done in the U.S. every year. While some agencies report LASIK complication rates at less than 1 percent, there currently exists no clearinghouse for the reporting of LASIK outcomes. Some independent studies have put the rate of post-LASIK complications closer to 20 percent.

Doctors may be motivated to recommend LASIK due to the higher rate of reimbursement they receive for complex procedures and the increased patient volumes that the rapid resolution of existing patients’ vision problems allows for. Yet patients are warned to consider all options before agreeing to LASIK.