An Outspoken Few Are Disillusioned With LASIK Surgery
WebMD News Archive
An estimated 1 million people are expected to have LASIK surgery this year
alone, he says. Less than 1% will have complications, "but for that 1%,
it's a very important occurrence."
LASIK has been around less than 10 years, but in that time, both the
technology and doctors' skills have improved, Waring says. Today, both the
microkeratome, the instrument that makes the flap, and the laser, which
reshapes the cornea, are getting closer to foolproof, he tells WebMD.
"That's why the complications are going down -- but not down to zero
Still, people are taking the surgery too casually, Waring says. He
encourages those considering LASIK to ask the surgeon questions about the
procedure's outcomes and complications, and to shop around. "You need to be
critical of discounts, claims of perfect vision," he says.
Kristin Pisacano, MD, medical director of refractive surgery at the New York
Eye Surgery Center in the Bronx, also wants to help consumers understand what
they're getting into.
"It's hard to tell what went wrong with Roger and Howard," who
posted on the Surgical Eyes site, says Pisacano, author of the book LASIK
Vision Correction. But they likely had complications which, if they were
treated in a timely manner, could have been corrected.
The more serious complication, called "sands," creates a painful,
dry-eye condition that is treatable -- but must be treated correctly and
immediately, she tells WebMD. "Nobody knows exactly what causes it,"
she tells WebMD. It's treatable with drops, or sometimes the surgeon needs to
perform a minor surgical procedure to lift the flap again and irrigate the area
with solution. "But it is treatable," Pisacano says.
Wrinkles in the flap are rare, but can occur, she says, especially in people
who rub or squeeze their eyelids -- sometimes in their sleep. "Those are
more tricky to treat, but they are treatable if you're seeing someone who knows
how." That condition must also be addressed right away to maintain optimal
The longer such conditions are ignored, the less likely they can be
corrected, Pisacano says.
Vision undercorrection and overcorrection are "pretty common," and
correctable with a touch-up procedure performed two months after the original