The most common complication from refractive surgery is the incidence of "dry eyes." According to an American Journal of Ophthalmology study of March 2006, the incidence rate of dry eyes from LASIK after the six month post operative healing period was 36%. The FDA (Food and Drugs Administration) website states that "dry eyes" could be permanent.
The high incidence of dry eyes necessitates a proper preoperative and post operative evaluation and treatment for dry eyes. There are a number of successful treatments for dry eyes including artificial tears, prescription tears and punctal occlusion. Punctal occlusion is accomplished by placing a collagen plug in the natural drain of the eye. Dry eyes, if left untreated can compromise the visual outcome and result in regression of the effect of LASIK or PRK, or in severe cases result in "chronic dry eye" where permanent chronic pain and visual impairment is a possible outcome. It also must be noted that some incidences of dry eye cannot be successfully mitigated using the above mentioned techniques, so a potential lasik patient must consider that dry eye can be a permanent outcome and un-treatable.
The risk for a patient of suffering from disturbing visual side effects such as halos, double vision (ghosting), loss of contrast sensitivity (foggy vision) and glare after LASIK depends on the degree of ametropia before the laser eye surgery and other risk factors. For this reason, it is important to take into account the individual risk potential of a patient and not just the average probability for all patients. The following are some of the more commonly reported complications of LASIK:
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