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Cosmetic Laser Eye Surgery - Is It For You?

Aug 17, 2007
You're tired of losing your glasses or cleaning and inserting contacts every morning. Perhaps you want to improve your appearance without the hassle of contacts or getting new glasses for different occasions. You may even participate in sports or have a job that makes wearing glasses or contacts a problem and feel you have a real need for improved natural vision.

Whatever your reasons you have no doubt heard about the popularity of cosmetic laser eye surgery. Is it a safe procedure? What are the risks? How much will it help your vision? Getting these answers will help you decide if cosmetic laser eye surgery is for you.

WHAT IS LASER EYE SURGERY?

Laser eye surgery reshapes the cornea by sculpting it with the laser. There are two common types of laser eye surgery; LASIK and PRK. While both use the same type of laser and shape the eye for correction in the same manner they differ in their approach.

In the PRK procedure the top layer of cornea is scraped away while the LASIK procedure cuts a flap to remove the top layer of cornea during surgery. There are minor differences in the resulting post-operative symptoms.

IS LASER EYE SURGERY SAFE?

While the surgery is considered low risk and can be done quickly there are always possible complications when having any surgery performed. Your eyes are very delicate and your dependance on them is critical. It is important to understand all of the potential risks - including loss of vision - that are possible.

Most patients will deal with some amount of pain or discomfort for a few days. Blurred vision and sensitivity to light are also common and usually clears in the days following surgery although some may find continued symptoms for months and even fewer may find the symptoms are permanent. Other complications due to scarring can potentially cause permanent damage to vision, although additional surgery can sometimes correct this.

As with all surgeries there is a potential risk of infection. It is generally advised to have each eye operated on separately instead of at the same time to reduce the chance of infection in both eyes. Most infections can be cleared with medication, especially if treated right away.

Another possible risk with laser eye surgery is that the vision may be over or under corrected. Under corrected vision may be fixed with further surgery but over corrected vision is irreparable. Unfortunately each individual will respond differently to the surgery and results cannot be guaranteed. It is possible for a person to continue to require corrective lenses even after surgery, although their dependance on them should be lessened.

Whenever an individual is contemplating surgery it is important that a realistic understanding of the risks and benefits be clearly presented by the surgeon. Research your procedure as well as the doctor performing the operation before agreeing to any surgery.
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