LASIK Down The Road: What LASIK Has To Offer In The Future

Future of Lasik It's important when considering technology one consider the long term or lasting effects. If you or someone you know plans to take advantage of LASIK surgery, then you should probably know what to expect two, five and even ten years from the time you have surgery.

Studies On Long-Term Effects of LASIK
What are the long-term effects of LASIK? Honestly, no one really knows. Because LASIK is still a relatively newer technology, one that is constantly evolving and changing, relatively few studies have explored the long reaching side effects of LASIK surgery.

The good news is most researchers predict few if any long-term negative impacts. The flap creating technology that gave rise to modern LASIK procedures has existed for decades, since the 1940s.

Surgeons have also been using the excimer laser for the last three decades. Thus far, no long-term adverse effects are known.

A CBS News report printed in June of 2001 revealed while LASIK procedures do hold promise of long-term vision correction, relatively little is known about the long-term outcomes.

The procedure itself is relatively simple. No matter the type of procedure or laser surgery the surgeon adopts, generally it involves creating a flap on the eye's surface, then allowing the laser to reshape the cornea. The flap is generally then replaced for healing.

While no one can predict what is likely to happen five, ten or even fifteen years down the line, the chances nothing will are strong. There are too many people walking around that have had surgery years ago and reported few long-term adverse outcomes. So far no extreme adverse effects have been reported.

There are of course, cases where patients have experienced worsening vision, especially those undergoing traditional LASIK procedures in its early stages.

Some Doctors Avoid Laser Surgery
Despite the relatively clean safety record, some surgeons do not offer LASIK because they are not confident of the long-term outcomes. Some have done so in response to complications realized by patients undergoing the traditional LASIK procedures. The more commonly reported side effects including night vision problems (more common with traditional LASIK) are of concern to many, even the US FDA. In fact, the FDA claims that patients should be made aware they may not be able to drive at night because of the halos or glare created from LASIK surgery.

Keep in mind that many of these warnings refer to the most basic procedures, and may not apply to custom LASIK procedures.

In addition, LASIK surgery does not guarantee patients will not need to wear corrective lenses after surgery. Some patients mistakenly assume LASIK is a cure all. While many patients will go on to have near perfect vision, still others may experience new or different visual disturbances.

Improved vision for those who are farsighted may be temporary, as generally patients with this condition realize a worsening in their symptoms with time.

Part of the problem may lie in fly by night clinics that aren't offering patients a very thorough screening prior to surgery. That is one of the reasons it is so important patients find a well-qualified physician. Since the time of the CBS news report, patients should also realize newer technology has reduced some of the risk of side effects including poor night vision. Newer technology can help surgeons perform more customized surgery that may improve vision not only during the day, but also at night.

One thing is clear. No matter the case, there are no guarantees in life. Your responsibility as a patient should be to gather as much information as possible before having any type of medical procedure performed, including LASIK surgery.

Learn more about the future of LASIK surgery on our forums!