The risks associated with PRK, LASEK and epi-LASIK are similar.
The problem most commonly associated is clouded vision (sometimes also referred to as haze). Some people's eyes have some clouding of the cornea as a result of healing. This clouding may occur about 4 months to 14 months after surgery and then clear up. It has been linked with spending a lot of time in the sun. Clouding appears to be more common in people who are very nearsighted. Some doctors may give you eyedrop medicine during and/or after the surgery to lower the chance of haze.
Some doctors may recommend avoiding direct sunlight for a while after your surgery, taking vitamin C and wearing sunglasses.
Other complications of these surgeries may include:
- Night vision problems, such as halos (often described as a shimmering circle around light sources such as headlights or street lamps).
- Glare, or increased sensitivity to bright light.
- Double vision (diplopia), usually in one eye. Some people describe this as "ghosting" around an object, rather than a doubling.
- New astigmatism.
- Overcorrection or undercorrection.
- Regression. As the cornea heals, cells may fill in the area that was shaped by the laser, causing at least some of the nearsightedness to come back. Regression may also occur if the treated area thickens as part of the healing process. Regression may occur up to 2 years after surgery. Some doctors suggest medicines to limit regression.
- Loss of best corrected vision, which is the best possible vision you can achieve using glasses or contact lenses. This is not common (happening in 3 out of 100 cases) but the risk rises with severe nearsightedness.
Retreatment may be desired if you have residual nearsightedness that results from undercorrection or regression.
Serious but rare complications may include:
- Sores (ulcers) on the cornea.
- Elevated pressure inside the eye (intraocular pressure) and glaucoma.
These surgeries are considered safe. Serious complications are rare. But experts do not yet know about all of the long-term side effects or complications.
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