Tuesday, October 19, 2021

LASIK Myths Debunked - Pain and Recovery Time

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laser eye surgery
Laser eye surgery

LASIK Pain and Recovery Time

When it comes to LASIK eye surgery, you’ll find there are a remarkable number of myths that persist, even when they’re nowhere near the truth. Unfortunately, these myths can stop patients from pursuing a safe and highly effective procedure that could help vastly improve their vision and quality of life.


Let’s take a look at the LASIK myths that frequently circulate and learn the real truth of the matter. With the right information, you’ll discover that LASIK is a much safer and faster procedure than you might have realized.

Lasik Surgery
Lasik Surgery


Myth: LASIK eye surgery is not safe.

Truth: LASIK is among the safest elective procedures available today, with a rate of complications below 1%.

LASIK eye surgery has been around for well over 20 years, so there has been plenty of time to prove the safety of the procedure. In fact, according to the American Refractive Surgery

Council, LASIK is one of the most studied elective surgeries performed today. There are also 12 years worth of FDA clinical trials on more than 9,000 patients proving the safety of LASIK and measuring vision outcomes. Additionally, there are more than 7,000 peer-reviewed and published research studies that confirm the safety and effectiveness of LASIK.

 

At this point, LASIK has been performed more than 20 million times in the United States and the rate of complications is still well below 1% at just 0.61%. The FDA requires a complication rate of 5% or lower for approval, and LASIK surpasses that standard with flying colors. Moreover, even when taking rare complications into account, LASIK has never been the cause of blindness in a patient.

The data gathered from clinical trials have even shown that LASIK can be safer than other common vision correction solutions in some ways. 


For example, an infection called microbial keratitis is three times more common in contact lens wearers than LASIK patients. Like any surgical procedure, there are some potential risks and side effects to consider. However, knowing that complications are so rare should help reassure patients that LASIK is indeed a safe and effective option for vision correction.

Myth: LASIK is painful.

Truth: LASIK is a quick and virtually pain-free procedure.

Many people are surprised to learn how painless a LASIK procedure is, but it also helps to be aware that this procedure is extremely short and typically takes 30 minutes or less. Still, precautions are taken to ensure that LASIK is as comfortable as possible.

Before a patient’s LASIK eye surgery, they first receive numbing eye drops to reduce any discomfort they might experience during the procedure. Patients may feel brief pressure as the corneal flap is created, but that’s typically the only real sensation during the surgery itself. For anxious patients, medication may be available to help them feel calmer.

After the procedure and during the first days of LASIK surgery recovery, there may be some mild discomfort in the form of dry, burning, or itchy eyes. This mild discomfort should be easily relieved with over-the-counter pain relievers and prescribed eye drops. As the corneas heal, this discomfort will quickly dissipate. Though it is extremely rare, any pain should be reported to the eye surgeon.


Side Effects

Myth: Side effects like dry eye, halos, and glare are a significant problem with LASIK.

Truth: While visual symptoms like this can occur, they are not typically a significant problem and usually resolve with time.

Dry eye is one of the more common side effects that can occur with LASIK surgery. However, it’s not nearly as common as many people believe. FDA studies show that three months after surgery:

· Only 23% of patients report mild dry eye symptoms

· Just 3% report moderate dry eye

· 1-3% report severe dry eye

Moreover, at a six-month post-operative appointment, these same studies showed that patients had experienced a significant reduction in those dry eye symptoms. For the majority of patients, dry eye is not a significant problem six months after LASIK.

For patients concerned about glare and halos, it’s helpful to know that the same FDA studies show that halos and glare tend to be reduced significantly after LASIK when compared to the incidence of these issues before the procedure. While reduction of these symptoms is much more common, some patients do develop them following LASIK. However, even then, the halos and glare are not bothersome for the majority of patients.

For those that do experience any of these symptoms, most patients find that they resolve as their eyes continue to heal during LASIK eye surgery recovery. 


This is part of why patient satisfaction is so high for LASIK. More than 96% of patients report satisfaction with their vision outcomes three months after the procedure.

It’s helpful to know these types of visual symptoms can be a side effect of LASIK. 


However, it’s also important to know that these symptoms usually improve as the corneas heal and that they are not a significant problem for most patients.

Lasik Eye Surgery recovery
Lasik Eye Surgery recovery



Lasik Eye Surgery Recovery Time


Myth: LASIK eye surgery recovery takes a long time.

Truth: Most patients experience improved vision almost immediately after LASIK, with a return to most activities within 24-48 hours.

LASIK surgery recovery is faster than most people expect. Many patients are surprised to discover that as soon as they sit up following their procedure, they can already see better than before. 


Vision continues to improve significantly over the course of the day and in the coming weeks. Full vision correction results will be achieved within a year of the surgery.


While the corneas still need time to heal completely, patients can typically expect the recovery timeline to progress as follows:

· Within 24 to 48 hours: Able to return to most activities, including driving, work, and showering.

· During the first week: Patients should wear eye shields while sleeping and be careful not to touch their eyes or get anything in their eyes.

· After two weeks: Patients can exercise and return to the gym, as well as return to using makeup and lotions around the eyes.

· After one month: Swimming, yard work, gardening, and even contact sports are generally approved, though eye protection is recommended.

It’s normal for some side effects like light sensitivity, difficulty driving at night, or dry eyes to persist up to a year after the surgery. 


However, at the one-year mark, patients’ eyes should be fully healed and adjusted.

Choosing the right surgeon makes all the difference.

Many of the myths that persist about LASIK surgery and recovery are the result of a lack of adequate knowledge and education. The right eye surgeon can make a marked difference in the patient’s experience by educating them accurately about what to expect from their surgical experience, as well as preparing them properly for their LASIK surgery recovery.

 

A great surgeon will also carefully assess each patient to determine whether they are a good candidate for LASIK. This process will also help them assess potential risks and side effects for each patient. Ultimately, choosing an experienced eye surgeon helps ensure that you get the information you need and the best vision results possible.

 

Dr. Jeffrey Dello Russo boasts years of experience using cutting-edge LASIK eye surgery techniques. Working alongside his esteemed father Dr. Joseph Dello Russo, Dr. Jeffrey has been active in both the creation and implementation of new LASIK surgical procedures, including bladeless laser surgery in 2002. He was also the very first LASIK eye surgeon to perform the operation in the wider New York region.


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