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Side Effects of Laser Eye Surgery – Risks of Lasik Eye Surgery Procedure

Side Effects of Laser Eye Surgery – Risks of Lasik Eye Surgery Procedure

Although the use of the excimer laser in laser eye surgery has significantly improved outcomes for the patients, the procedure can also result in laser-related side effects. The two primary laser-related side effects of laser eye surgery are decentration and irregular astigmatism.

Even with the use of various tracking devices, decentration can still occur. It is still possible for the excimer laser not to hit its specific target. Decentration produces a number of symptoms, such as poor vision, glare, halos and ghosting, to name a few. The symptoms are caused by the scattering of light at the edge of the area that was ablated.

Certain conditions have been noted to contribute to the occurrence of decentration. These include the degree of nearsightedness of the patient, the experience of the surgeon, and the specific location of the patient’s visual axis line. In general, the more nearsighted a patient is, the less is the patient’s ability to fixate on a light source, and the more likely it may can occur.

This can be diagnosed with the use of wavefront analysis. Treatment of this includes the use of customized ablations of the cornea or the use of topographic linked systems.


Another side effect that is related to the use of the excimer laser is irregular astigmatism. This typically presents in the same way as decentration, characterized by blurring of vision and the occurrence of visual aberrations.

Irregular astigmatism can actually be caused by other complications of laser eye surgery, such as homogeneity of the excimer laser beam, and problems with healing. Certain flap complications that lead to the formation of corneal scars can also result in irregular astigmatism. It can also be caused by excess tissue that was not sufficiently ablated. These tissues, known as central islands, resolve spontaneously without any intervention.

Treatment of it is via the use of a rigid contact lens. For patients who do not want the hassle involved with the use of contact lenses, an alternative treatment to irregular astigmatism is corneal transplantation. However, this method is usually employed as a last resort.

In general, the use of the excimer laser in laser eye surgery has resulted in more benefits than complications. However, it is still important to be aware of the possible side effects that these excimer lasers can bring about, so that you can be prepared for any complications that can occur.