Millions of Americans have had LASIK surgery to correct vision problems LASIK, which is short for Laser-Assisted in Situ Keratomileusis, is one of the most common types of laser eye surgery. This surgical procedure permanently alters the shape of the cornea, or clear part in the front of the eye, to change the way the eye focuses. Most people have a good outcome from LASIK surgery – the Federal Trade Commission says that nine out of ten patients achieve somewhere between 20/20 and 20/40 vision, however many with dryness and glare.
To see clearly, the cornea and lens bend, or refract, light rays so that they strike the retina at the back of the eye. The retina converts light rays into images; if the cornea does not focus the light rays onto the retina correctly, the individual suffers blurry vision. Doctors refer to this as “refractive error.”
It takes time for the eye to heal after LASIK surgery. While the eye is healing, many patients suffer temporary glare and blurry vision problems as the eye adjusts to corrected vision. Some of these problems are the result of residual refractive error, which is a medical term describing the difference in the degree of vision correction the surgeon had hoped for and the actual results the patient experiences.
Some LASIK patients experience glare problems after surgery. Glare is usually temporary, lasting for months or up to a year in some patients. Glare after LASIK surgery is usually the result of enlarged pupils or problems with the corneal flap created during surgery. Sometimes glare is the result of residual refractive error. However, many continue to live with the glare issues for years after LASIK.
To deal with light sensitivity during the day, patients should wear sunglasses and a hat with a brim while outdoors. Special glasses or contacts, combined with other non-surgical treatments can reduce glare, even at night.
Visual acuity usually improves gradually after LASIK surgery. Most of the improvement occurs within the first few days but it can take up to four months for vision to clear. If vision does not improve in four months, blurry vision may be the result of residual refractive error. This can be corrected with glasses or contacts. Chronic dry eyes caused by LASIK may also cause blurry vision; post LASIK dry eye treatment can help relieve this problem.