Page 62 - The UK Guide to Laser Eye Surgery
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62 Frequently Asked Questions
 Q: What are the risks of laser eye surgery?
Laser eye surgery is, by any medical standard, a safe procedure. However, as with all surgical procedures, there are some risks to consider. Fewer than 3% of LASIK procedures result in any complications. The chance of having a serious complication is much less than 1% generally and probably less than 0.3% with an expert surgeon. The most common complications and side- effects of laser eye surgery are as follows:
• In about 1 in 1,000 LASIK cases, the flap is too short, thin or uneven. If this occurs, the flap is put back in place to heal. The surgeon will not use a laser on your eye and your vision will likely be unaffected, but you can try surgery again in a few months.
• Wrinkles in the flap (striations) occur in about 1 in every 1,000 LASIK procedures. Striations can cause astigmatism. The most likely causes are either rubbing your eyes before they are fully healed, or the surgeon not lining up the flap properly when it is replaced. If the wrinkles are causing astigmatism, a second procedure can be done to lift and smooth out the flap. If they are not causing any problems they can be left untreated.
• In about 1 in every 5,000 cases, patients develop irregular astigmatism after surgery. Contact lenses can usually correct this form of astigmatism (glasses will not). People who have very high prescriptions have a higher risk of this complication. Irregular astigmatism can happen even if the surgery is perfect, but your risk is increased if you have an inexperienced surgeon or one who does not use the best equipment.
• Epithelial ingrowth is a potential complication of LASIK that occurs in less than 1% of cases, in which epithelial
cells begin to grow and multiply under the corneal flap. The most common treatment is lifting the corneal flap, removing the cells, irrigating the interface and repositioning the flap. Most cases,
if managed appropriately, have a good outcome.

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