Consumer Reports Health, August 2009: Lasik eye surgery. Will you really get rid of your glasses?
Survey finds 53% of laser eye surgery patients experience at least one side effect and 22% still have problems six months after surgery.
Read excepts from the Consumer Reports survey of laser eye surgery patients:
Lasik eye surgery may be pitched as a "safe and easy alternative to glasses," but more than half of the people who have it or other laser vision-correction surgery still need to wear glasses at least some of the time. That's according to a Consumer Reports National Research Center survey of 793 adults who had laser vision-correction surgery in the past eight years.
Side effects such as dry eyes, halos, and blurry vision were common among our respondents, and sometimes lasted at least six months after the surgery. That's particularly distressing, since Lasik eye surgery and similar operations are elective, not essential, medical procedures.
In our survey, 53 percent of the respondents reported at least one side effect after surgery, and 22 percent of the respondents were still experiencing side effects six months later. We found that 12 percent of the patients had to repeat the procedure.
But nearly a quarter (24 percent) of not highly satisfied respondents said they regretted not learning more from people who had laser eye surgery before them...
Side effects were a key factor in lack of satisfaction. Laser eye surgery is often viewed as safe, but 53 percent of the respondents experienced side effects, and 22 percent were still experiencing them six months later. Consumers who experienced two or more side effects at four weeks after the surgery and people who continued to experience any side effects at six months were not as satisfied as those with fewer problems, or problems that didn't last as long.
"While it's clear from the survey that many people have been very happy with their laser vision surgery, I worry about the patients who were not highly satisfied," said R. Linsy Farris, M.D., a professor of clinical ophthalmology at Columbia University in New York and a consultant for our survey. All may not be as rosy as the advertising suggests.