Wednesday, May 4, 2011

LASIK Surgery Vision Expectations

Question: My original prescription was -5.75 and -6.25. I had LASIK on March 23 and I am now 20/40. It really bothers me. I had trouble driving and my eye doctor wasn't going to give me glasses until I told him I was afraid about car accidents. He told me "there are lots of people with 20/40 vision" and reading signs "isn't that big of a deal”. I need to have this redone. I have haze around windows during the day and large starbursts at night. This isn't what I expected and this doctor doesn't seem to care. Can I wear contacts again?

Answer: First, rest assured that if in fact you were a good candidate for LASIK in terms of overall health and eye health the results of LASIK Surgery for correcting your level of nearsightedness are quite good. The vast majority of patients having LASIK are often able to pass the 20/40 driving standard at their first post operative visit and the final uncorrected level of vision is typically in the 20/20-20/30 range by about 90 days after their treatment. At the time you made this inquiry you were about 40 days post your treatment which is not really sufficient time for your eyes to have fully healed and recovered to the final level of vision. One never performs a LASIK enhancement before the 90 post operative healing period has passed as the vision is simply not stable. Further, your attempted correction is of a moderate amount of nearsightedness which requires a somewhat deep treatment level which also can require a bit of time to achieve the visual recovery.

All of that aside, starbursts and haze are not typically expected a month or so after treatment. You do not state whether you had preexisting aberrations such as spherical aberration before your LASIK and you do not state whether you have had a conventional LASIK or a wavefront guided or wavefront optimized LASIK surgery. The symptoms that you describe could be related to the presence of spherical aberration which was either present or induced by the treatment itself given the degree of myopia that was corrected. This should be readily measureable in the doctor’s office using a clinical instrument called an aberrometer which is part of the preop and follow-up process.

If you are dissatisfied with the information being provided by your LASIK surgeon it is entirely appropriate to find a top LASIK surgeon for a second opinion in order to determine exactly what is going on and what to expect. This is not unreasonable at all.

Important Note: The information presented on the See With LASIK Blog or provided in response to a request for information in the Ask LASIK Surgeons section on is not intended to diagnose or treat eye problems, eye conditions or eye diseases including appropriateness of treatment, risks, complications or side effects as related to LASIK. In particular a response to an inquiry made on the Ask LASIK Surgeons section of is not meant to take the place of the professional medical care provided by your eye doctor, ophthalmologist and LASIK surgeon. Contacting us via e-mail or any other means is not a substitute for medical care.

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