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What are the potential side effects of laser eye surgery?

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Quick Answer

Possible side effects of laser eye surgery include glare, seeing halos around images, fluctuating vision and dry eyes, according to WebMD. Some patients experience discomfort in first two days after surgery. Patients with autoimmune disorders and persistent dry eye are have an increased risk of complications, states Mayo Clinic.

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Full Answer

Many patients experience dry eyes for the first six months after laser eye surgery, states Mayo Clinic. This is because the surgery leads to decreased tear production. Dry eyes may reduce the quality of the patient's vision, but can often be treated with eye drops or by placing plugs in the tear ducts to prevent tears from being drained off of the eye's surface.

Loss of vision due to surgical complications occurs in rare cases, according to Mayo Clinic. Sometimes uneven tissue removal leads to astigmatism, which may cause the patient to need additional surgery, glasses or contacts. In other cases, not enough tissue is removed in the initial surgery, and a second surgery is needed to further correct the vision. Some patients also find that their vision slowly returns to its pre-surgery level.

To keep side effects to a minimum, surgeons do not often recommend laser eye surgery for patients who are at an increased risk of complications, explains Mayo Clinic. This includes patients with immunodeficiency diseases such as HIV, those with unstable vision due to hormonal changes or age, and those with chronic eye conditions such as keratitis and glaucoma.

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