lasik laser eye surgery complications discussion. what you want to know
By Andrew E Holzman, MD FACS on February 02, 2010
Many patients want to know some very important issues concerning the safety of lasik laser eye surgery, a procedure in which the front window of the eye called the cornea is reshaped with lasers. Lasik Laser eye surgery is a two step process, the first step being where a thin film of the cornea called the flap is created and then lifted back. This used to be accomplished by using a metal blade to create an incision. this was a device called a microkeratome, and some ophthalmologists still use this technique. Dr Andrew Holzman, a board certified Corneal Specialist who has performed over 50,000 vision correction surgeries stopped using the bladed microkeratome 6 years ago. INTRALASE is a special eye laser that is BLADELESS and creates the thin flap WITHOUT the use of metal blades. Dr Holzman of McLean, Virginia and Holzman Laser Vision was instrumental in bringing the INTRALASE laser eye procedure to the Washington DC metro area, including surrounding areas of Faifax County, Prince William County and Loudon County, Montgomery County, Maryland. Dr Andrew Holzman exclusively uses ALL LASER LASIK also known occasionally as I-LASIK performed with the Intralase. This procedure to make the corneal thin flap layer decreased most of the important complications that could occur from making the flap with a blade. INTRALASE helps to prevent problems in the flap that used to occur more frequently, such as small or abnormally shaped flaps. Holzman Laser Vision has performed thousands and thousands of consecutive INTRALASE LASIK LASER eye surgery procedures without a significant sight threatening complication. For this reason, patients from all over Alexandria, Arlington, Vienna, Rosslyn, Fairfax, Reston, Falls Church, Springfield, Woodbridge, Burke and Washington DC visit DR Holzman for their eye surgery procedures. The second step of Lasik laser vision correction surgery uses special Wavefront Mappings and Custom laser technology to help alter the shape of the front part of the eye, the cornea. VISX S4 and the ALLEGRETTO Wavelight eye lasers are both used at Holzman Laser Vision and TLC Laser Eye Centers of Tysons Corner Mclean, Virginia. Once this step is performed, the corneal flap is replaced into its normal position and the surgery is completed. In skilled hands such as Dr Holzman's, the risk of a major problem during surgery approaches zero. the most commonly encountered problems are usually mild and temporary and are seen after the procedure. The number one issue seen is Dry Eye Syndrome-- The eyes are a bit drier after laser eye surgery for a few months usually and there are special tests before the Laser eye procedure which are done at Holzman Laser Vision to make sure you are a good candidate and to test for dry eye syndrome prior to LASIK or PRK (another eye laser surgery procedure). Many times the patient will just use some special drops called Restasis twice daily and they begin this a few weeks before the Lasik Laser eye surgery. This helps prevent Dry eye Syndrome and many times artificial tear lubricants are also used at least 4 times daily after the procedure for a few months. Intralase laser eye surgery has lowered the incidence of dry eye syndrome after the procedure dramatically. Intralase makes a thinner profile flap and therefore disrupts the tear function less than seen in the older style flaps. Dr Andrew Holzman recently completed a clinical trial which was accepted by the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery. He found that a special eye cream which he prescribes his patients for use 1 week prior to surgery lowers the risk of dry spots at time of surgery. MURO ointment was found to be most effective in patients over the age of 35, so Dr. Holzman uses it for patients over that age. The risk of serious dry spots is very low and they always heal over the first few days. Haloes and glare around lights used to be a more common issue in the past, but since newer custom lasers were developed, this problem is VERY RARE. the best technology to avoid these issues are wavefront mapped custom VISX S4 or the Allegretto Wavelight laser. Both of these lasers are used at Holzman Laser Vision/TLC Laser Eye Centers-- Tysons Corner. It is common to have some haloes around lights and have some glare for a few days or weeks afterward, but they usually fade away during the first few weeks. There have also been some patients that have had to have a second lasik procedure to sharpen up their outcome, this is called an enhancement procedure. We have a TLC Lifetime Comittment for Dr Holzman's patients, and there is no extra charge for a second procedure in the rare event they should need one. Patients can visit any TLC Laser Eye Center office around the country and utilize the Lifetime Commitment. LESS than 1% of Dr Holzman's patients end up needing an enhancement, the national average is somewhere between 5 and 10%. Patients that end up needing an enhancement are usually patients whose eyes were the worst before the surgery. So, the most commonly encountered issues are temporary and mild and go away rather quickly. The great technology used before the surgery to diagnose problems, such as the PENTACAM allows patients that shouldn't have the surgery be identified easily. Holzman Laser Vision turns away between 10 and 20 percent of prospective patients as Dr Holzman is very cautious and will only operate if he is sure the patient will do well. This way, he is able to eliminate most of the risk BEFORE the surgery and only operates on low risk, excellent candidates. The important thing is to use a surgeon with a lot of experience and the best technology including INtralase, Custom Eye Laser treatments with VISX and Wavelight Allegretto Lasers. So, with the proper technology and excellent experience, complications are VERY RARE and thankfully not commonly encountered at Holzman Laser Vision. For this reason, Dr Holzman sees patients from all over the area, including Rockville, Bethesda, Silver Spring, Potomac, Washington DC and other areas in Fairfax, Loudon and Prince William counties of Virginia. Dr Holzman has over 150 local eye doctors that are part of his referral network and who refer their laser lasik eye surgery procedures to him. Many of these eye doctors trust Dr Holzman so much that they have had Dr Andrew Holzman perform their own laser vision correction procedures and their families' procedures also.