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Comparison of LASIK surgery and Orthokeratology Risks

Below are the risk disclosures provided by the FDA for LASIK eye surgery and Orthokeratology therapy. We believe that Orthokeratology can provide corrected daytime vision without the need of daytime contact lenses or eyeglasses, while not having to undergo the risks of LASIK surgery.  Additionally, most LASIK patients will need additional vision correction as they age, so LASIK surgery is at best a medium term vision correction surgical treatment.   Most LASIK patients will need eyeglasses, contacts or additional surgeries in later years, especially as patients need near vision assistance due to the onset of presbyopia in starting around the age of 40.

Lasik Eye Surgery Risks

From the FDA website:

What are the risks…?
Most patients are very pleased with the results of their refractive surgery. However, like any other medical procedure, there are risks involved. That’s why it is important for you to understand the limitations and possible complications of refractive surgery.
Before undergoing a refractive procedure, you should carefully weigh the risks and benefits based on your own personal value system, and try to avoid being influenced by friends that have had the procedure or doctors encouraging you to do so.

  • • Some patients lose vision. Some patients lose lines of vision on the vision chart that cannot be corrected with glasses, contact lenses, or surgery as a result of treatment.
  • • Some patients develop debilitating visual symptoms. Some patients develop glare, halos, and/or double vision that can seriously affect nighttime vision. Even with good vision on the vision chart, some patients do not see as well in situations of low contrast, such as at night or in fog, after treatment as compared to before treatment.
  • • You may be under treated or over treated. Only a certain percent of patients achieve 20/20 vision without glasses or contacts. You may require additional treatment, but additional treatment may not be possible. You may still need glasses or contact lenses after surgery. This may be true even if you only required a very weak prescription before surgery. If you used reading glasses before surgery, you may still need reading glasses after surgery.
  • • Some patients may develop severe dry eye syndrome. As a result of surgery, your eye may not be able to produce enough tears to keep the eye moist and comfortable. Dry eye not only causes discomfort, but can reduce visual quality due to intermittent blurring and other visual symptoms. This condition may be permanent. Intensive drop therapy and use of plugs or other procedures may be required.
  • • Results are generally not as good in patients with very large refractive errors of any type. You should discuss your expectations with your doctor and realize that you may still require glasses or contacts after the surgery.
  • • For some farsighted patients, results may diminish with age. If you are farsighted, the level of improved vision you experience after surgery may decrease with age. This can occur if your manifest refraction (a vision exam with lenses before dilating drops) is very different from your cycloplegic refraction (a vision exam with lenses after dilating drops).

The Federal Trade Commission has listed additional LASIK Risks and Complications on their website.

See “The Basics of LASIK Eye Surgery”


Ortherkeratology Therapy Risks

From the FDA website:

There is a small risk involved when any contact lens is worn. It is not expected that contact lenses for orthokeratology will provide a risk that is greater than other rigid gas permeable contact lenses.
The two most common side effects which occur in rigid contact lens wearers are corneal edema and corneal staining. It is anticipated that these two side effects will also occur in some wearers of contact lenses for orthokeratology. Other side effects which sometimes occur in all contact lens wearers are pain, redness, tearing, irritation, discharge, abrasion of the eye or distortion of vision. These are usually temporary conditions if the contact lenses are removed promptly and professional care is obtained.
In rare instances, there may occur permanent corneal scarring, decreased vision, infections of the eye, corneal ulcer, iritis, or neovascularization. The occurrence of these side effects should be minimized or completely eliminated if proper schedule of care is followed. You should remove your contact lenses if any abnormal signs are present. Never wear your contact lenses while in the presence of noxious substances. Be certain to return for all follow-up visits required by your eyecare practitioner.

DO NOT USE contact lenses for orthokeratology when any of the following conditions exist:

  • • Acute and subacute inflammations or infection of the anterior chamber of the eye.
  • • Any eye disease, injury, or abnormality that affects the cornea, conjunctiva or eyelids.
  • • Severe insufficiency of tears (dry eyes)
  • • Corneal hypoesthesia (reduced corneal sensitivity) if not aphakic.
  • • Any systemic disease which may affect the eye or be exacerbated by wearing contact lenses.
  • • Allergic reactions of ocular surfaces or adnexa which may be induced or exaggerated by wearing contact lenses or use of contact lens solutions.
  • • Allergy to any ingredient, such as mercury or Thimerosal, in a solution which is to be used to care for your TN contact lenses for orthokeratology.
  • • Any active corneal infection (bacterial, fungal or viral).
  • • If eyes become red or irritated