Laser eye surgery causes long-term harm?

This is just one reason I’m not an early-adopter for anything. It always takes a while to work out the kinks and when it comes to my eyesight, I’ll wait until there’s sufficient long-term data available before anyone cuts or burn my vision back to 20/20.

A recent report from Otago and Oxford universities indicate that laser surgery for near-sighted patients could result in haze, glare and blurred vision as people reach their 60’s and 70’s.

The New Zealand Herald is reporting that tens of thousands of Kiwis may suffer from this problem in their later years. Searching the web, one would be left to think that this problem is going to only affect New Zealand but that’s very unlikely.

Given that around 25,000 New Zealanders have had the surgery, Otago University head of ophthalmology Anthony Molteno said there could be significant legal class actions in the future, an issue that is causing major concern among eye surgeons.

"When we presented this work at the local conference, there was a stunned silence and some anxious questions," said Molteno.

In the procedure the central cornea is flattened. That provides better eyesight, but research shows that it seriously affects the movement of corneal cells, which affect sight. In a normal eye, the cells start at each end of the eye and migrate towards the centre. The top cells move quicker and meet the lower cells below the pupil. Where they meet, called the Hudson-Stahli Line, they create pigment, scattering light and causing glare, haze and blur.

As people age, that area increases and moderately affects eyesight but isn’t a real problem, as the line is below the pupil.

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Michael Harrison

Husband, Programmer, Irish dancer, tinkerer, astronomer, layabout (as much as possible)

One thought on “Laser eye surgery causes long-term harm?”

  1. This is a big concern. I really think more studies should be done. I wouldn’t want to be one of those people who have had laser eye surgery only to find out that they might have problems in later life.

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