Is Laser Surgery of the Eyes a "Low Risk" Endeavor? A Look at the Facts

Advancements in medical technology, including the advent of laser surgery, have made many surgeries more convenient and less painful for patients. When it comes to the eyes, Ophthalmologists can make laser surgery look deceptively easy. Some observers even mischaracterize laser surgery as a “low risk” event. While it is true that laser surgery typically comes with fewer complications, it is still a serious surgery with all of the inherent risks of traditional surgery.  

The Laser Is a High-Tech Scalpel

A medical laser is nothing but a high-tech scalpel. It is powerful and it cuts just as deeply and sharply as a knife. Missteps can lead to increasing eye pressure impacting the optic nerve, cataracts, damaged corneas, inflammation in the eye, conjunctivitis, and more. The energy of the laser can even create a shock wave that could cause retinal detachment.

How Are Lasers Used in Ophthalmology?

Laser surgery is used by Ophthalmologists to correct a number of conditions, diseases, and injuries of the eye.

One laser surgery performed frequently by Ophthalmologists is posterior or YAG laser capsulotomy.  The YAG capsulotomy surgery eliminates the cloudiness that some patients experience after having cataract surgery. Only Physicians have the training, experience, and education to perform laser surgery.

How Do Ophthalmologists Minimize Laser Risks?

Permanent vision loss is a real risk any time tissue is altered during eye surgery. When treating glaucoma or cloudy/opaque eyes with lasers, the Ophthalmologist must carefully focus the laser energy to structures within the eye that can be smaller than a human hair. Every Ophthalmologist has completed years of intensive training as a physician and surgeon. Learn more about an Ophthalmologist’s training here.

Don’t be fooled - there is no such thing as a simple surgery. Consult with your Ophthalmologist about options for laser surgery.