Japan Today

Gov't calls attention to risks of Lasik surgery


The Consumer Affairs Agency has issued an official cautionary warning for individuals interested in Lasik eyesight correction procedures after reports of patients suffering blurred light perception and other problems have become more frequent.

In the past 4 1/2 years, the agency has received over 80 reports from patients suffering various injuries and issues following their Lasik procedures.

Of the variety of injuries and problems reported to the bureau, the most common was individuals who reported that the procedure over-corrected their eyesight rendering them abnormally farsighted, NHK quoted an agency spokeswoman as saying. Other cased included patients who experienced unceasing and severely acute eye pain and soreness, and others, who were forced to put medicated eye drops in their eyes several times every hour.

After reports began to increase in frequency and severity, the agency conducted a survey targeting approximately 600 individuals who had received Lasik eye surgery. According to the results, over 40% of patients complained that they suffered from blurred vision and experienced difficulties processing light, often making it near impossible for them to see anything in dark areas.

A lawyers' group specializing in medical injuries is planning to hold phone consultation for interested individuals on Dec 21. The number is 03-6869-8391.

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my father had a pulmonary embolism and was it was basically a mircal the doctor said he did not die, all from complications of his Lasik.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I think the surgery itself might be safe done by a proper eye specialist, but so many of these shonky little eye clinics around the place...no way would I have my eyes done with Lasik.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Wow, I know a lot of people who had Lasik (myself included) and have never heard anyone with serious problems. I recommend it to people I know.

As for problems, my eyes were uncomfortable in the hours after the operation, but next morning I woke up with 2.0 vision in both eyes, and no discomfort. Now I am a little more farsighted than I was (I remember having to hold my keitai a little further away from my nose at first), and lights at night do look a little blurry, but I am well used to these changes now. Plus I still have 1.5 vision in both eyes, up from rubbish vision beforehand. What I got was exactly what was advertised.

There were different grades of laser available for the operation when I did it... I would love to know more details about people who have or claim to have serious problems and exactly what operation they underwent. Are they just expecting some kind of absolute perfection?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

My opthamologist friend cautions against the procedure due to increased risk of internal eye pressure injury as a result of thinned eye surface.

It also bears noting the positive effects of the procedure are not permanent.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I have never met an ophthalmologist who has had the surgery done on themselves. This itself raises questions in my mind about its safety both short-term and long-term.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I've done it, so have 2 of my brothers and many of my friends. The main problem is night vision, with slight halos and small starbursts at night. I am uncomfortable driving at night after Lasik, but I don't know anyone who has had other problems. My advice is to check several clinics and make sure you're comfortable with one. If performed badly, you could lose your sight completely, but there is no risk of this if you go to a well-reputed clinic. As with all things, cheapest is not necessarily best.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I had it done years ago, Oh the joy of being able to walk about outside without either benefit of lenses or the danger of being knocked down by the bus I never noticed bearing down on me.

My vision went from being 0.02 and 0.01 to 1.8 and 1.5. It was like magic. Immediately after the surgery my eyes felt a bit delicate and I needed eyedrops for about a fortnight, but that was all explained beforehand as being normal. I was also warned that the type of lasik I had opted for would do nothing to make me any younger; whereas my chronic shortsightedness would be fixed, it would do nothing for my advancing presbyopia. Which means I now need reading glasses, which I didn't before. I think this may be what's referred to by the procedure over-corrected their eyesight rendering them abnormally farsighted. They're not 'abnormally' farsighted, it's just that what normally takes place over many years becomes noticeable in a single day and oh lawdie suddenly your arms are too short.

Life is much better without having to fiddle with contact lenses and spectacles, while my need for reading glasses is no worse than that of friends of similar age who have always had good vision and no history of either spectacles or surgery. I would recommend it to anyone with short sight.

BUT it is surgery, they do cut your eyes, it's not something to be undertaken lightly; check out the clinic carefully, listen to the explanations you are given, and ask questions if there is anything you are unsure of.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I had my eyeballs sliced last year, and although I've been suffering from slightly dry eyes ever since, I don't regret it a bit. I was given extensive counselling beforehand and made to sign a couple of waivers. I also had to go through endless and annoying eye checks, and was told that eventually I'd need reading glasses, probably in my forties, but from what I can see around me, so does everyone else, regardless of whether they've had the laser thing or not! For me, the biggest benefit has been that I can actually read street signs and recognize people's faces. The worst thing has been seeing people's faces when I tell them that I've had it done: "kowai!" is their usual response.

A few years ago there was a big brouhaha when a clinic was found to be offering dirt-cheap prices and unsanitary practices (the two often go hand in hand) resulting in some clients suffering from very severe eye infections. I think that major practitioners have cleaned up their act now, but buyer beware. When it comes to your eyes, always pay for the best in the field.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Just remember, no matter how good your eyesight was originally or many times you get corrective surgery (lasik or otherwise) you will STILL come down with presbyopia ("old eyes") with your eyes progressively becoming more farsighted. Look for that to start happening when you're 35 - 40 years old. There's no escaping death, taxes, nor presbyopia.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It also bears noting the positive effects of the procedure are not permanent..

Quite true for many people. I was 20/400 in both eyes (whatever that is in the international scale, but it's bad) and ended up 20/15 (better than average) for 3 years. Then my eyes regressed to 20/50, which is the limit for driving w/o glasses in NY. I don't have problems with blurred lights at night though.

I think anybody who gets their eye surgery at a cut-rate clinic is just asking for trouble and the problem with eyes is that you can't replace them. I was offered a "correction" to get me back to normal vision but declined - no data on the long term effects and no guarantee that the correction wouldn't go bad in a few years.

13 years later I need reading glasses anyway, just like Fadamor said. It's tough getting old, but consider your options.....

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I've read where presbyopia levels-off around age 60, so I'm considering having laser blended vision surgery at 60 if I'm considered a suitable candidate. I used to have 20/10 vision, but over the years some astigmatism has developed along with the presbyopia. I've got 6 years to go until I'm 60 and figure that will be a decent amount of time for researchers to find out of there are short-term problems with the procedure.


1 ( +1 / -0 )

I had the surgery in the days before a laser was used. It was called "RK surgery" at that time (Radial keratotomy). My vision was greatly improved, but as other have said here, it didn't last. I got about 8 good years, then normally aging eyes kicked in. The biggest problem now is my vision isn't stable; it changes throughout the day. In the morning, everything is blurry and I use my reading glasses for everything except driving. As the day goes on, I only need the reading glasses for very small print and my distance vision improves. By evening, distance vision, especially driving at night, is weaker, and I still need my reading glasses. I can't get a pair of glasses for distance/driving/watching movies/tv that work at all times of the day. Very frustrating!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I can't see much without glasses but I wouldn't have my eyes doctored with lasers. Unless you're going on a roller coaster there are few issues with glasses.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Fadamor - the problem with waiting till you're 60 and your presbyopia has 'levelled off' is that by that age there's a chance of cataracts having started, and a reputable clinic will not consider you for lasik surgery if you have even mild (=unnoticed by you) cataracts. If I were you I would go sooner rather than later.

there are few issues with glasses

Having to look at the world through a 'frame'.

Trying to keep the lenses clean.

Fogging up in steamy atmospheres, or even just coming in from the cold into a warm room.

Constant rubbing over the ears and nasty marks either side of the nose.

Expense (You'd think lasik would be more expensive, but it's a one-off and if you have private medical insurance, the procedure is partly covered; while a set of lenses for glasses - even if you choose the cheapest frames in the shop, and who wants them?? - can set you back 6 figures (in yen) by the time you've opted for non-scratch, bifocal reduced-thickness lenses. Drop them, and you're searching for your credit card again)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Unless you're going on a roller coaster there are few issues with glasses.

Strange example... there are a whole bunch of sports where glasses are impractical.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

and a reputable clinic will not consider you for lasik surgery if you have even mild (=unnoticed by you) cataracts.

If I've got cataracts, then astigmatism and presbyopia just became the least of my worries. Getting Lasik done now wouldn't make the cataracts any less of a problem, but getting it done now while my presbyopia is still progressing would guarantee that my vision would slide back again after the surgery. I HATE paying twice for the same thing.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I had Lasik done at the Kobe Kanagawa clinic in Shinjuku in December 2013. Clinic was excellent, and I had really good results with their premium iDesign iLasik. I had my 1 month check a few days ago and was given the all clear. I can go back to scuba diving, but now I don't even need to worry about losing contact lenses! Hoorah.

I wrote a few blog posts about my experience, hope that they'll help anyone considering the procedure


1 ( +1 / -0 )

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