Contrast Sensitivity after LASIK

by: Advanced Laser | August 27, 2013

Contrast Sensitivity after LASIKAlthough LASIK has been commercially available in the United States for less than two decades, remarkable advancements have been made in the various technologies used to perform the procedure during that time. Thanks to these advancements, LASIK is now safer and more effective than ever, especially when performed by experienced, skilled professionals such as those at the Oklahoma City LASIK practice, Advanced Laser & Cataract Center Oklahoma.

Eye doctor John Belardo firmly believes that the best patients are well-informed patients, which is why he makes sure to educate LASIK candidates about the full range of benefits and risks associated with the procedure before they proceed. While we are able to minimize risks through the use of the most advanced, state-of-the-art LASIK technology available, there is no such thing as a risk-free surgery.

Nevertheless, the vast majority of patients who undergo LASIK achieve 20/40 or better vision without glasses or contact lenses, with no permanent complications. One of the more common complications associated with LASIK is the loss of contrast sensitivity; however, most patients are unable to notice the difference in contrast sensitivity without a point of reference. Conversely, patients who undergo wavefront-guided custom LASIK – especially when the bladeless LASIK technique is employed – may even experience improvement in their contrast sensitivity.

Loss of Contrast Sensitivity after LASIK

Loss of contrast sensitivity is one of the most common side effects not just of LASIK, but of any refractive surgery. In most cases, however, this loss is quite subtle, to the point of being negligible. One of the advantages of having LASIK performed on both eyes in a single session is that any loss of contrast sensitivity is more likely not to be noticed, as there will be no untreated eye to offer a point of comparison.

The loss of contrast sensitivity generally results in vision appearing darker than before surgery. During daytime hours or in good lighting, patients may not notice much difference. However, some patients may experience a noticeably decreased capacity for seeing well at night or in poor lighting.

There are several possible causes of a loss in contrast sensitivity after LASIK. One of the most common reasons is lingering refractive error after surgery. In many instances, it is possible to restore a degree of contrast sensitivity through additional surgery.

Contrast Sensitivity after Custom LASIK

Problems with contrast sensitivity can often be minimized or avoided altogether when patients elect to undergo custom wavefront-guided LASIK. The wavefront mapping technology used in custom LASIK allows Dr. Belardo to make a remarkably accurate and detailed map of the cornea, one that accounts not only for common visual errors such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism, but also for higher order aberrations: minute errors in the shape of the cornea that are unique to each individual eye. It has been clinically proven that when these errors are corrected through custom LASIK, loss of contrast sensitivity becomes far less likely, while some patients actually experience superior contrast sensitivity versus their pre-LASIK vision.

To learn more about LASIK, custom LASIK, and contrast sensitivity after LASIK, please call or email our practice today.