What are the chances of an infection after laser eye surgery?

Have you ever wondered what the likelihood of an infection is after laser vision correction?  In a study released by the Journal of Cataract & Refractive Surgery (JCRS) the risk of infectious keratitis in the eyes after laser vision correction was analysed.

What is microbial keratitis?

The condition is caused when the cornea, the clear, curved window at the front of the eye, becomes invaded by either bacteria, fungi or harrowing parasitic amoeba. This subsequently causes an ulcer.

This ulcer, if left untreated, can leave someone blind depending on its location and size. Climate and socio-economic differences also have an impact.  For example in tropical countries fungal corneal infection, often associated with agricultural injury, is a major cause of preventable corneal blindness.

The JCRS study on infection

According to the JCRS study, where more than half a million procedures were scrutinised, there is an infection rate of >1 in 21,000 Laser In Situ Keratomileusis (LASIK) patients and >1 in 7,000 Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK) patients.

These statistics come from their collected data that shows the incidence of microbial keratitis in both surgeries (LASIK and PRK). There was an overall incidence of 0.0046% of the infection in patients after undergoing LASIK, and 0.0012% after PRK.

To finalise their in-depth analysis, JCRS conclude that the overall risk after any laser vision correction procedures is very low.

Here at Focus Clinic, we have spoken about the risk of microbial keratitis before. The link between contact lenses and the disease is alarming, with new research highlighting that if you wear contact lenses for 10 years, you’re six times more likely to develop a sight-threatening infection than if you’d had laser eye surgery.

You can read more about the contact lens infection risk here.





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