Survey of complications and recommendations for management in dissatisfied patients seeking a consultation after refractive surgery

Nada S. Jabbur, Keiko Sakatani, Terrence P. O'Brien

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


Purpose: To review complications associated with and management options for dissatisfied patients seeking a consultation after refractive surgery performed elsewhere. Setting: Refractive Eye Surgery Center, The Wilmer Institute, Lutherville, Maryland, USA. Methods: In this retrospective review, charts of consecutive dissatisfied patients who sought a refractive consultation between June 1999 and January 2003 after refractive surgery performed elsewhere were reviewed and the following parameters were analyzed: visual acuity (uncorrected and best spectacle corrected), prior manifest refraction, complications, and recommendations. The subjective complaints, complications, and visual acuity were reviewed, and the associated historical or visual risk factors as well as treatment options were analyzed. Results: One hundred sixty-one eyes in 101 patients with ocular complaints were identified. One hundred thirty-four eyes (83.2%) had had laser in situ keratomileusis; 22 eyes, photorefractive keratectomy; 4 eyes, radial keratotomy; and 1 eye, laser thermokeratoplasty. The most common subjective complaints were blurred distance vision (59.0%), glare and night-vision disturbances (43.5%), and dry eyes (21.1%). The most common complications were overcorrection (30.4%), irregular astigmatism (29.8%), dry eyes (29.8%), glare (26.1%), difficulty with night driving (16.7%), and corneal haze (16.7%). The most common cause identified in eyes with best spectacle-corrected visual acuity worse than 20/40 was irregular astigmatism (10 of 18 eyes [55.5%]). The most common recommendation for management was medical treatment or observation (68.3%). Medical therapies recommended included lubrication, punctal plugs, topical and systemic pharmaceutical agents to modulate ocular surface, spectacles, and contact lenses. Keratoplasty (lamellar or penetrating) was recommended in 4 patients (4 eyes [2.5%]). The diagnoses included corneal ectasia in 3 eyes and severe flap complication with irregular astigmatism in 1 eye. Nine patients (5.6% eyes) required nonkeratoplasty surgery. In other patients, waiting for advances in technology, including wavefront-guided customized retreatment, was recommended. Conclusions: A spectrum of complications associated with refractive surgery may result in patient dissatisfaction. Proper patient selection, prevention strategies, and prompt diagnosis and medical or surgical intervention may be beneficial in managing complications and improving patient satisfaction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1867-1874
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of cataract and refractive surgery
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems


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