PURPOSE. To evaluate preoperative risk factors for postoperative symptoms of glare, halos and/or starbursts after laser in situ keratomileusis (LASIK).
METHOD. Questionnaires using visual analogue scales to assess symptoms and satisfaction after LASIK were mailed to a total of 2100 LASIK patients from the Northeastern Eye Institute, the University of California in Los Angeles and the University of Pittsburgh. All subjects had at least 6 months postoperative follow-up. Multiple preoperative corneal and refractive parameters were collected from the medical charts of all subjects who returned the questionnaire and compared to subject responses from the questionnaire.
RESULTS. The return rate for the questionnaire was 42.8%. The mean age for all subjects was 42.1 ± 9.8 years. 63.1% of the subjects were women. Overall, 97.0% of the subjects would recommend LASIK to a friend. The average subject satisfaction was rated at 88.7% of the maximal value. Halos were reported by 29.9%, glare by 27.1%, and starbursts by 24.2% of all subjects. A significantly larger percentage of subjects who reported that they would not recommend LASIK to a friend, experienced glare, halos or starbursts (81.3% versus 52.8%, p=0.03). The effect of these symptoms on night driving was significantly greater in subjects who reported that they would not recommend LASIK (90.7 ± 44.8 mm versus 52.7 ± 41.4 mm, p=0.0009). Subjects who reported starbursts had significantly flatter preoperative minimum corneal curvature values (43.55 ± 1.6 D versus 43.95 ± 1.7 D, p=0.03).
CONCLUSIONS. Subject satisfaction after LASIK is negatively influenced by postoperative symptoms of glare, halos and starbursts and also by how much these symptoms effect night driving. The presence starbursts after LASIK is associated with flatter preoperative corneal curvature values.