LASIK allows patients to experience life as they have never known it: clear and hassle-free. You may pursue life with new confidence, enthusiasm and ease thanks to LASIK. The procedure takes just a few minutes, and its results can have a tremendous impact on a patient’s quality of life.

That said, LASIK is not for everyone. There are health and lifestyle considerations to take into account when making this important decision. Every surgical procedure – even one as common as LASIK – has its risks. Although most patients are very pleased with the results of their laser vision correction surgery, every patient should weigh the chance of experiencing complications against the potential benefits of the procedure.

At TLC Laser Eye Centers, LASIK risks are fully discussed with you prior to your procedure. Extensive pre-operative testing helps ensure that only the best candidates are selected. Diligent post-operative care also allows us to identify and address potential complications as your eyes heal.

Potential Risks and Side Effects of LASIK Surgery

LASIK is a safe and effective procedure for many individuals. However, like any surgery, it carries inherent risks and potential side effects. These can be broadly categorized into temporary inconveniences and less common complications.

Temporary Side Effects:

  • Dry Eyes: A frequent post-operative effect is temporary disruption of tear production, leading to dry eye symptoms like irritation, grittiness, and a foreign body sensation. Artificial tears and prescription medications can effectively manage dry eyes.
  • Night Vision Disturbances: Nighttime glare, halos, and light sensitivity can sometimes occur after LASIK. These symptoms are usually temporary and improve as the eye heals. However, in rare cases, they may persist for a longer duration.
  • Discomfort and Blurry Vision: Immediately following surgery, some patients experience discomfort, blurry vision, or light sensitivity. These effects typically subside within a few days.
  • Red Spots on the Eye (Subconjunctival Hemorrhages): Tiny red spots on the white part of the eye are a common occurrence after LASIK. These spots are harmless bruises caused by the suction ring used during surgery and typically disappear on their own within a few weeks.

It’s important to note that not everyone experiences these side effects. If you do encounter these temporary inconveniences, open communication with your ophthalmologist is crucial. They can provide guidance on managing these effects and ensure a smooth recovery process.

Less Common Complications:

  • Undercorrection or Overcorrection: The laser may remove too little or too much corneal tissue, leading to blurry vision. Additional procedures might be necessary to achieve optimal correction.
  • Flap Complications: Issues with the corneal flap created during LASIK, such as folding or displacement, can cause infections or vision problems.
  • Corneal Ectasia: A weakening of the cornea, causing bulging and potentially worsening vision. This is a rare but serious complication.
  • Vision Loss: In rare instances, LASIK surgery can lead to permanent vision loss.

While these complications are uncommon, understanding them empowers you to ask informed questions during your pre-operative consultation.

We cannot promise that you will never need contacts or glasses again – beware of anyone who makes such a promise – but LASIK can drastically decrease your dependence on these visual aids. Keep the information on this page in mind when planning your LASIK procedure and weighing its risks. Additional information can be found at the FDA’s Medical Devices page.

Additionally, the following patients should not have LASIK:

  • Those with collagen vascular disease
  • Those with autoimmune or immunodeficiency diseases
  • Patients with signs of keratoconus or abnormal corneal topography
  • Women who are pregnant or nursing
  • Patients who are taking the medications isotretinoin (Accutane™) or amiodarone hydrochloride (Cordarone™)