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Is LASIK Safe?

Is LASIK Safe?


LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis) is a widely performed elective surgery designed to correct refractive errors, potentially reducing or eliminating the need for glasses or contact lenses. 800,000 procedures are performed annually in the United States alone. But is it safe?

Safety Record

LASIK has a well-established safety record. An estimated 25 million procedures have been performed in the U.S. since 1999 with high patient satisfaction rates, and the procedure has improved with time. Studies indicate that serious complications are rare, and most people experience significant vision improvement.

LASIK Surgeons Get LASIK Too!

There’s a myth that LASIK surgeons don’t get LASIK themselves. In fact this was studied and it was found that a higher proportion of LASIK surgeons get LASIK than the general population!

Potential Risks and Side Effects

As with any surgical procedure, LASIK carries some risks. Some side effects are relatively common and often resolve within a few weeks or months. They include eye discomfort, dry eyes, glare, halos, starbursts, and light sensitivity.

LASIK Side Effect: Glare
LASIK Side Effect: Halo

Additionally, Other Rare Risks include:

  • Long term discomfort or visual symptoms such as those in the above images, may persist.
  • Over-treatment or under-treatment might require very light correction to see your very best, or might require re-treatment.
  • Your results may not last more than a few years and you may need to consider lesser amounts of correction or retreatments in the future.
  • Severe and chronic dry eyes may occur as a result of surgery.
  • Your vision could be reduced in dim light conditions due to decreased contrast sensitivity.
  • Bilateral treatment carries the additional risk that any of the above complications could hinder both eyes at the same time. 
  • Cornea complications could include infection, inflammation, haze, or an irregular bulging shape.
  • Some complications rarely can even lead to decreased vision, and even blindness has been reported. However, this outcome is extremely unlikely, estimated at 1 in 5 million, and it would require a number of very rare complications to occur simultaneously.  You’re more likely to die being struck by lightning, or losing vision from complications of contact lens use. 
Beautiful eye

Who is a Good Candidate for LASIK?

Not everyone is Suitable for LASIK. Ideal Candidates Typically Have:

  • Stable vision for at least a year
  • Sufficient corneal thickness
  • No underlying eye conditions that could interfere with healing
  • A thorough eye examination by a qualified professional is essential to determine your eligibility.

Know What Makes You a Poor Candidate!

Many of these items we will screen for during your preoperative assessment:

  • Career impact – does your job prohibit refractive surgery?
  • Cost – can you afford this procedure?
  • Medical conditions – do you have an autoimmune disease or other chronic illness that might slow or alter healing?
  • Eye conditions – do you have or have you ever had any problems with your eyes other than needing glasses or contacts?
  • Medications – do you take steroids or other drugs that might prevent healing?
  • Stable refraction – has your prescription changed in the last year?
  • High or Low refractive error – do you use glasses/contacts only some of the time? Do you need an unusually strong prescription?
  • Pupil size – are your pupils extra large in dim conditions?
  • Corneal thickness – do you have thin corneas?
  • Tear production – do you have dry eyes?

Potential Risk of Psychological Harm

There have been rare reports of patients who had LASIK and later experienced severe depression or suicidality that they believe to be a result of complications following the procedure. A definitive causal link between LASIK and these reported psychological harms has not been established, but caution should be taken for people with a pre-existing history of depression or anxiety.

What Experts Say

Leading health organizations like the Mayo Clinic and the American Refractive Surgery Council affirm the safety and effectiveness of LASIK for suitable candidates. A review article in the Journal of Cataract and Refractive Surgery demonstrated the overall percentage of eyes with uncorrected distance visual acuity better than 20/40 was 99.5%

Making an Informed Decision

If you’re considering LASIK, it’s crucial to weigh the potential risks and benefits carefully. Consult with an experienced eye surgeon to discuss your individual case and expectations. They can provide personalized guidance and help you make an informed decision about whether LASIK is right for you.


Please note: This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult with a qualified healthcare provider for any health concerns.