In preparation for any surgery or procedure, it’s important to educate yourself on the potential risks or side effects that come with that procedure. With all the facts, you can discuss any concerns you have with your doctor before the procedure. In addition, knowing what to expect after surgery helps you prepare appropriately, so you’re ready for any potential side effects you may experience.

If you are considering or preparing for LASIK, make sure you’re aware of the potential side effects of LASIK so that you are fully informed. While LASIK is one of the safest elective surgical procedures available and has an estimated complication rate well below 1%, it’s still a good idea to get all the facts.

Potential LASIK eye surgery risks

Any surgery or procedure comes with some associated risks, so it’s important to learn about them ahead of time. Thankfully, when it comes to LASIK eye surgery, serious complications are rare. Since LASIK was FDA approved, it has undergone extensive clinical trials and studies to ensure safety and excellent outcomes. In fact, 96% of patients are satisfied with their vision outcomes following LASIK. However, there is a very small percentage of LASIK surgery patients that experience some side effects of LASIK eye treatment that they find bothersome.

The great news is that most LASIK side effects are temporary and will improve over time. In a very small number of patients, however, they may require medical treatment or a second laser eye surgery to correct the error. In a very small number of patients, these side effects could become permanent, though that is extremely rare. The risks of LASIK surgery include:

  • Astigmatism: If tissue is removed from the cornea unevenly, astigmatism can occur.
  • Diffuse Lamellar Keratitis: This inflammation of the cornea is rare, but can appear on the day following surgery.
  • Dry eyes: A temporary reduction in tear production is normal, but dry eye may persist.
  • Flap complications: Complications can include abnormal regrowth of the corneal tissue, infection of the corneal flap, or excess tear production because of the flap.
  • Glare, halos, or double vision: A small number of patients may experience long-term sensitivity to light, glare, halos around bright lights, or double vision.
  • Infections: Signs of infection can include redness, swelling, or oozing of the eyes.
  • Overcorrection: Overcorrection can occur if the laser removes too much corneal tissue.
  • Regression: Vision could slowly revert back to the patient’s original prescription.
  • Undercorrection: Under correction can occur if the laser doesn’t remove enough corneal tissue, but it is more common in nearsighted patients.
  • Vision changes or loss: Seeing less clearly or sharply than before is a possible complication; very rarely, complications can cause vision loss.

While most of these risks of LASIK are unusual, they can occur. Make sure you see an experienced eye surgeon with an excellent reputation. They can advise you properly on whether or not you are a good candidate for LASIK, or whether a different solution is better for you. If you are determined to be a good candidate, talk to your eye doctor about how to reduce your risk of complications. Make sure you follow your doctor’s instructions carefully to help your eyes rest and heal the way they should.

Always attend each follow-up appointment as instructed and tell your doctor about any vision changes, unusual sensations, pain, or symptoms that do not resolve or get worse with time. If your vision does not seem to improve, let your doctor know.

Potential LASIK surgery side effects

In addition to rare LASIK surgery risks, there are potential LASIK side effects that you should be aware of as well. In most cases, these side effects are temporary and will dissipate with time. However, it is important to be prepared for these side effects of LASIK so that you aren’t alarmed if they occur and can track how long they last for you. Temporary LASIK surgery side effects can include:

  • Blurry or hazy vision: Experiencing blurry or hazy vision is common immediately following LASIK, but should resolve itself over time — usually within six months.
  • Discomfort or pain: Some discomfort or slight pain may occur immediately after surgery, but should be treatable with over-the-counter pain medication.
  • Difficulty seeing at night: It will be harder to see at night and in dim light while your eyes heal, but that should improve over time and within six months.
  • Dry, burning, or itchy eyes: Your eyes may itch, burn, or feel scratchy as they heal. Dry eye is also common after LASIK as the surgery affects tear production.
  • Glare, halos, or starbursts: You may experience glare, halos, or starbursts following your surgery as your eyes heal, but it should resolve within the year following LASIK surgery.
  • Light sensitivity: Increased light sensitivity is common, but should improve within the year following surgery.
  • Pink or red patches on whites of eyes: These are simply broken blood vessels, much like a bruise on your skin, resulting from the suction ring used during the procedure and should resolve within a few weeks

Keep in mind that common side effects of LASIK eye surgery are to be expected, so be prepared to experience a few of those listed above. The great news is that many of these LASIK surgery side effects will resolve within the first couple of weeks following your procedure. Some may improve just days after surgery. For side effects that can last several months, it is a good idea to keep your doctor updated. However, know that some lasting side effects of LASIK are not unusual as it can take time for your corneas to heal completely.

To ensure that your side effects improve as quickly as possible, make sure you follow your doctor’s recovery instructions exactly. To prevent infection or disturbing your corneal flap, use all eye drops and medications as directed, and take care to avoid any eye irritation or injury. Wear sunglasses in bright light and be aware of situations in which your sight is compromised, particularly when driving, so you stay safe.

Pre-existing conditions that could increase LASIK risks

In some cases, you may have pre-existing conditions that can increase the likelihood of experiencing LASIK surgery risks. Your doctor will want to know if you have any of these pre-existing conditions, which is why they’ll get a thorough health history before deciding whether you are a candidate for LASIK or not.

Make sure you speak candidly with your doctor about your overall health and family medical history. This is especially important if any of the following conditions apply to you. Pre-existing conditions that increase risks of LASIK include:

  • Autoimmune disorders: Your likelihood of risks with LASIK increases if you have an autoimmune disease, like diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Being immunosuppressed: Certain medical treatments and certain health conditions can leave you immunosuppressed, increasing your risk of LASIK complications.
  • Chronic dry eye: Dry eye can impact your vision and your eyes’ ability to heal properly.
  • Eye diseases, conditions, or injuries: Some eye conditions, like cataracts, should be treated before you have LASIK surgery to reduce your risks.
  • Hormonal changes: Hormonal changes, like those caused by pregnancy or lactation, can cause fluctuations in your vision, so it’s ideal to wait for these fluctuations to resolve before surgery to reduce your risks.
  • Work or activities that put your eyes at risk: Certain jobs or extracurricular activities may increase your risk of LASIK complications or injury following surgery.

In some cases, these conditions will eliminate LASIK candidates from being eligible for the surgery, though not all of them will. Each case is different. Talk to your eye doctor about how much your potential risks increase with LASIK as a result of your condition. Every patient’s eyes are unique, so it’s important to find out what your doctor believes is best for you and your eyes.

When the risks outweigh the benefits of LASIK for you

In some cases, the risks of LASIK eye surgery are simply too great to make you a candidate for the procedure. However, that does not mean you are disqualified from other laser eye surgeries. In many cases, patients who are not candidates for LASIK because of their increased risks may be excellent candidates for PRK laser eye surgery.

Your doctor will be able to calculate your risk of LASIK side effects and whether your risks are too great to proceed. They can tell you what kind of eye procedure is best for you and your eyes. As such, it’s important to give your doctor as much information as possible about your overall health, any conditions you have, and anything in your life that may increase your LASIK eye surgery risks. From there, your doctor can make the safest and most effective choice for you.

How can you reduce your risks with LASIK?

You have some control when it comes to reducing your risk of complications and even the common side effects of LASIK eye surgery. First, remember that your choice of LASIK surgeons can make a big difference in post-procedure results. Choose a LASIK surgeon who is experienced in performing thousands of LASIK procedures like yours and uses the latest and safest laser technology to help reduce your risk of complications. Serious LASIK complications, like over or under correction, flap complications, or vision regression are extremely rare and typically result from incorrect flap creation or shaping of the cornea. An experienced eye surgeon is not only important for your comfort and peace of mind, but it’s also critical for minimizing risks.

You can also opt for a custom LASIK procedure, which allows your eye surgeon to get precise information about your eyes and their unique needs. With this type of detailed information, your surgeon can create a personalized treatment plan to help address all your needs with precision. A surgeon with significant experience performing this type of custom LASIK procedure can help reduce the likelihood of complications and side effects for you, leaving you with vastly improved vision. The world class LASIK surgeons at Dello Russo Laser Vision have the necessary expertise for excellent results.

Find Out More About LASIK at Dello Russo Laser Vision

If you are interested in pursuing LASIK, it’s a good idea to find out more about the surgical risks of LASIK eye surgery for you. That starts with a consultation with an experienced eye doctor. At Dello Russo Laser Vision, we offer a free initial consultation to help you get the information you need about your potential risks with LASIK. Find out whether you are an eligible LASIK candidate or whether your eyes indicate that PRK may be a better match for you.

Dello Russo Laser Vision is committed to providing patients with friendly, warm, professional service. It is our mission to ensure your comfort throughout your LASIK process. That includes ensuring that you are educated about the side effects of LASIK, as well as offering ongoing care. This can help prevent side effects when possible and allows us to evaluate and treat any side effects of LASIK eye treatment you may experience as soon as possible.

For the vast majority of patients, LASIK is extremely effective and the majority of patients are satisfied with the results of their procedure. At Dello Russo Laser Vision, our surgeons have extensive training and experience and use the latest and safest technology, so you can trust us to provide you with the expert care you need. Throughout your journey to the best possible vision for you, we provide personalized care to help ensure that you get the results you want.

To find out more about what to expect with LASIK, how to prepare before surgery, and how to plan for your LASIK recovery timeline, we invite you to explore our website, including our informative blog and LASIK FAQs. Once you’re ready to schedule your free initial consultation, give us a call (855) 646-2020 or contact us at [email protected]. We look forward to meeting you and helping you improve your vision.

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