Is LASIK Eye Surgery Safe?

If you’re considering a LASIK procedure, you probably have a lot of questions. The top question for most patients is usually, “Is LASIK safe?” From there, you’ll want to know more about the LASIK success rate, LASIK risks, and how to ensure you get the best results possible from your LASIK procedure. Read on to find out more about LASIK surgery risks and benefits so you can make an educated decision.

Is LASIK Safe?

One of the first things most patients want to know when they begin researching laser eye surgery is, “How safe is LASIK eye surgery?” The short answer is that LASIK is absolutely safe when performed on an eligible candidate by a qualified laser eye surgeon. LASIK surgery has been around since the 1990s and it continues to be popular because of its reliable record for effectiveness and safety. That said, when the procedure is performed on an eligible LASIK candidate by an experienced surgeon, the results tend to be excellent. In fact, more than 96% of patients report being satisfied with the outcome of their LASIK surgery.

As you research laser eye surgeons, pay close attention to how they talk about the procedure. If they claim that anyone can get LASIK, be wary. Planning for any laser eye surgery should include a thorough evaluation of your eyes and overall health to determine whether you are a good match for the procedure. LASIK surgery should only be performed on patients who are determined to be eligible candidates, and an experienced surgeon will be upfront about this. Be sure to do additional research into your potential surgeons’ experience. The more experience they have performing LASIK, the better.

What Is the LASIK Success Rate?

Over 96% of patients who get LASIK are satisfied with their vision results. In addition, studies have found that the LASIK success rate is phenomenal. Researchers recently found that 98% percent of LASIK patients achieved at least 20/40 visual acuity, which is good enough to pass a driver’s license exam without glasses. Even more impressive, over 90% of patients achieved 20/20 visual acuity. While the FDA allows for a 5% complication rate, meaning LASIK would still be FDA approved if 5% of patients experienced worse vision following their procedure, the complication rate for LASIK is less than 1%.

The American Refractive Surgery Council reports that LASIK is one of the most studied elective procedures performed today. Between 1993 and 2005, over 9,000 patients participated in FDA clinical trials that tested the safety of LASIK and measured its outcomes. Since that time, over 7,000 peer-reviewed clinical studies have been published, confirming the safety and effectiveness of LASIK.

The LASIK success rate is encouraging news for anyone considering a LASIK procedure, and you should feel safe and confident pursuing LASIK surgery. However, it is also important to understand the risks of any surgery.

What Are the LASIK Surgery Risks?

Before you commit to any surgical procedure, you should know the potential risks and side effects. Asking about potential risks is especially essential when determining “Is LASIK safe for my eyes?” The great news is that LASIK surgery risks are quite low, with complications occurring in less than 1% of patients. Side effects, which are slightly more common, are typically temporary and resolve as your eyes heal from the procedure. Few patients reported that the side effects were bothersome.

LASIK side effects, which should resolve with time, can include:

  • Blurry or hazy vision
  • Difficulty seeing in low light conditions
  • Dry eye
  • Glare
  • Halos
  • Ghost images
  • Light sensitivity
  • Starbursts

Most of these side effects will dissipate early on as your corneas heal, and many that last longer can often be mitigated with eye drops, sunglasses, and minimized night driving. Keep your eye surgeon updated on any side effects you experience so they monitor their progression.

LASIK surgery risks are extremely rare, but can happen. These risks can include:

  • Astigmatism
  • Eye infections
  • Inflammation of the cornea
  • Lasting glare, haloes, or ghost images
  • Long-term sensitivity to light
  • Overcorrection
  • Undercorrection
  • Vision changes or loss
  • Visual regression

It is helpful to note that while LASIK risks do exist, LASIK has never been the sole or primary cause of blindness in any patient. So, how safe is LASIK eye surgery? Take comfort in knowing that LASIK is extremely safe. Because complications occur in such a small number of patients, you should feel absolutely confident in the safety of this procedure. Particularly when you plan well in order to reduce your risk.

What Can Patients Do to Reduce Their LASIK Risks?

While the risk of complications from LASIK is extremely low, you have a role to play in minimizing your LASIK surgery risks. It’s essential that you do some necessary leg work to find a trustworthy provider with significant experience performing LASIK surgery.
You’ll also want to know more about the technology and techniques the surgeons you’re considering employ to better understand the type of surgery they’re proposing for you. Finally, make sure you find a provider that requires ample preliminary information from you, including an eye exam, before promising that you are a good candidate for LASIK.

1. Get recommendations. If you have friends, family, or coworkers you trust who have had LASIK surgery, ask for provider recommendations. You can also ask your regular eye doctor or primary care doctor for professional recommendations. Consider reading through patient reviews online, as well, to get a feel for how practices operate and which surgeons get consistently great reviews.

2. Do your research. Once you have a few potential providers in mind, look at their websites. See how they talk about LASIK and whether they are clear that not everyone will be a candidate. Take a close look at their pricing to see if it’s comparable to other providers. If they say anyone can get LASIK or offer prices that seem surprisingly low, move on. Providers’ websites may also offer helpful information about the surgeons’ experience, the types of laser eye procedures they offer, and the type of technology they use in their office.

3. Get a consultation. An eye surgeon should gather information about your medical history and your vision before making any promises about procedures. Ask, “Is LASIK safe for me,” and ask how their office handles care before, during, and after your surgery. Be sure to ask any questions you have about their experience and voice any concerns you might have. Take note of whether you feel comfortable with the way the surgeons talk to you and the information they provide after each consultation. You should feel good about the surgeon you choose.

Choose an experienced surgeon. Once you’ve attended consultations with all surgeons you’re considering, choose a qualified LASIK surgeon that has significant experience performing the type of surgery you’ll need. Ask about how they ensure that your surgery will be as precise as possible and, if you’re interested, ask about whether custom LASIK can help reduce LASIK risks for you. Get all of the information you need to feel good about moving forward with your LASIK surgery.

5. Follow doctor’s orders. The final step for reducing your LASIK surgery risks is to ensure that you follow all of your eye surgeon’s instructions to the letter. You’ll need to do certain things to prepare before surgery, like not wearing contacts for a few weeks, to make sure you are fully prepared. Additionally, you’ll need to carefully follow your LASIK recovery instructions after your procedure to ensure that your corneas heal as quickly as possible. This will also help reduce your likelihood of experiencing side effects for a longer period of time.

In the end, you have a lot of agency when it comes to ensuring your own personal LASIK success rate. You can minimize your LASIK risks by doing your research ahead of time, finding an experienced eye surgeon who is careful about assessing candidates for LASIK, and following directions carefully to ensure that things go as expected.

New technologies like bladeless, custom LASIK, and wavefront mapping allow experienced eye surgeons to provide precise, personalized procedures with fewer side effects. LASIK is already one of the safest elective surgeries, so with these precautions in place, there’s no need to wonder, “Is LASIK eye surgery safe?” You can feel confident beginning your journey toward improved vision with LASIK. We invite you to start your journey with Dello Russo Laser Vision today.