Potential Risks and Side Effects of LASIK Surgery

Part of preparing for any surgery or procedure is educating yourself on the potential risks or side effects. Having all the facts will better ensure you’re able to discuss any concerns you might have with your doctor. In addition, knowing what to potentially expect after surgery helps to set expectations, including any potential side effects you may experience

If you are interested in or preparing for LASIK, make sure you’re aware of the LASIK risks and benefits so that you are fully informed.

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 risks, serious complications are rare. Since LASIK was FDA approved, it has undergone extensive clinical trials and studies. In fact, 95% of patients are satisfied with their vision outcomes following LASIK. However, there is a very small percentage of LASIK surgery patients that experience temporary or side effects from LASIK surgery.

The great news is that most post LASIK side effects are temporary and will improve over time. In a very small number of patients, however, they may become permanent. LASIK eye surgery risks include:

  • Astigmatism: If tissue is removed 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 tissue.
  • Regression:  Vision could slowly revert back to the patient’s original prescription.
  • Undercorrection:  Undercorrection can occur if the laser doesn’t remove enough 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 LASIK side effects are unusual and temporary, they can occur. 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 LASIK surgery risks, there are potential LASIK side effects that you should be aware of. In most cases, these side effects are temporary and will dissipate with time. However, it is important to be prepared for these side effects so that you aren’t alarmed and are able to track how long they last for you. Temporary LASIK 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, itchy eyes:  Your eyes may itch as they heal, and dry eye is 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

Many of these LASIK surgery side effects will resolve within the first couple of weeks following your procedure. Some may improve 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 are not unusual as it can take time to heal completely.

To ensure that your side effects improve as quickly as possible, make sure you follow your doctor’s recovery instructions. Use all eye drops and medications as directed, and make sure you 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 May 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.

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 LASIK risks include:

  • Autoimmune disorders:  Your likelihood of LASIK surgery risks 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 LASIK 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 LASIK 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 you from being a LASIK candidate, though not all of them will. Each case is different. Talk to your eye doctor about how much your LASIK surgery risks increase 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 LASIK Surgery Risks Outweigh the Benefits of LASIK for You

In some cases, your LASIK surgery risks are simply too great to make you a candidate for LASIK. 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 LASIK 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.

Your choice of LASIK surgeons can also make a big difference in post-procedure results. Choose a LASIK surgeon who is experienced in performing thousands of LASIK procedures. Choose a LASIK surgeon who uses the latest and safest laser technology to help reduce your risk of complications. The 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 LASIK eye surgery risks 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 LASIK surgery risks. Find out whether you are an eligible LASIK candidate or whether your LASIK risks 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 LASIK side effects, as well as offering ongoing care to evaluate and treat any side effects you may experience.

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’ extensive experience means 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, or to schedule your free initial consultation, give us a call (855) 646-2020 or contact us at contact@dellorusso.com. We look forward to meeting you and helping you improve your vision.