LASIK Eye Surgery Image

LASIK Eye Surgery: Risks and Benefits

Do you suffer from poor vision? Tired of always having to wear your glasses? What about those times you sit down at a restaurant only to realize you forget your glasses at home? It’s situations like these that make many people consider LASIK eye surgery. However, most of us don’t know about all the risks of this surgery or even the criteria for success. Not every person is a good candidate for LASIK eye surgery. For some, the risks are much higher than the benefits.

What Is LASIK Surgery For?

LASIK surgery is most often used to correct hyperopia, myopia, and astigmatism. These conditions usually result in the patient choosing to wear glasses or prescriptive lenses. Then, they might choose to get surgery to avoid the inconvenience of visual aids. However, these conditions have been successfully treated using less invasive treatments than surgery.

LASIK Eye Surgery ImageBefore jumping into the surgery, there are a few things that you should discuss with your doctor. Many LASIK patients have reported that they were not fully informed of the possible problems resulting from the surgery.

LASIK surgery should be performed by an ophthalmologist. Or, a medical doctor who has received training in eye surgery using a laser.

What Will Actually Happen During the Surgery?

Patients aren’t usually under anesthesia during the LASIK eye surgery process. They’re given local anesthetic eye drops to numb the eyes. Patients don’t feel any pain during the surgery. If you have severe anxiety beforehand, the doctor may give you a mild sedative to help you feel calm. The laser equipment needs a cooler temperature to operate optimally. So, patients are recommended to wear warmer clothing during the surgery for comfort.

Now for the cringey details. The doctor will make a cut in your eye so that they can pull back a flap. This flap is pulled back to allow the laser to reach the corneal stroma and make the necessary corrections. When the surgery is complete, the flap is replaced with care to ensure that no dirt or air is trapped beneath it. The eye is then allowed to heal naturally.

The benefits of the surgery are said to include never having to wear glasses again. Only you can decide if that is enough of a benefit to allow someone to cut into your eye. Read the fine print carefully before you agree to surgery. What is considered to be effective treatment doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be able to toss out the glasses.

The Most Common Risks of LASIK Eye Surgery

Several studies have been done on the incidence of dry eye after undergoing LASIK surgery. The American Journal of Ophthalmology reported a 10-40 percent chance of dry eye after the six-month healing process was complete.

Another study published in the IVOS Journal reported up to a 20-40 percent chance of dry eye developing after the same period. As you can see, it is difficult to set a definitive number, but the fact remains that the chance of developing dry eye after the surgery is real.

If left untreated, dry eye can result in less than optimum results from the surgery. It is important to know that in some cases dry eye cannot be treated or does not respond to treatment and can result in permanent chronic pain or impaired vision.

Diffuse Lamellar Keratitis (DLK), also referred to as “Sands of the Sahara”, has also been recorded after LASIK surgery. The nickname comes from the feeling of having sand in your eyes – all the time! DLK results when dead cells lodge under the corneal flap. The eye treats this as a foreign particle and tries to flush it out. Sadly, this can result in permanent vision loss or scarring of the eye if not treated immediately.

Other Reported Complications Resulting from LASIK Surgery

  • Corneal Ectasia (bulging of the cornea)
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Vitamin D deficiency caused by sun sensitivity
  • Over- or under-correction
  • Fluctuating visual acuity (changes in clarity)
  • Seeing double or ghost images
  • Seeing halos around lights at night
  • Debris under eye flap
  • Developing astigmatism
  • Small break or hole in the macula
  • Posterior vitreous detachment (when the vitreous membrane separates from the retina)
  • Thin or buttonhole flap (caused when an incomplete flap is created during surgery)
  • Eye floaters

Making the Right Choice for You

As we said earlier, LASIK may be the right choice for some people. This is a decision that you will have to make for yourself. We are just trying to make sure that you know the risks involved. Most invasive procedures prove to have more complications than non-invasive treatments.

Look at LASIK surgery the same way that you would look at a new drug your doctor wants you to take. You would want to ask your doctor about all the possible side effects. You’d want to know how often people who have used the drug have experienced problems with it. You would ask about possible dangers associated with the drug and about how it would react with other drugs you were taking.

Before you have LASIK surgery you should ask all these questions about the procedure and side effects from it as well. Only you can decide what risks you are willing to take. However, before you can make that decision you have to know what the actual risks involved are. Don’t be afraid to ask. It’s your eyes you’re talking about. You have the right to know what could result from the surgery.

The FDA website on LASIK surgery has some great advice: “Before undergoing a refractive procedure, you should carefully weigh the risks and benefits based on your own personal value system, and try to avoid being influenced by friends that have had the procedure or doctors encouraging you to do so.”

Also, you should know there are natural, non-invasive treatments to many eye conditions. You don’t have to go under the knife. Consider meeting with a behavioral optometrist to learn about your holistic options. And, ensure you’re getting enough nutrients to support eye health.

About the Author

Avatar for Tyler Sorensen

Tyler Sorensen is the President and CEO of Rebuild Your Vision. Formerly, Tyler studied Aeronautics with the dreams of becoming an airline pilot, however, after 9/11 his career path changed. After graduating top of his class with a Bachelor of Science degree in Informational Technologies and Administrative Management, he and his brother decided to start Rebuild Your Vision in 2002. With the guidance of many eye care professionals, including Behavioral Optometrists, Optometrists (O.D.), and Ophthalmologists (Eye M.D.), Tyler has spent over a decade studying the inner workings of the eye and conducting research.

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34 responses to “LASIK Eye Surgery: Risks and Benefits”

  1. Avatar for Remo Remo says:

    My eye has some myopic vision problems (-2.5); willing to get treated by your natural way; but opted for LASIK; now, it’s o.k. but, again little blur on vision; can it be rectified by natural way!

  2. Avatar for Tyler Sorensen Tyler Sorensen says:

    Hi Remo,

    We have had many customers use the Ocu-Plus Formula after lasik surgery when their vision starts to deteriorate after lasik. They use the vitamins located on our home page to maintain their perfect vision.

    Hope this helps!

  3. Avatar for David Simmons David Simmons says:

    I find it difficult to understand how people are so prepared to risk their precious vision with a surgery that has, by statistics been shown to have so many after effects of a detrimental nature including vision deterioration. Many people even have to resort to further operations to repair problems caused by the initial surgery. Possibly the answer here lies in the knowledge and ability of the surgeon in question, but nevertheless the best recommendation is to check out in depth the previous performance of your Lasik surgeon, ask for testimonials from other patients. Don´t turn a blind eye to these details, you may end up that way!

  4. Avatar for Sarah Coles Sarah Coles says:

    The benefits are good but rather scared with the risks involved in this surgery. Thanks for providing this information.

  5. Avatar for manoj maru (Optometrist) manoj maru (Optometrist) says:

    In lasik surgery, the laser beam is applied in a II on the layer of cornea. I believe that in a 200-250 micron gape. There will be a chance of corneal abrasion. Another thing is that a tear field flows can be changed and it reflects a poor vision sometimes during surgery.

  6. Avatar for Teri Teri says:

    Hi

    I injured one of my eyes and found using
    eye glasses was a poor cure for me as I
    worked in the forest. It was actually hopeless
    trying to work for a number of reasons.
    The main one beaning distorted preception.

    I was concerned about dry eyes, glair and
    light sensitivity Lasik might create.
    Well a few years on I can tell you I
    have all those problems.

    Lasik is not a cure.

  7. Avatar for Fred Gehring Fred Gehring says:

    I had a lasik surgery only in my right eye and got many problems, is it possible treat my other eye with this ? only one eye ?
    that will cause any problems to the other ?

    Fred Gehring
    From Brazil

  8. Avatar for Harry Harry says:

    LASIK is useless because we have a chance of getting other eye disorders later on in life.

    The doctor was recommending his patients to get LASIK and when they asked about side effects:

    – He spoke about the immediate vision improvement aka magic pill
    And there’s no guarantee from cataract.

    Once I got that, I realized considering LASIK was useless. We are more likely to have cataract later on if we do Lasik.

  9. Avatar for Ephraim Ephraim says:

    I would not submit to LASIK surgery even if it were offered to me for free!

    My UDVA is 20/100, but I have never worn glasses. I have managed without any visual correction for years, after rejecting the suggestion when I failed an eye test at school at the age of 12. (I am now 45.) Even at that young age, and with no alternative influence, I had the wisdom not to get hooked on glasses as I knew that my vision would only get worse. I had seen that happen to my elder brother. No-one’s vision has ever improved from wearing glasses. (Of course, the optical establishment/industry deny that wearing glasses exacerbates poor vision!)

    Although I have known about natural vision therapy for years, my problem is that I have never managed to make the proper commitment necessary to rendering it a success. I do, however, maintain the right visual habits which have been instrumental in arresting further deterioration. So at least I’m floating even if I’m not swimming!

    I wish everyone success in their endeavours to improve their vision NATURALLY.

    Regards.

  10. Avatar for Drew Drew says:

    My experience getting assessed for Lasik:

    I went through a lot of very careful measurement tests and questionnaires. I am near-sighted and can read and see perfectly close-up. But I was told I would LOOSE that ability after surgery and would need glasses to read! (Now THAT’s something not advertised!)

    Finally, after about 45 minutes of interviewing and measuring, I had to pass the Final test which is where they test you for TOUCH sensitivity. It turns out that NOTHING can get near my eyeballs without a strong involuntary (and Quick!) reaction to snap my eyelids shut – followed by involuntary tears!

    So, based on that, I was immediately rejected. It turns out you need to be able to hold your eyes wide open for 8-10 minutes while they mess with your eyeballs. Now, most women it turns out have no problem because of years applying eye makeup. And I guess folks who already use contacts would also have no problem touching their eyeballs. I creeps me out and I get tears just thinking about poking my eyeballs.

    You would think that the Lasik people would do the eyeball-touch test FIRST, or even asked WAY beforehand instead of wasting my time.

    Or, am I a rare case?

    -Just thought you all would like to know what to expect.

  11. Avatar for Morgan Morgan says:

    Hey Tyler.

    Lasik has ruined a lot of lives. I wanted to share with you this petition. It is fro the FDA to stop Lasik eye surgery from being performed until all the risks are further understood. At the bottom you can read statements of people whose lives were ruined due to lasik and suffer dry eyes and partial blindness. I hope you read this and comsider signing the petition. It takes no longer than a minute and you will help a good cause. Thank you. Heres the link

    https://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/support-petition-to-withdraw-lasik-approval/

  12. Avatar for varsha varsha says:

    my number of both eyes are very large nearlly about -8.25 .. can i do laser operatoin of my eyes i’m am 18 years old……

  13. Avatar for varsha varsha says:

    or i should opt natural thearpyyyy

  14. Avatar for Joan Joan says:

    Has anyone ever heard of ORTHO-C? (not ortho-K).

  15. Avatar for Shah Shah says:

    Thanks Tyler,
    I think your website is a ray of hope anyone who is suffering eye problem… definitely, its a procedure most safe if it works… I hope that opticians will accept the reality soon… as its not fair with people who wore glasses that they are not told any other solution….
    I’m working on these, hope for good

  16. Avatar for mohammed mohammed says:

    Sir,my doctor said am having ambylopia or lazy eye and am 19years old.it is told that for the weaker eye to improve,it should be detected between the age of 7-12.so Sir,do you reckon eye exercises can give me significant improvement ?(using my weak eye,i cant read small letters even with glasses)……

    thanx

  17. Avatar for varsha varsha says:

    thanxx for ur advise Tyler .I will definitely try your tips to my full dedication..

  18. Avatar for iacopo iacopo says:

    Tyler
    have you taken some info from the Bates method ?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bates_method

    kind regards

  19. Avatar for priyanka priyanka says:

    hi Tyler, ,i am very keen to improve my vision and found ur site as a ray of hope. i hv some queries as my case is a little diffrent, i had undergone lasik surgery 4 years ago.i was suffering from myopia -2 in left eye and -4 for right, but even after lasik now i again hv to wear glasses with -2 for left eye and 1 for right .is it myopia in one eye and hypermetropia in other.can you help me to restore my vision.

  20. Avatar for Tyler Sorensen Tyler Sorensen says:

    Hi Iacopo,

    Although Dr. Bates is credited for pioneering the subject of natural vision improvement and paving the way for its progression, it has been nearly 80 years since his work.

    The subject has been greatly refined and advanced.

    To your vision — for life,

    Tyler

  21. Avatar for gaurav gaurav says:

    hi,sir.I’m 17 yrs.old and have -5 in left n -4 in right one.Can I hope to ever be able to bring it to 0 in both eyes….I’ve astigmatism as well.-1.75 in left and -1.5 in right eye…please respond soon.

  22. Avatar for Chetan Chetan says:

    Hi Tyler,

    Thanks for this website.

    I have undergone the laser surgery way back in 2005 and have had good vision for about 6 years or so however recently i have developed regression but i do not wish to go for lasik once more though i feel it would not be that much of a harm.

    I would like to tell one thing is that people have to have patience if they do not wish to go for lasik, and those who believe lasik is harmful should research first thoroughly before going thru the same.

  23. Avatar for sai sai says:

    hi Tyler, i have lots of queries , iam having myopia -6 in rt eye, -6.25 in lt eye and some times i feel dry in my eyes and i went yearly check up to eye doctor and he told me that i have glaucoma, i feel so depressed,as i am 31 and in my family no body having glaucoma but i didn’t find any symptoms especially in my rt eye if i keenly notice a very tiny round one moving according to my eye ball movement, but i feel so wexed, soo plz can u tell me any solution..

  24. Avatar for Tyler Sorensen Tyler Sorensen says:

    Hi Sai,

    To learn more about Glaucoma and how it can be prevented, please read the following post:

    https://www.rebuildyourvision.com/blog/vision-conditions/glaucoma/can-glaucoma-be-prevented/

    To your vision — for life,

    Tyler

  25. Avatar for Divas Ghanaksh Divas Ghanaksh says:

    Thanks Tyler for sending me mails on the topic “Rebuild your vision”. Thanks a lot…
    Regards,
    Divas Ghanaksh

  26. Avatar for Mary Smith Mary Smith says:

    I became myopic during childhood, and over the decades my vision got worse. When it got to the point that no one made contact lenses the strength I required, and my special glass lenses had to be so precise that they were made in Germany by a telescope company, I considered LASIK. What a godsend. My eyes could not be completely perfect, but one eye 20/20 and the other 20/60. It has been four years, and I am still quite happy with my vision. I am, however, now paying attention to nutrition in order to maintain the fabulous gift of good vision!

  27. Avatar for Bessie Bessie says:

    Hi Tyler, I had LASIK and have every side effect you can imagine. Can you help me?
    Regards
    Jay

  28. Avatar for Hrituraj Hrituraj says:

    Sir, I am a 15 year old boy and suffering from the problem of myopia.I wear glasses(4.0 d) and it really hurts me.Can you let me know whether i will be able to see without glasses or not after using your product???.If yes then how can i order it??Plz sir plz help me

  29. Avatar for CVisionCFuture CVisionCFuture says:

    With the development of technology, more people are choosing LASIK Surgery to deal with their myopia. I reckon it is actually not a good trend as people would care less about their eyes use because they think the myopia can be cure by LASIK Surgery anyway. Especially for kids and teenagers, i think it is still better for them to prevent the problem from the very beginning rather than controlling or treating the myopia afterward. Even the technology is already very advanced, there still risk there. The side effects after the surgery may follow the patient throughout his or her whole life.

  30. Avatar for sahil kansra sahil kansra says:

    my eye no is -2.0 on bth the eyes can u suggest me some tips to re build our vision naturally thank u

  31. Avatar for Christine L Burnette Christine L Burnette says:

    Is it common for debris to be in your eye after lasik surgery?

  32. Avatar for Amanda Drew Amanda Drew says:

    Thanks for pointing out that you should make sure to talk about all of the aspects of the procedure and the side effects that could happen to you. My eyesight has never been very good, and I want to stop having to wear glasses. I’ll need to find a doctor to go to and get Lasik from.

  33. Avatar for Guru Raj Guru Raj says:

    Is there are any long-term risks of LASIK?

  34. Avatar for Elsa Anderson Elsa Anderson says:

    My mom has been having a lot of sight issues over the past few years and she is thinking of getting lasik surgery so I am glad that I found this article. It is interesting that you say to ask your doctor about possible side effects first and see if there will be any risks involved because you don’t want to make a decision until you have all of the facts. The huge benefit for my mom will be not having to wear glasses again because she does not like wearing them because they bother her face.

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