It is sensible to be educated and informed about any potential LASIK eye surgery risks if you are considering having the treatment. This page will enable patients considering the procedure to better understand the risks associated with LASIK in order to weigh up the benefits of undergoing laser eye surgery.
As with any surgical procedure, LASIK surgery does carry some risks. Fortunately, however, significant side-effects are very rare indeed and in the unlikely event that they occur can normally be safely managed by an appropriately skilled surgeon.
Here is some information about potential LASIK surgery risks, the likelihood that they might occur, their severity, and what can be done if you are affected.
Like all surgical procedures, LASIK carries a small risk of infection. However, eye infections following LASIK are rare. If the procedure is carried out using sterile lasers throughout, the surgeon can avoid any physical contact with the eye and thus minimise the chance of infection. Patients can also reduce the risk of infection by avoiding swimming pools and facial products for a short period of time following surgery.
Because LASIK temporarily stops the eye from producing tears, patients may complain of dry eyes in the first six months following surgery. This is a relatively common effect of surgery and may be treated with eye drops.
Complications with the LASIK flap
According to the Royal College of Ophthalmologists, problems associated with the flap created in the cornea during the LASIK procedure may affect between 0 and 4% of patients. The effects may be short or long term and in some instances a second procedure may be required to alleviate symptoms.
Temporary side-effects in the first weeks following surgery
In addition to the risks outlined above, it is normal to experience some temporary side-effects after undergoing the procedure. Patients may experience blurred vision, glare and halos or starbursts around lights during the healing process following LASIK surgery.
These symptoms are quite common in the first few weeks and they almost always improve over time as the eye heals.
With modern laser techniques, long-term complaints of problems with night vision are very rare.
Further information on the LASIK procedure
It is important to talk to your surgeon in order to better understand the possible outcomes of LASIK surgery and to satisfy yourself that LASIK is right for you. Your surgeon will discuss with you all the risks associated with LASIK eye surgery. He will be able to provide details of the side-effects his patients have experienced and how these have been treated in his practice.
If you would like to research this topic further in order to better understand LASIK surgery and what happens during the procedure, the Royal College of Ophthalmologists has produced a patient guide to Excimer Laser Refractive Surgery, including LASIK. This outlines in detail how the surgery works, how LASIK compares to other forms of laser eye surgery and the potential outcomes and relative LASIK surgery risks.