Eyecare Options: The Common Risks of LASIK Surgery

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Dec 072013

risks-of-lasik-surgeryIf you have less than perfect vision and want to get rid of glasses or contacts, then laser in-situ keratomileusis, better known as LASIK, is a surgical option to consider. It has the potential to drastically improve your sight. Even so, like any medical procedure, it is not perfect. It has risks and complications that you need to understand before you have it done.

Over-, Under- or Imbalanced Corrected Vision

Your surgeon might accidentally remove too little or too much tissue from your eyes during the LASIK procedure. Your vision still might be better than before with a little under-correction, but the results won’t be as good as you hoped. Over-correction is much more difficult to fix because your doctor subsequently will have to work with anabsence of tissue.

Sometimes, the results are not consistent from eye to eye, either, and LASIK might mean you experience astigmatism, farsightedness or nearsightness worse in one eye than the other. Corrective eyewear can help, but improving vision while eliminating the need for lenses is the entire point of the surgery. If you do need corrective contacts before or because of LASIK, you can visit Lenstore to find out more.

Development of Vision Problems

Very commonly, LASIK patients report halos, glare or even double vision after surgery. This is particularly problematic with seeing at night. It can cause trouble in any low contrast situation, however, such as if you are in fog, as the Food and Drug Administration asserts. According to the Mayo Clinic, some people can treat this issue with corticosteroids, but additional surgery often is required.

Flap Problems

Dr. Brian S. Boxer Wachler explains that LASIK requires your doctor to make a flap on the surface of your cornea, which he lifts up in order to reshape your eye. Normally, this is simply replaced and it adheres back to the eye surface. Sometimes, though, a surgeon can accidentally cut the flap through and through.

It does not always reconnect properly and can wrinkle to form what are known as corneal striae. The result is distorted vision, which can connect to astigmatism, epithelial ingrowth, diffuse lamellar keratitis (inflammation under the flap) and keratectasia or keratoconus (bulging of the surface of the eye).


Infection of the eye is not especially common, but it can occur. It is most common with surface ablations. Normally, the infections are temporary and are easily treatable with drops and other medications, but if left unchecked, they do have the potential to interfere with your results or cause vision loss.

Dry Eyes

About half of all LASIK patients experience a decrease in tear production that can make their eyes feel dry, scratchy and irritated. Fortunately, this usually goes away as the eye heals, but the complications of dry eyes, such as redness, irritation and excessive tearing as the body tries to compensate are concerning enough that doctors don’t take the problem lightly. Drops are often helpful in relieving this issue.


LASIK has helped thousands of patients get back excellent vision. It still poses risks that should not be brushed under the rug, however. You might not get the results you hoped for, and in fact, the surgery could leave you with even worse sight because of flap problems, taking too much or too little tissue and other issues. Success is strongly connected to the skill of your surgeon, so if you decide to have the procedure, make sure to find a physician who has a good reputation and plenty of experience.

Jon Carson loves optical innovation. He enjoys writing about the effects of eye care techniques and what people need to know about them so they can make wise choices.