The Pros & Cons of LASIK
Like any other form of surgery, LASIK comes with some risk, albeit the risk level is low. Those who undergo LASIK surgery can take comfort in the fact that LASIK has among the highest success rates and is the most commonly performed of any elective procedure.
LASIK is FDA approved for the treatment of various vision problems, including nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.
LASIK Overall Benefits
LASIK has a high success rate and a high patient satisfaction rate. Many patients see their vision improve to 20/25 or 20/20 and do not need to wear glasses or contacts after the procedure.
Millions of LASIK procedures have been performed in the United States and across the world, so you can rest assured that its safety and efficacy have been proven over time.
Here are some of the pros of LASIK:
Pro: Fast Treatment
The LASIK procedure itself can be performed in less than 20 minutes, although you will want to set aside 60 to 90 minutes for the entire appointment. Both eyes are treated in one appointment, which provides maximum convenience.
Many individuals are pleasantly surprised by how fast the procedure is and how quickly their vision improves after surgery. While you may have some blurriness immediately following the procedure, most patients see much more clearly immediately.
Pro: Ultra Precise
LASIK has a very high success rate (up to 99 percent) largely due to the fact that the procedure incorporates state-of-the-art technology. The lasers used during LASIK are ultra-precise, resulting in a cleaner and more targeted surgical undertaking.
Many eye care specialists have been providing LASIK procedures for decades. The more experience an eye surgeon has with LASIK, the higher the likelihood of a desirable outcome for the patient.
Pro: Quick Recovery Time
After undergoing LASIK surgery, most individuals are able to return to normal activity within 24 to 48 hours.
It is recommended that patients find a ride to and from their LASIK appointment. Patients should not operate motor vehicles or any form of machinery for 24 to 48 hours after surgery.
Dry eyes may be experienced for up to 90 days; however, your eye care specialist will give you instructions for aftercare. In most cases, any issues resolve within six months.
It is rare that a second LASIK procedure is needed. Most patients achieve their desired results after one procedure.
There are a few risks associated with LASIK surgery. Generally, there are minor side effects associated with LASIK, including these:
- Dry eyes
- Vision glare
- Seeing halos
If you experience dry eyes after the procedure, this can be alleviated with artificial tears. In rare instances, dry eyes can last more than 90 days after treatment.
Con: You Might Still Have to Wear Glasses or Contacts
Not all patients will be able to quit wearing glasses or contacts. Although LASIK can improve vision permanently, glasses or contacts may still need to be worn to see clearly or to perform certain tasks.
Con: You May Have to Undergo More Than One Procedure
Some patients may have to go through an additional procedure in order to get the best possible results, especially in cases of undercorrection or uneven tissue removal. Talk to LASIK providers about whether enhancement procedures are included in the price if the desired result isn’t achieved in the initial surgery.
Con: Not Everyone Is a Candidate for LASIK
Some individuals may not be eligible for LASIK surgery. For instance, if you have a propensity for eye infection, it’s likely that you will not qualify for LASIK. Those with certain autoimmune disorders will also not qualify for laser eye surgery.
It is recommended that LASIK candidates have a stable prescription for two years leading up to LASIK surgery. Those with unstable vision prescriptions should avoid undergoing LASIK until their vision has stabilized.
Other complications associated with LASIK are risk of infection, overcorrection, and corneal flap damage due to contact after the procedure. In rare cases, LASIK surgery can result in vision loss.
The rate of complications with LASIK is very low. In most cases, LASIK is a successful and safe procedure.
Making the Best Decision for You
At the end of the day, LASIK is a very effective procedure with a low risk of experiencing an adverse event. Most patients have a quick procedure and a fast recovery time. The end result is most often permanently improved vision.
In order to improve your chances of experiencing an optimal procedure and avoiding complications, it’s important to follow all directions set out by your eye care specialist, both prior to the procedure and after the operation.
If you are not eligible for LASIK, you can consult with your ophthalmologist regarding alternatives for which you may still be eligible.
LASIK Surgery. (April 2020). Voices in Bioethics.
Complications of Laser-Assisted in Situ Keratomileusis. (July 2021). Indian Journal of Ophthalmology.
Last Updated January 10, 2023
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