6 Potential Risks of LASIK: What You Should Know

10 Jul 2023LASIK Procedures and Options

Are you considering LASIK surgery? While LASIK eye surgery generally has a high success rate and low risk of complications, it’s still a surgical procedure. As such, it still has potential risks and complications.

That’s why it’s important to be aware of those from the start. Today, we’ll show you some LASIK risks to help you understand what you may be in for with this surgery and to help you set your expectations.

6 Potential Risks of LASIK: What You Should Know - Asset 1

Potential Risks of LASIK Surgery

1. Dry Eyes 

One of the most common side effects you can get from LASIK is eye dryness. This dryness will usually last for a few months and then will resolve.

The cause for this particular LASIK risk is fairly obvious. During LASIK, it’s possible for the procedure to disturb the nerves around your eyes that control the lacrimal glands or tear glands.

Since our tear glands are responsible for ensuring our eyes are lubricated and protected, that can be a problem. When these glands fail to do their job, you get dry eyes that feel uncomfortable and irritated. You may even experience disturbances to your vision.

Fortunately, most people who get this LASIK side effect report that it resolves over time. However, there are some individuals who do experience more persistent dryness, these are usually those with underlying issues such as allergy of the eyes. 

Your doctor will guide you on how to use various lubricant eye drops and eye gels to help with this condition.

6 Potential Risks of LASIK: What You Should Know - Asset 22. Glare or Halos

Some people actually start seeing visual disturbances like glare and halos (around light) post-LASIK. Other examples of visual disturbances are fuzzy vision and decreased night vision.

However, these visual disturbances seem to be most prominent during the healing process. As such, the vast majority of them appear to be temporary and will resolve within a few weeks or months of the surgery.

Some people with dry eyes experience more glare and haloes. Adequate lubrication of the eyes will help to reduce this.

3. Undercorrection or Overcorrection

While LASIK aims to correct a refractive error, there are cases when the correction doesn’t happen. It may be either undercorrected or overcorrected, both of which lead to less-than-perfect vision.

The treatment for this varies – it may involve more surgery, prescription lenses, and the like. Generally, your doctor will walk you through your options based on your specific situation and needs.

4. Regression 

This technically isn’t a side effect, but it’s worth listing here as a possible outcome of the surgery anyway.

Regression refers to an increase of short-sightedness after the laser procedure. This can occur within the first 3 months and the chance of this happening is about 5%. It is very important to keep your eyes well lubricated during this time as dry eyes may increase the chance of this. 

After the first 3 months, there is still a chance that your short-sightedness can increase again. This is not due to the LASIK. It is the same chance (about 3% for adults) as in people who are wearing glasses or contact lenses. It is important to continue to have good eye care habits, such as not overusing your handheld devices.6 Potential Risks of LASIK: What You Should Know - Asset 3

5. Infections and Inflammation 

Infections and inflammation can occur with LASIK surgery, but they are very rare. 

There is a 1 in 10,000 chance of infection occurring after LASIK. It is important to keep your eyes clean and to use the antibiotic eye drops as instructed by your doctor. 

Inflammation refers to more white blood cells coming to your eye after the procedure. This occurs within the first few days so it is important to continue with the eye drops prescribed by your doctor and to return for the check up during the first week.

6. Corneal Ectasia

Corneal ectasia is among the rarest LASIK complications. As it happens, it’s also among the most serious.

Sometimes, after LASIK, the cornea is weakened and loses its integrity. The result is that it loses its normal shape and bulges outward instead, leading to visual distortion. 

Luckily, most cases of corneal ectasia are treatable. The mildest cases may even be treated with glasses or contact lenses. There are also surgical options such as corneal cross-linking, which strengthens and stabilises the cornea.

6 Potential Risks of LASIK: What You Should Know - Asset 4

Understand the LASIK risks specific to your situation

If you do plan to get LASIK, it’s vital to perform a thorough consultation with your surgeon or ophthalmologist before the procedure. This can help you understand the possible risks as well as benefits of going through with the procedure.

The risk of ectasia can be reduced by adding cross-linking to your procedure. Your doctor will advise you on this if it should be necessary. 

To that end, don’t hesitate to reach out to us for guidance. Call us to enquire or book an appointment for a pre-LASIK assessment today.