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  • Facts About LASIK Complications

    Reviewed By Sidney K Gicheru, MD
    Edited By David Turbert
    Published Feb. 22, 2023

    Like all surgeries, LASIK (laser eye surgery for vision correction) has risks. Research has shown that serious complications are rare and that the majority of patients are happy with the results. But anyone considering elective surgery should get the facts from their ophthalmologist about risks, outcomes and realistic expectations.

    Some news articles have linked several suicides to LASIK complications. These stories, while heartbreaking, may be drawing conclusions that aren’t entirely supported and proposing patterns that have not been documented by research or clinical reports.

    The risks of LASIK have been studied extensively since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the surgery. According to the 2016 Modern LASIK Outcomes study, 99.5% of eyes saw 20/40 or better after LASIK.

    It’s also true that a small number of patients have real, persistent side-effects after LASIK.

    Temporary side-effects can include:

    In a small number of patients, some of these effects may be permanent.

    Ophthalmologists and researchers continue to study patient satisfaction and LASIK surgery outcomes. The surgery has evolved over the years to improve outcomes and reduce side-effects. A 2017 analysis of FDA data showed that the newest lasers have reduced unwanted side-effects significantly, compared to older-generation lasers.

    While many people are good candidates, LASIK is not for everyone. The Academy recommends patients talk with their ophthalmologist to understand the potential risks and what is the right surgery for them.

    An informed patient is a better, more satisfied patient. To help, the Academy provides educational resources both to the public and to ophthalmologists.

    The Academy offers materials—including brochures and videos—to ophthalmologists that help meaningfully inform patients about the realities of eye surgery.