What are the risks, complications and side effects of LASIK?

Complications of LASIK include infection or inflammation under the flap, which occurs rarely. If a patient is involved in trauma shortly after their LASIK procedure, the flap can be moved, which requires surgical repositioning. Other complications may include dryness, mild discomfort, glare or halos at night, or a need for a fine-tuning of the procedure.
LASIK, like any surgery, has risks and complications that should be carefully considered. LASIK can sometimes result in under correction or overcorrection. Fortunately, these problems can often be improved with glasses, contact lenses, or an additional laser surgery.

Most complications can be treated without any loss of vision. Permanent vision loss is very rare. There is a chance, though extremely small, that your vision will not be as good after the surgery as before, even with glasses or contacts. This is called a loss of best corrected vision.

Some people experience temporary side effects after LASIK that usually disappear over time. In rare situations, they may be permanent. These side effects may include:
  • Discomfort or pain;
  • Hazy or blurry vision;
  • Scratchiness;
  • Dryness;
  • Glare;
  • Halos or starbursts around lights;
  • Light sensitivity;
  • Small pink or red patches on the white of the eye.
Almost everyone experiences some dryness in the eyes and fluctuating vision during the day. These symptoms usually fade within one month, although some people may continue to have symptoms for a longer period of time.

Infection is a small possibility with any surgical procedure, including LASIK. Antibiotics can usually clear up such infections. Rarely, complications during surgery may cause irregularities in the corneal flap, requiring further treatment.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.