LASIK Surgery: Understanding the Common Side Effects

Have you ever dreamed of waking up with perfect vision, free from the constraints of glasses or contact lenses? LASIK surgery offers this possibility by using advanced laser technology to correct visual impairments.

However, like any surgical procedure, it comes with its own set of possible side effects.

Since its FDA approval in 1999, LASIK has revolutionized the field of ophthalmology, offering a permanent solution to refractive errors for many patients. While most experience significant improvements in their vision, some may encounter temporary discomforts such as dry eyes and light sensitivity.

This article aims to illuminate these side effects and provide practical advice for managing them and ensuring the best recovery possible. Read on to learn how to understand these challenges effectively.

Top Eye Doctors Near Me Quick Key Takeaways

  • LASIK surgery can cause side effects like dry eyes, glare, halos, and double vision. These usually get better within a few weeks.
  • Serious problems from LASIK are rare. Only 5% of people have flap complications. Technology has made the surgery safer.
  • If you have issues after laser vision correction, use eye drops and avoid bright lights to help with discomfort. Follow what your eye surgeon says to heal well.
  • There are other ways to fix your vision if LASIK isn’t right for you. PRK, ICLs, Ortho-K, RLE, and phakic intraocular lenses are some options.
  • Most people see much better after LASIK and don’t need to wear glasses or contacts as much. Talk to an eye care pro to see if it’s good for you.

Understanding LASIK Surgery

LASIK surgery is a popular way to correct vision problems. It helps people see better without needing glasses or contacts. The process uses a special laser to change the shape of the cornea, the clear front part of the eye.

This corrects issues like nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. Doctors use advanced tools like microkeratomes and femtosecond lasers to make a small flap in the cornea.

Then, an excimer laser reshapes it for clearer vision.

Using laser assisted in situ keratomileusis for correcting vision can be effective, but it’s essential to be aware of potential risks. Eye injuries and serious complications can occur, emphasizing the need for careful consideration before undergoing such procedures.

The iLASIK technology makes this treatment even safer and more effective by tailoring the laser to each person’s eyes. This reduces risks and helps LASIK patients recover faster with fewer side effects.

The Side Effects of LASIK Surgery

Common side effects after LASIK surgery may include dry eyes, glare, halos, and dual vision. These side effects can temporarily affect vision but usually resolve within a few weeks.

Dry Eyes

Dry eyes are a common problem after LASIK surgery. This happens because the process can affect how your tears work to keep your eyes moist. You might feel discomfort or find it hard to see well if your eyes are dry.

To help with this, doctors suggest using eye drops and staying away from dry places. This side effect usually gets better over time as your eyes heal. Following your eye doctor’s advice for healthy eyes after laser refractive surgery is important.

For more specific details on Post-LASIK Tear Dysfunction and Dysesthesia you can view a study on the National Library of Medicine website.

Glare, Halos, and Double Vision

Moving from dry eyes, another common side effect of LASIK surgery includes dealing with glare, halos, and dual vision. These visual disturbances often occur at night or while looking at bright lights.

Patients may see rings around light sources or notice that their vision splits into doubles, making it hard to focus. These effects can be more noticeable in the early stages after surgery but tend to lessen over time.

Discussing these concerns with an experienced surgeon or an eye care professional before undergoing LASIK can help set realistic expectations. They can provide tips on managing or minimizing such side effects during the healing process.

Most patients find that these visual aberrations gradually improve as their eyes heal and adjust post-surgery.

Flap Complications

Flap complications are rare in LASIK surgery, happening in 5% of cases. The good news is that severe vision loss from these issues is extremely unlikely. Advances in technology have made such problems less common.

After undergoing LASIK, it’s key for patients to keep up with follow-up care. This helps catch any potential flap issues early on.

Next, let’s discuss how long side effects can last and how to manage them.

Duration and Management of LASIK Procedure Side Effects

Short-term side effects of LASIK surgery usually last a few days to a few weeks, including dry eyes, glare, halos, and dual vision. Long-term side effects may persist for several months or longer.

Continue reading our blog to learn more about managing these certain side effects effectively and evaluating the risks and benefits of LASIK surgery.

Short-Term Side Effects

After LASIK surgery, you may experience these short-term side effects:

  1. Soreness and discomfort
  2. Dry eye, itchiness, and light sensitivity
  3. Glare, halos, starbursts, and blurry vision

Tips for dealing with short-term LASIK side effects include:

  • Avoiding bright lights and direct sunlight
  • Wearing sunglasses and a hat with a brim
  • Avoiding dry, dusty, or smoky areas
  • Keeping liquid tears with you at all times

Long-Term Side Effects

LASIK surgery may have long-term side effects. Here are some of them:

  1. Undercorrection: In rare cases, the initial correction may diminish over time, leading to a return of refractive errors.
  2. Regression: Some patients may experience a regression in vision improvement, requiring further corrective measures.
  3. Corneal Ectasia: This condition involves progressive thinning and bulging of the cornea, which can potentially lead to vision distortion and discomfort.
  4. Loss of Contrast Sensitivity: Long-term reduction in the ability to discern contrast between objects, especially in low-light conditions.
  5. Dry Eye Syndrome: Continued or worsening decrease in tear production that causes discomfort and can potentially impact vision quality.

These long-term effects should be considered when evaluating the risks and benefits of LASIK surgery.

Tips for Managing Side Effects

  1. Follow post-operative instructions carefully, including using prescribed eye drops and attending follow-up appointments.
  2. Use artificial tears to alleviate severe dry eyes and reduce discomfort.
  3. Avoid rubbing your eyes to prevent dislodging the corneal flap and exacerbating dryness.
  4. Protect your eyes from sunlight and harsh environmental conditions by wearing sunglasses.
  5. Limit screen time and take regular breaks to relieve eye strain and reduce the risk of dryness.
  6. Inform your ophthalmologist promptly if you experience persistent or worsening side effects for timely intervention.

Evaluating the Risks and Benefits of LASIK Surgery

When considering LASIK surgery, assessing the lasik risks and benefits is very important. Understanding the potential side effects like dry eyes, glare, and halos is important. However, it’s very important to note that surgical complications occur in only 5% of cases, making severe vision loss extremely rare.

With safe laser technology used in LASIK surgery, reshaping the corneas can greatly improve vision and reduce many people’s reliance on glasses or contact lenses.

Furthermore, achieving sharper vision through LASIK can significantly improve quality of life. It’s important to consult with a qualified eye care professional who can thoroughly assess whether you are a good candidate for the procedure and provide personalized guidance regarding potential risks and benefits based on your individual eye condition.

Alternatives to LASIK Surgery (Laser Eye Surgery)

If LASIK surgery isn’t the right fit for you, there are alternative options to correct your vision. One option is Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK), which reshapes the cornea without creating a flap.

Another alternative is implantable contact lenses (ICL), which can be inserted into your eye to correct your vision. Orthokeratology (Ortho-K) involves wearing specially designed gas-permeable contact lenses to reshape the cornea while sleeping.

For individuals over 40 with presbyopia, a Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) may be considered, as it replaces the natural lens with an artificial one. If you have thin or irregular corneas, a phakic intraocular lens (IOL) might be suitable for correcting nearsightedness or farsightedness.

If you have cataracts, cataract surgery may be recommended to replace the cloudy lens with a clear artificial one. Alternatively, corrective lenses can be used to improve your vision if you are not a candidate for surgery.

These alternatives provide effective ways to improve your vision without needing to undergo LASIK surgery.


Final Thoughts

Considering LASIK surgery? Remember, it offers a lasting solution to refractive errors, lessening or even eliminating the need for corrective eyewear. The provided tips for managing LASIK side effects are practical, easy to implement, and LASIK recovery. You should also be familiar with post Lasik activities and restrictions.

You can ensure efficient recovery from any side effects by remaining in contact with an ophthalmologist post-surgery and following suggested guidelines. Bringing significant improvements to your vision, these approaches are worth implementing.

Remember to schedule an eye exam with a local optometrist today for personalized guidance tailored to your eye health needs!


1. What are the common side effects of LASIK surgery?

Common side effects include blurred vision, pain, infection, night vision problems, fluctuating vision, and dry eyes.

2. Can LASIK surgery cause long-term problems?

Yes, some people may experience long-term issues after the procedure, such as corneal scarring, changes in corneal sensitivity, or even loss of vision.

3. Is it normal to feel pain after LASIK surgery?

Feeling some pain or discomfort is normal right after the surgery, but it usually goes away within a few days.

4. Will I need glasses after undergoing LASIK eye surgery?

While LASIK aims to correct vision issues like nearsightedness and farsightedness, some might still need glasses for certain activities or as they age.

5. How do doctors fix overcorrection from LASIK?

Ophthalmologists can perform additional laser treatments to adjust any overcorrection made during the initial LASIK procedure.

6. Are there risks of getting infections from LASIK surgeries?

Like all surgical procedures, LASIK carries certain risks of infection; however, following your doctor’s care instructions can help prevent this. 

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