A Consumer Reports survey of laser eye surgery patients published August, 2009 found that “nearly two-thirds said they were disappointed to find that they still had to wear glasses or contact lenses at least occasionally”. In the survey, 53 percent of the respondents reported at least one side effect after surgery, and 22 percent of the respondents were still experiencing side effects six months later. Nearly a quarter (24 percent) of not highly satisfied respondents said they regretted not learning more from people who had laser eye surgery before them.

LASIK complications such as chronic dry eyes and night vision problems occur frequently. A bad outcome from LASIK can negatively affect a patient’s quality of life. A LASIK surgeon may declare your surgery a success, even if you experience life-altering complications.

There is no such thing as “successful” LASIK if you consider the permanent adverse effects of the surgery.

  • Medical studies demonstrate accelerated corneal cell death and structural and functional changes in 100% of eyes after LASIK.
  • The LASIK flap never heals. Research has shown the strength of the flap is only 2% of normal corneal strength. LASIK flaps may be accidentally dislodged indefinitely.
  • LASIK causes a permanent reduction in biomechanical strength of the cornea. This may lead to progressive forward bulging, known as corneal ectasia, years after LASIK. Ectasia generally requires corneal transplant.
  • Corneal nerves which are crucial to tear production are damaged or destroyed during LASIK, leading to chronic dry eyes in a large percentage of patients.
  • LASIK causes problems for future cataract
    surgery. Read how Dr. Stephen Updegraff, MD treats post-LASIK patients who return for cataract surgery: Link
  • Changes to the cornea after LASIK result in inaccurate measurement of IOP, exposing patients to risk of vision loss from undiagnosed glaucoma.
  • FDA clinical trials and medical studies prove that LASIK results in reduced visual quality (increase in higher order aberrations), even with the latest technology. Just for fun, ask Dr. Stephen Updegraff, MD if LASIK will increase or decrease your higher order aberrations.
  • LASIK for myopia increases the need for reading glasses after the age of 40. Nearsighted patients can remove their glasses to see up close. Loss of near vision after LASIK affects many daily activities, not just reading. LASIK patients may discover they have traded one pair of glasses for another.

The list of potential LASIK complications is long. Here are a few: Halos, starbursts, loss of contrast sensitivity, dry eyes, ectasia, flap dislocation, flap striae (wrinkles), infection, epithelial ingrowth, debris under the flap, posterior vitreous detachment (floaters), retinal complications, optic nerve damage, inflammation, and haze. See IntraLase page for complications reported with laser-created flaps.

There is no cure for LASIK complications. Being dependent on glasses or contact lenses is nothing compared to coping with LASIK complications.

In hindsight, it seems ridiculous to take a chance on something as important as vision when safer alternatives such as glasses and contact lenses exist.

If Dr. Stephen Updegraff tells you that LASIK is safe, don’t take his word for it! Do your homework before you even think about having your corneas cut open and lasered.

LASIK is an irreversible, unnecessary, risky surgery. A flap is a flap — with a blade or without a blade.