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Complication Prevention and Resolution

Lasik, Bladeless Lasik, PRK, LASEK, Epi-Lasik, RLE, and P-IOL

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The list of possible Lasik complications is long, but the probability of actually having a Lasik complication is relatively low.  

Possibility Versus Probability

Looking at a long list of potential complications from refractive surgery can be overwhelming. When put into proper perspective, the issue may not seem so dire. There are a gazillion things that can go wrong with any surgery, just like there are a gazillion things that can harm you every day. For most people considering refractive surgery, the more important issue is the probability of something going wrong, not the possibility. Also, it is very important to distinguish between the rate of occurrence of a problem and the rate of an unresolved problem.

A Process, Not An Event

It is important to remember that refractive surgery is often more a six-month process than a 20-Minute Miracle. During those six months, treatment may include medications or even an additional enhancement surgery. Fluctuation in vision quality is normal, minor haze, halos, often resolve within weeks, temporary dry eye is relatively common with Lasik and Bladeless Lasik. Nearly all problems that can occur have a resolution available, although that process may be undesirable.

Unresolved Complications

We have listed the most commonly reported complications of the most common refractive surgery techniques. Although these are the most commonly reported complications, they are not very common. About 3% of refractive surgery patients have unresolved complications (all procedures and all kinds of problems combined) at six months after surgery, with about 0.5% of those being complications that require extensive management or aggressive intervention. See Lasik Results. There are a small percentage of refractive surgery patients who have long-term complications.  The possibility of a long-term complication will always exist, even if the probability is very, very small.

Unique Circumstances

A competent doctor will provide every patient with an informed consent before surgery. This document needs to be read closely and fully understood. It will provide a more comprehensive list of potential problems. It is wise to discuss with the doctor the probability of having one of these problems, based upon your own individual circumstances.

Conventional or Custom Wavefront Lasik and Bladeless Lasik
    Dry eyes
    Halo around light sources
    Starburst from light sources
    Ghosts/double vision
    Light sensitivity
    Wrinkles in flap (striae)
    Decentered ablation
    Unstable cornea
    Debris/growth under flap
    Epithelium erosion

PRK, Wavefront PRK

    Visual acuity fluctuation
    Halo around light sources
    Starbursts around light sources
    Decentered ablation
    Corneal Haze
    Epithelium erosion
LASEK, Wavefront LASEK , Epi-Lasik, Wavefront Epi-Lasik
    Same as PRK plus
    Loss of epithelial flap
    Visual acuity fluctuation
    Light sensitivity
    Glare sensitivity
    Induced astigmatism
    Endothelium cell loss
    Trauma induced cataract
    Induced astigmatism

Looking For Best Lasik Surgeon?

If you are ready to choose a doctor to be evaluated for conventional or custom wavefront Lasik, Bladeless Lasik, PRK, or any refractive surgery procedure, we recommend you consider a doctor who has been evaluated and certified by the USAEyes nonprofit organization. Locate a USAEyes Evaluated & Certified Lasik Doctor.

Personalized Answers

If this article did not fully answer your questions, use our free Ask Lasik Expert patient forum.

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"Consider and Choose With Confidence"TM

A few of the communities where Lasik doctors are certified by USAEyes :