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Should You Have Lasik?

Others' results may give you an idea of what you can expect from Lasik, Bladeless Lasik, PRK, and similar corrective eye surgery.

Knowing what to reasonably expect from Lasik can help you decide if it is right for you.


Any elective surgery is an important and often difficult decision. Conventional or custom wavefront Lasik, Bladeless Lasik, PRK, LASEK, Epi-Lasik, P-IOL, and RLE are all considered safe and effective by medical standards, but does that mean you will really get what you seek?

Know What You Seek

If you think that being rid of glasses will change your personality, your mother-in-law will now like you, and you will finally write that Great Novel, you will probably be disappointed with your results - even if the surgery is a technical success. If you know what you really want from Lasik, then you can evaluate the probability of achieving what you desire. Know your expectations and keep them reasonable.

Convenience v. Risk

Lasik and other refractive surgery procedures may offer the convenience of a reduced need for corrective lenses, but to achieve that convenience you will be required to accept some risk. You have absolutely no guarantee that you will get the exact result you want, however a comprehensive examination from a competent eye care physician can help determine if you have an elevated risk for a poor outcome.

US National Results

The USAEyes CORE patient survey is our organization's primary tool for the evaluation of surgeons who seek patient outcome certification. We send the USAEyes CORE survey to a Lasik patients and compare the responses to the doctor's peers. If the patient responses are within the 90th percentile, the doctor's patient results are eligible for certification by our organization. Of the patients surveyed:

  • 99% report quality of life as expected, better, or much better
  • 98% day vision as expected, better, or much better
  • 98% no complications or issues are seldom problematic
  • 98% would recommend surgery to family and friends.
  • 97% would have surgery again, knowing what they know now
  • 96% wear corrective lenses as often as expected, less, or much less than
  • expected
  • 96% report postop vision without lenses as expected, better, or much better
  • than expected when compared to preop vision with lenses
  • 96% report overall quality of vision as expected, better, or much better than
  • expected
  • 91% no complications at any time
  • 91% night vision as expected, better, or much better
  • 7% complications seldom problematic
    – 91% would have surgery again
  • 2% complications frequent or always problematic
    – 22% would have surgery again

The previous are detailed results of the USAEyes CORE patient survey for patients who stated they had laser vision correction, including all laser vision correction techniques (conventional or wavefront custom Lasik, Bladeless Lasik, PRK, LASEK, Epi-Lasik), stated they had no prior surgery, and stated they are at least six months postop or greater.

For additional Lasik results details including charts of individual adverse event reprots, please see Lasik Result Detail.

Not Just Lasik

It is important to meet your eye care doctor with an open mind. Lasik is currently the most popular refractive surgery technique, but that does not mean that it is best for everyone's situation. It may be that an alternative is more appropriate. Review Lasik alternatives.

Unreasonable Expectations

It is unreasonable to expect your uncorrected vision after Lasik will be better than your corrected vision now. It is possible that it will be better after Lasik, but it is normally unreasonable to expect that result. The goal is usually to have your new vision without glasses the same as your old vision with glasses.

The probability of eliminating the need for glasses and contacts entirely and forever is small. Although Lasik can reduce your refractive error, possibly eliminating it, your eyes will continue to change after surgery at the same rate they changed before refractive surgery.

At some point, virtually all of us will need reading glasses for presbyopia. This may be reduced or delayed with monovision or other techniques, but presbyopia is a natural part of aging.

Eventually virtually everyone will develop cataracts and need to have them removed, again adding to the probability of needing glasses.

Is Lasik Risk Worth It?

Literally millions of people are happy with their vision after refractive surgery and delighted with the reduced need for corrective lenses. There are also thousands who are very unhappy. As a percentage, refractive surgery recipients dissatisfied with their results is a small minority, but should be considered.

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 :