One of the first questions people ask when considering LASIK surgery is “Is LASIK safe?” Of course, this is an important and reasonable question; we’re talking about your eyes and your ability to see! Fortunately, LASIK is one of the most frequently practiced procedures in America today and there’s a mountain of data that tells us exactly what most people can expect from a LASIK procedure. Is LASIK Safe? Let’s take a look at the numbers!
From 1991 to 2016, there were over 40 million LASIK procedures done worldwide. To give you perspective, most clinical trials involve (at most) a few hundred people so 40 million procedures provides a great base of data. Statistically speaking, patient satisfaction exceeds 98% and approximately 80 – 85% receive better than 20/20 vision. If you look hard enough on the internet, you can find some horror stories. However, this can be explained by what’s called an availability heuristic – those with bad experiences are the most likely to speak about it. Even if 0.01% of 40 million people had a bad experience, that’s 40,000 stories, even though the other 39,960,000 had positive outcomes. At the end of the day, LASIK continues to be one of the most studied and improved elective procedures today, making it one of the safest. If you’re worried about potential negative outcomes, speak with your surgeon about any possible risk factors before undergoing a LASIK procedure.
LASIK is safer than contact lenses by a long shot! According to the American Refractive Surgery Council (ARSC), the risks of corneal ulcers are nearly 10 times more likely with daily contact use than from LASIK complications. Not one LASIK patient has ever gone blind due to LASIK complications, however serious infections due to contact lens complications can cause blindness. You don’t think twice about putting in your contact lenses every morning. Why think twice about LASIK?
In a study evaluating the results of 58,653 procedures, less than 1 percent (0.61%) of patients lost 2 lines on the eye chart. This is an incredible statistic considering the FDA threshold for safety and outcomes is 5 percent; LASIK exceeds the FDA approval threshold by nearly 10 times, making LASIK one of the safest elective procedures on earth.
LASIK is based on precision manufacturing technology that is also used to make microchips and may even have a future role to play in atomic fusion. However, one of the main applications of excimer lasers is LASIK. During the procedure, the laser produces enough energy to break molecular bonds and cause precise alterations to soft tissue without damaging the surrounding tissue. LASIK is so precise that surgeons are able to remove microns (1/10000th of a centimeter) to shape the cornea (outer eye). Additionally, the laser works through a process called ablation which vaporizes tissue instead of burning it, leading to a faster recovery.
7,000+ peer reviewed published studies confirming LASIK is both safe and effective-American Refractive Surgery Council
LASIK is an incredibly safe procedure and there are things that you as a patient can do to increase your chances of a successful procedure. Make sure you:
If you follow these tips as well as Dr. Haddad’s pre-operative and post-operative instructions, the likelihood of success in your LASIK procedure increases.
There are a handful of minor LASIK complications. However, it’s important to remember that blindness has never been singularly attributed to LASIK. Most LASIK complications disappear within the first few weeks after the procedure and are minimally bothersome. These can include dry eyes, halos around lights, and light sensitivity, especially at night. However, almost all patients report the resolution of these side effects within a few weeks but sometimes may take a few months. Speak with Dr. Haddad to help determine if the potential benefits of LASIK outweigh the risks in your case.
A combination of factors makes LASIK the safest elective procedure performed today. Extensive screening and diagnostics combined with the most advanced computer-driver laser technology make LASIK one of the safest elective medical procedures.
What do you think? Are you tired of glasses and/or contacts and are ready to make the move?
David Lemieux, BA from Oakland University is a LASIK expert and marketing professional that has worked with Dr. Dan Haddad and the Laser Eye Institute since 2017. David believes in education and cutting through the noise to deliver facts and opinions about LASIK, SMILE, and all things Laser Vision Correction.