LASIK Side Effects and Symptoms

Although LASIK eye surgery has been performed on millions of people in the United States, the FDA reports high rates of LASIK...
Although LASIK eye surgery has been performed on millions of people in the United States, the FDA reports high rates of LASIK side effects and symptoms . Like any surgical procedures, there are potential risks and side effects. LASIK failures and LASIK complications commonly include, glare, halos, dryness, ghost images, star bursting, smeared images, loss of contrast, vision fluctuation, blurry vision, and double vision. LASIK Side Effects and Symptoms can occasionally be resolved with additional surgery, but often exacerbate the problem.


Vision disturbances: Halos, glare and starbursts in low vision, especially at night; dry eye symptoms; hazy vision; and reduced sharpness of vision.


Flap complications: One of the crucial steps in LASIK surgery is the creation of a thin hinged flap on the front surface of the cornea. In the course of the surgery the flap is lifted for the laser to reshape the cornea. The flap is then replaced and heals naturally. If the flap is not made correctly, it may fail to keep to the eye’s surface causing corneal striae. These LASIK flap complications can lead to an irregularly shaped cornea and cause distorted vision.

Other problems associated with LASIK flap complications include:


Irregular astigmatism: Caused by an unequally curved corneal surface. Resulting symptoms may include double vision or “ghost images.”
Keratectasia or Keratoconus: Bulging of the cornea can occur when too much tissue is removed during the LASIK procedure. Or when the cornea, prior to LASIK is weak as evidenced from corneal topography mapping. Rarely does keratoconus develop after LASIK with no known risk factors. Enhancement laser surgery is usually not suitable, and scleral contact lenses, gas permeable contact lenses or, corneal implants may be prescribed.
Dry eyes after LASIK: LASIK surgery can cause a decrease in tear production and cause your eyes to feel scratchy and blurry. Almost half of all patients experience some degree of temporary dry eye syndrome. People who already have severe dry eye should have been eliminated as LASIK candidates.


Significant under-correction, overcorrection or regression. Not all patients will patients will receive 20/20 vision after LASIK eye surgery, and contact lenses or glasses for some or all activities may still be required. If the laser removes too much or too little corneal tissue, or you do not have typical healing, your best vision outcome can be less than optimal. Furthermore, if the laser removes tissue in an uneven manner or your eye heals unevenly, astigmatism can result.


LASIK Side Effects and Symptoms


Complications Symptoms
Incomplete corrections (under-correction, over-correction, residual astigmatism) or regression of effect Blurry, less-than-perfect vision
Decentered ablations Visual distortions & aberrations (HOA)
Oversize pupils Visual distortions & aberrations (HOA)
Haze Visual distortions & aberrations (HOA)
Irregular flap Visual distortions & aberrations (HOA)
Dry eye Dry, itchy or scratchy eyes.
Diffuse lamellar keratitis (eye inflammation) Visual distortions & aberrations (HOA)