Serious complications from LASIK surgery average below 1 percent. There is commonly some temporary discomfort and temporary visual side effects after surgery. These include light sensitivity, mild irritation, and glare in low light environments. Complications with the flap made to gain access to the part of the eye that is reshaped are rare and can be minimized even more by choosing a reputable and experienced eye surgeon. Irregular astigmatism may occur if the laser correction is not centered on the eye. Again, an experienced eye surgeon would minimize this already low risk. Epithelial ingrowth occurs when cells from the outer layer of the cornea grow under the flap after LASIK surgery. In most cases this is limited and does not cause problems. Keratectasia is a very uncommon bulging of the eye that can happen if too much tissue is removed during the LASIK procedure. Diffuse lamellar keratitis is inflammation under the LASIK flap. It can be treated with antibiotics and topical steroids. Again, these flap complications are quite rare.
The most common complication with LASIK surgery is an undercorrection or overcorrection requiring a second treatment or enhancement. Enhancements are a part of doing LASIK surgery and perhaps, it is not even appropriate to call them complications. Approximately 2% will need to have an enhancement in order to see 20/40 (driving vision), and 10% choose to have an enhancement even though they may be seeing fairly well. Not all patients can be ideally corrected even with retreatment and some will need to wear glasses or contacts afterwards. Our patients rarely need an enhancement to get the perfect vision, Dr Carlson's enhancement rate is less than 2% which is below the national average.
Everyone responds and heals differently depending partly on your prescription, age and individual healing. Because of this variability, no guarantees as to your final vision or speed of recovery can be given. Patients who are farsighted have a longer recovery compared to nearsighted patients.
With millions of procedures done in the United States alone, serious complications have been reported at a rate of less than one-percent.
Most people have some dryness to their eyes for several months after LASIK, and many have some glare or rings around lights at night that lessens over time. This night glare is similar to that seen with contact lenses but if you have very large pupils or were very nearsighted, it can persist and be bothersome.