5 Laser Eye Surgery Risks & How to Avoid Them

You must educate yourself well about 5 Laser Eye Surgery Risks. Here are some risks reported and how they can be minimized or eliminated.


1. Dry eye

Dry eye following laser eye surgery is temporary but can become a longer-term problem if patients are not properly considered before surgery.

Dry eye following LASIK and PRK happens because the external nerve endings on the cornea’s surface need to renew and heal. The cornea is a little cold-blooded and does not have the feel required to trigger tear production. Additionally, nerve endings produce chemical messengers (cytokines), which act as growth factors coordinating interaction between surface cells. Nerves regenerate in 6 to 12 weeks; during this time, the eyes are prone to dryness.

Long-term dryness can occur if an underlying problem is not diagnosed and treated adequately before surgery.

Symptoms: Grittiness, burning, unstable vision, pain


  1. Ensure the operating center performs dry eye tests, including
  1. a) Schirmer’s test for tear production 
  2. b) Tear Break-Up Time (TBUT). Make sure your operating surgeon is also experienced and knowledgeable about dry eye.
  1. Ask your surgeon if you have Meibomian Gland Disease. Meibomian glands are in the eyelids and produce vital oils that help prevent tears from evaporating too quickly.
  2. Before laser eye surgery, consider re-esterified Omega 3 supplements to improve your meibomian gland function.
  3. Take preservative-free eye drops frequently after your procedure.
  4. Take breaks from computer monitors every 20 minutes, close your eyes for 20 seconds, and look out the window for 20 seconds, then return to work.

2. Halos and Glare

For a few days to a few weeks following laser eye surgery (both Lasik and surface ablation), all patients experience halos. This is because fluid within the recently treated cornea causes light to spread. Once the fluid is removed, the halos disappear. Some patients, however, develop permanent halos following surgery and find their symptoms worse at night (left-hand image). This problem is caused by induced monsters from lasers that have delivered small-diameter zones of correction or older forms of treatments that are not aspheric in profile. The good news is that this problem does not occur very often as long as patients are selected correctly and the correct treatment customized for each eye is delivered correctly. This problem can also happen if the treatment has not been centered perfectly.



  1. Ensure your pupil size is measured in dim or dark light.
  2. Ensure your surgeon is experienced in laser eye surgery and understands the significance of high-order aberrations.
  3. Ask your surgeon if you will receive an ASPHERIC treatment profile on your cornea. Good cameras and spectacles have “aspheric” lenses to provide good-quality vision. You want to be sure your surgeon plans on making your cornea aspheric.
  4. Ensure the treating center has laser technology that is up-to-date and well-maintained.




Like all surgical procedures, there is a risk of infection. Fortunately, the danger of infection in laser eye surgery is minimal. The disease risk from highest to lowest is LASEK, PRK, blade-LASIK, and intraLASIK, with a femtosecond laser carrying the lowest risk. The overall risk of infection after intraLASIK in excellent eye centers is 1 in 10,000 cases.



  1. Go to a reputable center that has an excellent Care Quality Commission (CQC) rating.
  2. Ask about the environment in which laser eye surgery is being carried out. Is the air HEPA-filtered, and what is the exchange rate per hour ? 10 per hour is the minimum required; many use 15 per hour.
  3. Ask what antibiotics are used in preoperative preparation and during surgery. Ideally, it is a 4th-generation fluoroquinolone such as Moxifloxacin or Gatifloxacin. These antibiotics are powerful and eliminate a wide variety of bacteria.

3. Ectasia

This condition is where the cornea is more elastic than usual and, following laser eye surgery, can become unstable. The cornea becomes “ecstatic.”. In other words, it swells and thins over time. This results in a change in vision due to the requirement to initially wear glasses. Astigmatism increases and causes continuing problems. Ectasia can occur in both Lasik and PRK/LASEK surgeries. Tale signs on the cornea can be picked up using cultured corneal mapping, biomechanic checks, and corneal epithelial thickness mapping.



  1. A surgeon specializing in the cornea is the best person to determine whether you are at risk. Specialized corneal surgeons are trained and experienced with keratoconus, a condition where the cornea is flexible and swells. They are very familiar with the types of tests used to check for this condition and the subtle signs of the condition.
  2. Ask if three-dimensional tomography devices like the Pentacam are used to evaluate the cornea.
  3. Does the center use biomechanical checks to determine corneal elasticity?

4. Flap complications

Flap difficulties such as buttonholes, partial flaps, and irregularly fragmented flaps have been reported in Lasik laser eye surgery, where a bladed microkeratome is used to create the flap.

After the introduction of the IntraLASE femtosecond laser for flap creation (introduced to the UK by the Centre for Sight in 2004), flap complications are rare. The use of the femtosecond laser is the gold standard, and blade microkeratomes that in the past were responsible for flap difficulties should no longer be used.



  1. Ask the treating center if the Intralase laser will be used for creating the corneal flap in the LASIK operation
  2. Ask your surgeon how long they have performed LASIK and for how long they have used IntraLASE.

What are the side effects of LASIK?

Laser eye surgery is powerful and life-changing for patients. Like all surgical procedures, risks are involved that can be minimized or stopped. The most important way to reduce risk is to seek a responsible surgeon with a known track record. It is important that the operating surgeon or someone equally able to perform the surgery personally challenge you at consultation. Additionally, the active center must have all the required diagnostic technology, care pathways, and trained staff to ensure all testing performed is complete and of a high standard.

What are the long-term effects of LASIK surgery?

LASIK typically offers long-term vision correction for many. Still, some may experience issues like regression of treated vision, dry eyes, or occasional visual disturbances in the form of glare or halos. These effects are rare and often manageable, with technological advancements continuously improving the procedure’s safety and effectiveness. Regular check-ups and consultations with an eye specialist can address any long-term concerns post-LASIK surgery and can help with laser eye surgery recovery time.

What are the effects of LASIK in old age?

LASIK’s effectiveness at an older age varies from person to person. While it can successfully correct refractive errors in many older individuals, factors like age-related changes in vision or eye health may affect outcomes. Some older adults might experience less predictable results due to these natural changes in the eye, potentially leading to a higher chance of needing additional procedures or experiencing persistent visual disturbances. Consulting with an eye surgeon and undergoing comprehensive preoperative evaluations can help assess individual suitability for laser eye surgery age in elders and manage expectations regarding its effects.


Some questions include how long laser eye surgery takes. According to this answer, it typically takes around 15 minutes per eye, though surgery time may vary. While considered safe for most, laser eye surgery risks are very few, including dry eyes, glare, halos, and, in rare cases, vision loss or infection. The side effects of laser eye surgery are often temporary and can be managed. To the question: Is laser eye surgery safe? The answer is that the safety of laser eye surgery is generally high, with advancements in technology and stringent preoperative screenings minimizing risks. One more important question is: How much does laser eye surgery cost? This answer is that it can also vary widely, depending on factors like procedure type, surgeon expertise, and location, ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars per eye. 

Consulting with an eye specialist can provide personalized insights into risks, potential side effects, and accurate cost calculations based on individual needs and the desired procedure.

Laser eye surgery is a fantastic procedure that is liberating. You must make a good choice. Becoming well-educated is an excellent first step. Next, find a good surgeon and eye center to deliver phenomenal care. A good tip is to go where other eye surgeons go for their care.

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