LASIK: Risks, Recovery, Rewards


LASIK surgery can help fix specific vision problems like:

  1. Nearsightedness (Myopia)
  • Problem: Your eyeball is a bit longer, or the cornea is too curved. This makes far-away things blurry, but close-up things are usually clear.
  • LASIK Solution: Corrects the shape of the cornea so that distant objects become more apparent.

     2. Farsightedness (Hyperopia)

  • Problem: Your eyeball is shorter, or the cornea is too flat. This leads to blurry vision, especially up close and sometimes far away.
  • LASIK Solution: Adjust the cornea shape to make close-up vision more apparent.

       3. Astigmatism

  • Problem: The cornea is unevenly curved or flattened, affecting both near and distant vision.
  • LASIK Solution: Evens the cornea shape for improved focus in close and far vision.


During the LASIK procedure: 

1. Flap Problems: The initial step involves creating a corneal flap. Though rare, incomplete or thin flaps can occur, particularly with older methods. The likelihood of such issues is reduced with modern laser techniques. If problems arise, the surgery is typically halted, and a new plan is devised after a three-month interval to ensure stability.

2. Corneal Scratches: Occasionally, minor scratches on the cornea’s surface may occur. These typically result in minimal discomfort for a short duration and may predispose the area to reactions beneath the flap.

After LASIK Surgery:

1. Flap Issues: The corneal flap may develop minor folds or dislocate post-surgery. While small folds might be asymptomatic, visual problems can arise if they affect the central cornea. Factors like excessive washing or poor repositioning can contribute to these issues, and treatment involves lifting and repositioning the flap.

2. Epithelial Ingrowth: occurs when the top corneal layer grows beneath the flap, impacting vision. Although uncommon, addressing this may involve lifting the flap and removing the ingrowth.

3. Deep Lamellar Keratitis: A rare complication resulting in mild pain, light sensitivity, and slightly decreased vision. Management typically involves adjustments in medications.

4. Infections: While severe, infections are rare and can be linked to poor hygiene during or after surgery. Adhering to post-operative care instructions is crucial to prevent such complications.

5. Post-LASIK Ectasia: A rare condition where the cornea thins and bulges, leading to vision changes. Early detection is essential, and treatments like collagen cross-linking can be effective.

Risk Factors and Side Effects

While it’s rare for LASIK to cause vision loss, some common side effects may occur. These include dry eyes and temporary vision issues like glare, which usually improve over a few weeks or months and are not considered long-term problems.

Potential risks of LASIK surgery are:

1. Dry eyes: LASIK can temporarily reduce tear production, causing dry eyes during the initial months after surgery. Eye drops may be recommended for relief.

2. Glare, halos, and double vision: Difficulty seeing at night, increased light sensitivity, glare, halos around lights, or double vision may occur temporarily.

3. Undercorrections: If too little tissue is removed during surgery, precise vision may not be achieved, especially for nearsighted individuals, requiring a potential additional LASIK procedure.

4. Overcorrections: Removing too much tissue can lead to overcorrections, which may be challenging to fix.

5. Astigmatism: Uneven tissue removal can cause astigmatism, potentially requiring another surgery or using glasses or contact lenses.

6. Flap problems: Complications, such as infection or abnormal growth of outer corneal tissue under the flap, may occur if the flap is not handled correctly during surgery.

7. Corneal ectasia: This serious complication involves the cornea becoming too thin and weak, leading to bulging and worsening vision.

8. Regression: Sometimes, vision may slowly revert to the original prescription after LASIK


9. Vision loss or changes: Rarely, surgical complications can result in vision loss or changes, and some people may not achieve the same level of sharpness as before.

It’s important to note that while these risks exist, LASIK surgery is generally safe, and most people experience improved vision with minimal complications.


After LASIK eye surgery, the recovery time varies from 6 weeks to 9 months, depending on the individual. Here are some simple guidelines to follow during the recovery period:

Immediate Post-Surgery Precautions

  1. Driving: You cannot drive on the day of surgery, so arrange for transportation. Avoid driving until your doctor gives the green light, and start with short distances.
  1. Screen Time: Avoid screens for at least 24 hours after surgery. Take two days off from work and gradually reintroduce electronic devices. Use prescribed eye drops to prevent dryness.
  1. Swimming: Wait 3-4 weeks before swimming, and wear protective goggles. Avoid swimming, sauna, steam room, jacuzzi, and hotbeds to prevent infection.
  1. Exercise: Refrain from strenuous exercise and contact sports for at least a week. Sweating under lenses can complicate recovery.
  1. Travel: Avoid travel on the day of surgery and crowded public transport afterward. Postpone long flights until your doctor approves. Use eye drops during flights to combat dryness.
  1. No Eye Makeup: Skip eye makeup for the first week to prevent infection. Be cautious even after approval, ensuring it doesn’t get too close to your eyes.
  1. Alcohol: Avoid alcohol the day before and 24 hours after surgery. Limit consumption if approved, staying hydrated.

Precautions for the First 24 Hours

  • Keep your eyes closed and well-rested.
  • Avoid strenuous activities, screens, and eye rubbing.
  • Opt for a bath instead of a shower to prevent soap and water from entering the eyes.
  • Stick to your prescribed eye drop routine.

Day After Surgery

  • Arrange transportation for your follow-up appointment.
  • Watch TV if your doctor permits, use lubricating eye drops, and wear appropriate eyewear when stepping out.
  • No driving on the day after surgery.

Day 3

  • Engage in light exercises like walking, jogging, and stationary cycling.
  • Avoid sweating into your eyes, and refrain from rubbing or touching them.

Week 2

  • Gradually resume sports like swimming, tennis, squash, and biking with appropriate eyewear.
  • Avoid high-impact sports to prevent eye injuries.
  • You can start using eye makeup, but avoid sharing it.

After 3 Months

  • Report dry eye symptoms to your doctor for management with eye drops.
  • Attend all follow-up appointments with your eye doctor.


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