LASIK Myths, Facts and Fears

The Truth About LASIK

If you struggle with poor vision or feel hindered by contacts or glasses, it’s important to know all of the details about available methods of treatment. Every year, LASIK changes the way approximately 700,000 Americans view the world, and you may be surprised to learn how safe it is.1

Man swimming

Is LASIK safe?

Just the thought of a laser pointed at your eye can seem a bit scary! Although all surgery – even LASIK – has risks, most people who undergo LASIK treatment do not suffer from serious side effects. The most common risks of LASIK surgery include dry eye syndrome; the possible need for glasses or contact lenses after surgery; visual symptoms including halos, glare, starbursts and double vision; and loss of vision. Be sure to talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of LASIK surgery before you decide whether it is the right option for you.

Will LASIK give me 20/20 vision?

More than 90 percent of people who have LASIK achieve 20/20 to 20/40 vision and are able to perform all or most of their daily activities without glasses or contact lenses.4 The results vary depending on which eye conditions you are getting corrected. Recent studies have shown the following2:

  • One year after surgery, 98 percent of mildly or moderately nearsighted patients obtained 20/20 vision
  • One year after surgery, 86 percent of severely nearsighted patients obtained 20/20 vision (less than 5 percent of Americans are severely nearsighted)
  • One year after surgery, 72 percent of mildly or moderately farsighted patients obtained 20/20 vision

Does LASIK hurt?

Because anesthetic drops are administered to the patients’ eyes prior to the procedure, most people do not feel pain during the LASIK procedure.

How long does recovery take?

Most LASIK patients say their eyes feel normal the day following surgery and are immediately pleased with their vision. The majority of people can even return to work the day following surgery.

Will LASIK wear off?6

The effects of LASIK are permanent and will not wear off. One of the largest and longest follow-ups of LASIK patients showed that only 20 percent with low to moderate nearsightedness needed retreatment over a 10-year period.5 However, it is important to realize that your natural lens inside the eye can still change, especially with aging, and that this can impact your vision—this is called presbyopia.

  1. Get Eye Smart. Is LASIK for Me? Accessed October 16, 2012.
  2. American Academy of Ophthalmology. Refractive Laser Surgery: An In-Depth Look at LASIK. Accessed September 18, 2012.
  3. WebMD. Cataracts and Your Eyes. Accessed September 18, 2012.
  4. Eye Care America. LASIK. Accessed September 18, 2012.
  5. Eye Surgery Education Council. LASIK Surgery, Outcomes. Accessed September 18, 2012.
  6. Boyles, S. Web MD. Long-Term Results With LASIK Good. Accessed September 25, 2012.
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Important Information About the WaveLight® Excimer Lasers

WaveLight® Excimer Lasers are prescription medical devices that are approved for use in performing laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis (LASIK) to correct certain kinds of nearsighted (myopia), farsighted (hyperopia), and astigmatism. Only doctors who have been trained in laser refractive surgery (including laser calibration and operation) should use an WaveLight® Excimer Laser.

You should not undergo LASIK surgery if you are pregnant or nursing; if you have a collagen vascular, autoimmune or immunodeficiency disease; if you show signs of keratoconus or any other condition that causes a thinning of your cornea; or if you are taking isotretinoin (Accutane*) or amiodarone hydrochloride (Cordarone*). The most common risks of LASIK vision correction surgery with refractive lasers include dry eye syndrome; the possible need for glasses or contact lenses after surgery; visual symptoms including halos, glare, starbursts, and double vision; and loss of vision.

Talk to your doctor and review the appropriate WaveLight® Excimer Laser Patient Information Booklet for your condition to learn more about the potential risks and benefits for laser refractive surgery. For further information, please refer to the additional Important Product Information on this site, or FDA’s web page on LASIK surgery.

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