Over the past 10 years, slightly less than 800,000 laser vision correction surgery procedures have been performed each year in the U.S.

Recent research suggests that since the technology was approved by the Food and Drug Administration, 10 to 15 million people have received laser vision correction surgery. 

Has LASIK’s Popularity Grown Over Time?

From 1995 to 2000, the number of laser vision correction procedures gradually increased each year, with LASIK specifically becoming FDA approved in 1998. In 2000, 1.4 million laser vision correction procedures were performed. For the following seven years, the number of procedures performed remained relatively stable at about 1.4 million per year.

In 2008, potentially due to the financial crisis and the cost of LASIK, the number of annual procedures performed dropped to just over 1 million. The following year, numbers dropped to less than 800,000 and have since slightly lowered but remained relatively stable.

Despite LASIK’s popularity, it is still not commonly chosen by people with refractive errors. Only 0.2 percent of people dealing with vision problems who use a method to correct them use laser vision correction surgery. In contrast, the most used method is glasses, at 50 percent.

Have LASIK’s Side Effects & Injuries Changed Over Time?

The potential for side effects and injuries from laser vision correction procedures has decreased since it was first approved by the FDA.

According to research done over the past decade, the use of femtosecond lasers, a technology developed and used for LASIK, continues to improve outcomes for patients. This technology presents few negative side effects for patients.

Laser technology advancements have allowed doctors more control over the procedure and increased the safety and effectiveness of LASIK.

Recently, the FDA approved additional new technologies for laser vision correction surgery. According to a 2017 study, these technologies proved to have high rates of efficacy and were safe for patients.  

LASIK Satisfaction Rate

Alongside the reported safety of the procedure, studies have shown a high satisfaction rate for patients who choose LASIK. A 2015 study found a satisfaction rate of 98.5 percent in patients who received LASIK.

While studies repeatedly show that LASIK is a generally effective and safe treatment to correct vision issues, side effects and injuries are still possible.

According to the FDA, the following side effects may occur after receiving LASIK surgery:

  • Loss of vision
  • Problems seeing in the dark or in other low-contrast conditions
  • Dry eye syndrome
  • Loss of improvement over time

While no surgery is without risk, LASIK is widely considered a safe and effective procedure to address refractive errors.

References

The 25th Anniversary of Laser Vision Correction in the United States. (March 2021). Clinical Ophthalmology.

The Evolution of Corneal and Refractive Surgery With the Femtosecond Laser. (July 2015). Eye and Vision.

Comparison and Analysis of FDA Reported Visual Outcomes of the Three Latest Platforms for LASIK: Wavefront Guided Visx iDesign, Topography Guided WaveLight Allegro Contoura, and Topography Guided Nidek EC-5000 CATz. (January 2017). Clinical Ophthalmology.

Complications of Laser-Assisted in Situ Keratomileusis. (July 2021). Indian Journal of Ophthalmology.

Functional Outcome and Patient Satisfaction After Laser in Situ Keratomileusis for Correction of Myopia and Myopic Astigmatism. (January–March 2016). Middle East African Journal of Ophthalmology.

What Are the Risks and How Can I Find the Right Doctor for Me? (August 2018). U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

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