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Debunking LASIK Myths: What’s True & What Is Not?

Tom Tooma, M.D., Founder/Medical Director

Medically Reviewed by Tom Tooma, M.D., Founder/Medical Director

Fact Checked
15 sources cited

Last Updated

In the U.S., hundreds of thousands of people are having Lasik surgery every year. Like most popular procedures, certain myths about Lasik do exist.

Lasik today is not what it used to be many years ago when it was first approved in 1995. Much of what you read about Lasik complications is referring to the early days of Lasik. The procedure has come a long ways with technology such as lasers creating the LASIK flap, vs. microkeratome blades used in the early days of Lasik. Eye trackers are now used to ensure excellent quality of vision, versus the early days when trackers were not available. Modern laser ablation patterns are associated with a negligible incidence of potential halos and glare compared to the early days when these ablation patterns were not available. Wavefront-guided and topography-guided laser treatments now have a high potential of giving people better vision than they have ever had with glasses or contact lenses.

woman looking at questions mark post-it on forehead

Modern diagnostic devices are now available that give the surgeon the ability to precisely determine who is and who is not a candidate for surgery and what specific procedure is best to give you excellent vision safely.

MYTH: LASIK is not safe.

It is the most studied procedure in medicine. 99% of people who have Lasik would recommend the procedure to their friends and family members. 99% of people having Lasik are satisfied or extremely satisfied with the procedure. 98% of people who have Lasik get 20/20 vision or better. Less than 2% require an enhancement to give them excellent vision.

As mentioned above, Lasik is not what it used to be in the early days. Modern diagnostic devices and Excimer and femtosecond lasers have made the procedure extremely safe. Topography-guided Laser vision correction has made it possible to successfully treat patients who had surgery in the early days, some with poor quality of vision or halos and glare.

According to Dr. Carp, from the London Vision Clinic, the risk of losing your vision in one eye following LASIK is 1 in 5 million. The risk of losing your life from a fatal car accident in the United States, every year, is one in 50,000.

Lasik is by far safer than wearing contact lenses. The risk of infection with Lasik is one in several thousand eyes. The risk of infection with contact lenses is many times higher, since every time you wear your contact lenses, you have the risk of an infection, while with Lasik, it is a one time risk of surgery.

MYTH: The corneal flap never heals.

The Lasik flap is healed at three months. You can rub your eye vigorously at that time and never dislodge the flap. Direct trauma to the guy with a sharp object can dislodge the flab, however, that can be repaired. Navy pilots who have ejected from their fighter jet during an emergency have not dislodged their Lasik flap.

MYTH: Lasik surgeons are less likely to have Lasik themselves than the general population.

eye test for contrast

Lasik surgeons, who are candidates for surgery, are five times more likely to have had Lasik themselves than the general population. 98% of Lasik surgeons have operated on one of their family members.

MYTH: You should not have Lasik if you plan to have kids

If that was the case, no female in a child bearing age should have Lasik. You should not have Lasik if you are pregnant, however, as long as you know that you are not pregnant, you can safely have Lasik. The results of Lasik are permanent. There may be some mild changes in your vision during pregnancy, whether you have had Lasik or not, however, your vision will return to its pre-pregnancy level.

MYTH: Anyone can have LASIK.

laser eye representation
Like all medical procedures, not everyone is a good candidate for LASIK. In general, LASIK candidates should be at least 18 years old, have a relatively stable prescription, and a healthy eye.

You are not a candidate for Lasik surgery if you have one of the following conditions:

  • Keratoconus
  • Uncontrolled Glaucoma with significant visual field loss
  • Uncontrolled Diabetes
  • Uncontrolled Autoimmune Disease
  • Certain Corneal diseases
  • Abnormal corneal contour
  • Inadequate corneal thickness

MYTH: LASIK causes dry eyes.

Several studies have demonstrated that people who have Lasik are less likely to experience dry eye symptoms than people who continue to wear contact lenses. In fact, long-term contact lens wear can damage the eye causing dry eyes.

It is extremely important that your surgeon thoroughly evaluate your eye for any evidence of dry eyes and appropriately treats the condition so that your postoperative recovery is uneventful. Your surgeon can optimize your tear film prior to surgery to minimize any chance of you having dry eyes following surgery.

MYTH: No one knows the long-term effects of LASIK.

Lasik surgery has been performed for more than 30 years. More than 15 million people in the United States have had Lasik. It is among the safest procedures in medicine. It is the most studied procedure in medicine. It certainly has wit stood the test of time. There are no Consequences of Lasik that have been discovered recently that were not discovered within the first year or two after Lasik was first performed.

MYTH: LASIK results are not permanent.

man and daughter holding kite

One major myth surrounding LASIK surgery is that the results that are achieved are not permanent. It is a fact that the changes in the shape of the cornea, that are created by Lasik, are permanent. Lasik does not wear off. Only 5% of people who have Lasik require enhancements in their lifetime. The reason for that is changes, not in the cornea, but in the lens inside the eye. Fortunately, enhancements can correct, these changes safely.

Having LASIK also does not prevent people from experiencing other eye issues in the future. For example, people can go on to develop glaucoma, cataracts, or age-related macular degeneration later in life. Having Lasik does not increase or decrease the incidence of these conditions later on in life.

Another myth surrounding Lasik is that cataract surgery results are not as predictable. That is emphatically not true since the advent of measuring devices during cataract surgery that can precisely predict the outcome of surgery despite having had Lasik in the past.

MYTH: LASIK cannot correct astigmatism.

The precision and predictability of correcting astigmatism during LASIK surgery is just as precise as correcting nearsightedness. Lasik surgery can correct up to -6 diopters of astigmatism.

normal vision vs astigmatism

MYTH: LASIK causes long-term dry eye.

Most people who have Lasik, have it because they cannot tolerate their contact lenses anymore because their eyes are dry. If you do not have any signs or symptoms of dry eyes before surgery, you will not develop dry eyes after surgery. Some people may not feel like their eyes are dry, however, they do have pre-existing conditions that make them more likely to experience dry eyes after surgery. Dry eye symptoms after surgery typically resolve within 3 to 6 months. Some may need other treatment modalities to substantially reduce or eliminate their dry symptoms.

There have been several studies that demonstrate that people have less dry eyes after Lasik than continuing to wear contact lenses. Proper assessment of the eye prior to surgery will substantially reduce the chance of you having any dry eye symptoms afterwards.

MYTH: Lasik is expensive.

Most people say that Lasik is the best investment they have ever made. When you consider the lifetime cost of glasses and contact lenses, the cost of Lasik becomes negligible. Most centers offer interest free financing. You can finance Lasik for as little as the cost of a cup of coffee per day. Your freedom from glasses and contact lenses not only increases your functional ability no matter what your profession is, but gives you the freedom from the crutches of glasses and contact lenses. That freedom is priceless. Lasik will also make you qualify for careers that require good vision without corrective lenses. It also improves your safety in an emergency situation such as an earthquake or a fire.

MYTH: Lasik causes halos and glare.

The risk of clinically significant halos and glare is less than 1%. Everyone experiences these symptoms initially after surgery, however, the symptoms dissipate within the first three months. If they persist, topography-guided Lasik can substantially reduce or eliminate these symptoms. Halos and glare were prevalent symptoms in the early days of laser vision correction, however, with modern laser ablation patterns, these symptoms are exceedingly rare.


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  2. The Basics of LASIK Eye Surgery. Federal Trade Commission Consumer Information.
  3. Gene Test Predicts Blindness After LASIK. PLOS DNA Science Blog.
  4. When Is LASIK Not for Me? U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
  5. Can You Wear Contacts After LASIK, if Needed? American Academy of Ophthalmology.
  6. Does LASIK Hurt? All About Vision.
  7. How Long Does LASIK Last? All About Vision.
  8. Can LASIK Fix Astigmatism? All About Vision.
  9. LASIK Quality of Life Collaboration Project. U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
  10. Corneal Stromal Changes Induced by Myopic LASIK. Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science.
  11. Can I Go Blind After Laser Eye Surgery? (July 6, 2011). London Vision Clinic.
  12. How to Prevent Infection After LASIK or PRK. (March 18, 2021). Optometry Times Journal.
  13. Glasses After LASIK? (June 13, 2021). Optometrists Network.
  14. Contact Lenses after LASIK. (September 23, 2021). American Academy of Ophthalmology.
  15. Do I still need glasses or contacts after laser eye surgery?. (February 09, 2018). Vision Eye Institute.

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