$1,000 LASIK Discount Washington DC
NVISION Centers
Call

Pros & Cons of LASIK: Everything You Need to Know

Fact Checked
9 sources cited

Last Updated

LASIK is a good option for people with vision issues who want to reduce their reliance on glasses and contacts. Over the last 25 years, an estimated 25 million eyes have been treated with LASIK. 

Like all surgeries, LASIK comes with pros and cons. Understanding what they are can help you decide if it’s right for you.

Is LASIK Worth It?

The goal of LASIK is to correct vision problems and reduce your need for glasses or contact lenses. In some cases, you won’t need any glasses or contact lenses after surgery. It’s typically a good choice for people with moderate refractive errors and healthy eyes.

During LASIK, doctors use lasers to remove minute amounts of corneal tissue. The procedure is very quick, as it’s completed in 5 to 10 minutes. It’s used to correct common refractive errors such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.

NVISION doctors have performed more than a million LASIK surgeries. We believe our patients should be informed about all the pros and cons, so you can make the right decision for your eyes and vision.

Most people will wear contact lenses for 30 or more years at a cost of approximately $800 per year. That is a cost of $24,000 not including the cost of glasses, annual eye exams, etc. The cost of Lasik is a fraction of that cost and it is safer in the long run.

The Pros of LASIK Surgery

LASIK is a permanent surgical correction for common vision problems. It’s an elective surgery, meaning you’re not medically required to undergo LASIK. However, the benefits of LASIK  are both clear and compelling, and include the following:

  • Improved vision without glasses or contacts:  Wearing glasses can impede participation in sports, and contacts can be a hassle. You may not need these vision correction tools after LASIK. 
  • Quick and painless procedure: Your LASIK surgery should take less than 10 minutes. Numbing drops ensure you don’t feel pain during the surgery. 
  • Short recovery time: Your eyes start healing immediately after surgery, and you should see well within 24 to 48 hours. You’ll need a few months more for tissues to fully heal. 
  • Potential cost savings: You may not need to buy contact lenses and contact cleaning solutions, new glasses, or other eye maintenance products. LASIK can save you thousands over a lifetime (about $800 per year), cutting down on the constant costs of glasses or contacts. Plus, it’s a safer option for long-term eye health.
  • Everyday improvement: LASIK means no looking for glasses when you need to drive, walk the dog, or get up in the middle of the night. Skipping glasses could also boost your confidence.

Some of these risks can be avoided with conversations and planning, but others might keep you from choosing LASIK surgery. Your doctor can help you make an informed decision.

woman in street hailing a taxi with perfect vision after LASIK
LASIK Eye Surgery
LASIK—short for Laser-Assisted-In-Situ Keratomileusis—is the most commonly performed laser eye procedure in the world. It’s one of the safest and most effective ways to correct vision, and NVISION® surgeons are leaders in the LASIK field. NVISION® Eye Centers offer Custom LASIK, a procedure more customized to your individual eyes.
Learn More About LASIK

The Cons of LASIK Surgery

While LASIK can be a life-changing surgery for some people, it’s not right for everyone. Sometimes LASIK misconceptions (such as older people can’t get it, or the results don’t last) keep people away. But sometimes, it’s just not the right surgical option for some people.

Known drawbacks of LASIK surgery include the following:

  • Potential for side effects: LASIK has a 98.7% satisfaction rate, and 98 percent of patients achieve 20/20 vision or better after surgery. LASIK is very safe, but some people worry about the risks and opt to skip the surgery instead. 
  • Cost of LASIK: The cost of LASIK ranges between $1,500 and $3,000 per eye. Insurance companies typically won’t cover the entire cost of surgery. Some people use HSAs, FSAs, or personal savings to pay for their vision changes. 
  • Screenings: Doctors must evaluate eye health carefully before recommending LASIK, and that means detailed exams. Some people dislike these checks. 
  • Potential for future procedures: LASIK is often effective. However, 1-5% of patients need a second LASIK surgery (or enhancement) to achieve their vision goals.
  • Patient restrictions: Thin corneas, dry eyes, and high prescriptions are among the issues that could disqualify you from LASIK.

How LASIK Compares to Other Vision Correction Methods

LASIK is just one option your doctor could use to correct your vision. Other options could be a better choice, depending on your eyes and your goals. 

Other vision-correcting options include the following:

  • PRK: PRK and LASIK are similar, as both can correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism, just like LASIK. But instead of creating a flap, PRK involves removing outer corneal layers with alcohol. If your corneas are too thin for LASIK, PRK could be a good choice. 
  • SMILE: The SMILE eye surgery corrects nearsightedness and astigmatism. A laser reshapes the cornea and removes the prescription from inside the cornea, and no flap is needed. if you have dry eyes, SMILE can be an excellent choice for you. Glasses or contact lenses: People have used simple lenses for hundreds of years to correct their vision. You can swap out lenses at any point, and no surgery is required.

Comparison of LASIK to Other Vision Correction Methods

MethodProsCons
LASIKQuick healing
High success rate
Permanent correction
Creates a flap in the cornea
Not suitable for all patients
Not reversible 
PRK/LASIKNo flap created
Suitable for thinner corneas 
Permanent correction
Longer healing time 
Not suitable for all patients
Not reversible 
SMILENo flap created
Suitable for high degrees of myopia and astigmatism
Permanent correction
Not suitable for farsightedness
Relatively newer procedure 
Not reversible 
Glasses or contact lenses Easy to make changes
Glasses frames can add style to your wardrobe
No surgery required
Infections in contact lens wearers can be serious 
Glasses can be a hassle for active people 
Not a permanent vision solution
Reoccuring costs

Pros & Cons of LASIK FAQs

We’ve gathered some of the most common questions about the pros and cons of LASIK, along with answers from our experts.

What are the benefits of LASIK?

LASIK is a surgical procedure that permanently corrects your vision issues. It’s associated with a high success rate and a low complication rate. You could emerge from surgery never needing glasses again.

What are the downsides of LASIK?

LASIK is a surgery, and you’ll need time to heal. Most people get back to their usual routines within a few days, but your tissues will keep healing for months. Some people don’t meet the qualifications for this surgery.

How many years does LASIK last?

LASIK offers permanent vision correction. It doesn’t wear off or break down, as tissues removed during surgery don’t grow back.

References

  1. The 25th Anniversary of Laser Vision Correction in the United States. (March 2021). Clinical Ophthalmology.
  2. LASIK—Laser Eye Surgery. (November 2022). American Academy of Ophthalmology.
  3. Fast Facts About Vision Loss. (December 2022). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  4. What Should I Expect Before, During, and After Surgery? (July 2018). U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
  5. What Is the LASIK Success Rate? (August 2022). Refractive Surgery Council.
  6. LASIK Enhancements: LASIK Touch-Up Facts. (August 2022). Refractive Surgery Council.
  7. LASIK World Literature Review: Quality of Life and Patient Satisfaction. (April 2009). Ophthalmology.
  8. Functional Outcome and Patient Satisfaction after Laser In Situ Keratomileusis for Correction of Myopia and Myopic Astigmatism. (January–March 2015). Middle East African Journal of Ophthalmology.
  9. Improving Patient Communication on LASIK Benefits and Risks. (September 2022). JAMA.

The information provided on this page should not be used in place of information provided by a doctor or specialist. To learn more, read our Privacy Policy and Editorial Policy pages.