LASIK Eye Surgery-Is It Safe?

Baltimore Washington Eye Center, Maryland

Thursday, July 14, 2011

How Safe Is LASIK?

For many people considering LASIK it is important to have them understand some information about LASIK safety and its solid overall track record of safety so that they can overcome any fear or anxiety they might have regarding the procedure. The safety of LASIK depends on a number of factors. By far the most important factors that can affect LASIK safety are the laser and instrumentation to be used to perform the treatment and even more so, the skill and experience of the LASIK Surgeon.

Long Term Track Record

Laser Eye Surgery for the Laser Vision Correction of nearsightedness was first performed in the United States upon Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of the Excimer Laser on October 20, 1995. The Excimer Laser was specifically FDA approved for LASIK in 1998. So Laser Eye Surgery for vision correction has now been performed in the U.S. for over 15 years and LASIK for over 13 years-quite a long time. In general, LASIK is considered one of the most successful and safe eye surgery procedures we provide patients. With proper patient selection to ensure they are good candidates our nearsighted patients can expect to achieve 20/40 vision more than 98 percent of the time and uncorrected vision of 20/20 or 20/25 more than 90 percent of the time. The safety of LASIK is illustrated by the minimal loss of best-corrected vision where vision loss to a level of worse than 20/40 is quite rare occurring in about only 3 per 1,000 cases and serious complications such as infection or corneal damage occur even more infrequently in fewer than 1 in 1,000 cases. While not an infinite amount of time the availability of the various Laser Vision Correction procedures, including LASIK for this 10-15 year timeframe with these results does give the real world experience and data that can be used to evaluate the various Laser Eye Surgery procedures and their safety. But, there is more to safety than simply the laser itself.

Safety is really in the “Hands of the LASIK Surgeon”. FDA approval does not ensure that a LASIK Surgeon is going to provide a thorough evaluation and consultation. FDA approval does not indicate or imply that LASIK Surgeons will provide a complete review of the possible risks and complications of LASIK-nor does it imply that a LASIK Surgeon will use the appropriate screening and decision criteria to be sure that a patient is in fact a good candidate for LASIK or any Laser Eye Surgery for that matter. That is why the choice of a LASIK Surgeon is the most important factor in the ultimate safety of LASIK Surgery


You should not choose a LASIK Surgeon based on slick advertising or low price. You should choose a LASIK Surgeon based on reputation in the community, the length of time they have been performing LASIK and the comfort and rapport established during your consultation. While the equipment used may provide a slight advantage or disadvantage in safety, it is ALWAYS the skill and experience of the surgeon that contributes the most to the overall safety of Laser Eye Surgery for the correction of nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. If you would like to learn more about the safety of LASIK or find out if you are a good candidate please feel free to phone Baltimore Washington Eye Center at 410-761-8258 to schedule an appointment.