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Potential complications of LASIK include mild inflammation; dry eyes; epithelial looseness or ingrowth; and shifted, dislodged, or wrinkled flaps. There are also some possible complications that are more serious, although rare, such as serious infection, detachment of the retina, and thinning of the cornea. Although complications are a possibility, laser surgery is overall a safe and reliable procedure.

LASIK Complications: An Overview

LASIK surgery is a safe and predictable means of lessening or removing a person's dependency on corrective lenses. It is safe enough that it is routinely performed on both eyes at the same time. However, LASIK is a surgical procedure and, therefore, there are some possible complications or risks associated with it, both minor and major.
 

Minor Complications of LASIK

Minor LASIK complications are, in most cases, temporary and are often easily treated by your healthcare providers. They include, but are not limited to:
 
  • Mild inflammation
  • Dry eyes
  • Epithelial looseness or ingrowth
  • Shifted, dislodged, and/or wrinkled flaps.
     

Major Complications

Major complications are the rarest complications associated with LASIK. These complications occur in less than 1 in 100 cases.
 
Major complications of LASIK may include, but are not limited to:
 
  • Severe infection
  • Severe bleeding
  • Flap complications
  • Inflammation
  • Detachment of the retina
  • Thinning of the cornea
  • Decentration (when the laser is not properly centered on the eye)
  • Under- or overcorrection
  • Mechanical equipment failure
  • Perforation or a hole in the cornea
  • Other rare and unlikely events.
     
Depending on the individual situation, a major complication may require a repeat surgery or lead to overall poor vision quality including:
 
  • Astigmatism
  • Blurry vision
  • Glare
  • Halos
  • Starbursts
  • Double vision.
 
In extreme, very rare cases, complications may lead to a corneal transplant or permanent loss of vision.
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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