Is LASIK Safe? What You Need to Know

Last Updated August 23, 2021
LASIK safe

LASIK safety is one of the first considerations for people who wonder if a laser vision correction procedure might be a better option for them than glasses or contact lenses. When asking the question – Is LASIK safe? – often what people really want to know is:

  1. Is LASIK a safe surgical procedure? And,
  2. Is LASIK safe for my eyes?

The answer to the first question is a resounding —Yes! A few basic facts that many patients find very comforting include:

The only way to answer the second question effectively is for the patient to have a thorough evaluation as part of a LASIK consultation with an eye care professional.  This is an incredibly important step in the process of deciding if LASIK is right for you and your vision, which directly determines the safety of the procedure when it comes to your own eyes.

But those who are researching the procedure may want more details about LASIK eye surgery safety.  Below is an overview of the technological, clinical, and scientific support of LASIK safety.

Is LASIK Safe? How do we know?

More than 20 million LASIK procedures have been performed in the U.S.  with a very high patient satisfaction rate.  According to the most recent clinical data, more than 96 percent of patients report being satisfied with the outcome of their procedure. LASIK’s high patient satisfaction rate is due in part to the extremely low risk of complications from the surgery.  Based upon the research into and clinical experience with LASIK, the rate of complications from LASIK eye surgery is estimated to be well below 1 percent, making LASIK among the safest elective surgical procedures available today.

The confidence in LASIK as safe and effective is built upon the fact that it is one of the most studied elective procedures performed today:

This vast body of scientific evidence includes studies that:

How safe is LASIK?

An enormous amount of clinical data clearly answers the question – is LASIK safe?  From a statistical perspective, a few of the most compelling data points supporting LASIK safety include:

LASIK is a safe and effective option for vision correction. Having concerns about the safety of the surgery and your eyesight is normal. You owe it to yourself and your vision to research the procedure thoroughly, so you fully understand the risks and benefits.

For those who are weighing vision correction options, it is natural to be interested in the technologies used to make LASIK a safe procedure.

LASIK Safety Technology

LASIK uses advanced computer-driven laser technology to reshape the cornea with microscopic precision.  A combination of sophisticated technologies is applied to provide a high degree of accuracy throughout the procedure process, helping to ensure patient safety.

Did you know that some of today’s LASIK technology was first developed by NASA? The same tracking system used to automate the docking of satellites to the Space Shuttle is used by the LASIK laser platform to track your eye movements. This tracking system monitors the eye thousands of times per second and adjusts the laser as needed to ensure it is applied at precise locations.  Many patients find this comforting because one of the frequent questions asked in LASIK consultations is: “What if I move during the procedure?” The sophistication of the laser tracking system that follows the eye throughout the procedure will temporarily turn off the laser if it detects sudden, significant movement – like a cough or a sneeze.  Once the patient is safely repositioned under the laser, the procedure can resume.

LASIK Safety: What You Can Do

The most important thing you can do is put the time and attention into making sure your choice to have LASIK is an informed one.  Here are some recommendations to help:

Finally, if you’re told you’re not a candidate for LASIK, take the recommendation seriously. If you are working with a highly qualified surgeon, he or she is making your health and vision the top priority. Listen to your surgeon and don’t try to find a less-than-reputable practitioner to have it done. Approximately 20 percent of people who want LASIK are not suitable candidates for a variety of health and medical reasons including thin or damaged corneas or sometimes chronic conditions such as diabetes or autoimmune diseases.

When deciding to have a laser vision correction procedure, it is normal to want to be assured that LASIK is safe.  By every scientific and clinical standard, LASIK is among the safest elective procedures available today.  That doesn’t mean that there aren’t any risks, and it isn’t necessarily the best option for any given person.  In addition to independently researching the procedure using credible sources for information, having a thorough evaluation and a thoughtful conversation with an eye surgeon you trust is the best way to find out if LASIK is right for you.

Published July 1, 2021