LASIK Surgery Risks: Research Shows Adverse Events are Rare

Last Updated October 11, 2021
Eye exam assesses LASIK surgery risk

The field of ophthalmology continues its work building the body of science around laser vision correction procedures to learn more about the potential LASIK surgery risks and benefits to patients considering these procedures.  In a recent issue of the American Journal of Ophthalmology, researchers published their analysis of data from nearly 37,000 laser vision correction patients. This very large patient population had either LASIK (31,921) or PRK (5,016) between July 2014 and June 2016. The data reviewed came from patient medical records including:

Researchers reviewed the records and collected data on adverse events: issues that had the potential to negatively impact patients’ visual outcomes and could be related to the surgery.  The list of potential adverse events included and expanded upon those defined by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration clinical trials to ensure that any event that could have a negative impact was captured.  In total, 34 potential adverse events were identified, 70 percent of which were characterized as “serious.”

The data showed that LASIK and PRK are very safe procedures with less than 1 percent of patients experiencing a serious, sight-threatening, adverse event. Specifically, for each procedure:

Importantly, from the procedures with serious adverse events, nearly 80 percent of patients achieved 20/20 or better vision without glasses.  Combining LASIK and PRK data, the loss of 2 or more lines of corrected distance visual acuity (CDVA) was recorded in 0.37% of eyes.

Although laser vision correction has been available in the U.S. for more than 20 years, more than 20 million procedures have been performed and the body of science includes more than 7,000 clinical research papers, experts in the field of vision correction continue to study the effects of these very well understood procedures to ensure they are both safe and effective options for their patients.  This latest research, based upon an extraordinarily large number of patients, offers important confirmation of LASIK and PRK as excellent vision correction options for those who are good candidates.

Published October 5, 2021