Risks and Side Effects

Photo of a woman picking up a piece of wood

Almost all people who undergo laser vision surgery notice a dramatic improvement in their vision and see well enough to reduce or eliminate the need for corrective lenses. Although the risk of having a serious vision-threatening complication is much less than 1 percent, the excimer laser procedure, like all surgical procedures, has limitations and risks. Some of the most common of these include:

  • Pain: There is generally no pain or discomfort. Very few patients have pain after the procedure. If pain occurs it can be treated with medication for one to two days. Most patients experience only some irritation, which can be treated with moisturizing drops over the next several days.
  • Infection: The chance of an infection is extremely low (about 1 in 20,000). Even though the risk is low, it is important for you to understand that an infection can occur. To prevent an infection, we take extreme measures such as the use of strict sterile techniques and instrument regulations, as well as antiseptic solutions to cleanse your eye before surgery and antibiotic drops after surgery.
  • Night Glare: Even before laser vision correction, everyone sees some degree of halos or glare (you may have already noticed a fringe or halo around headlights at night). After laser vision correction some patients experience an increase in glare or halos at night. This effect depends on your pupil size and other factors. Your surgeon can help you to understand if glare or halos may increase after laser vision correction.
  • Under Correction/Over Correction: Your measurements and treatment will be performed carefully with the goal of excellent vision after your healing is complete. Depending on your healing process, you may have a small amount of focusing error remaining. With some patients, a second laser vision procedure or a very mild pair of glasses or contacts can be used to further improve vision.
  • Loss of Sharpness: About 1 percent of patients experience a small loss of visual sharpness. This means a patient may have difficulty reading the bottom line or two of the eye chart.

Please call University Laser Vision Center at 410-328-5933 for more information or to schedule your free consultation.