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LASIK Eye Surgery FAQ

Q: What is LASIK?

A: LASIK (Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis) is a surgical procedure that can free a person from needing to wear glasses or contact lenses. The procedure permanently changes the shape of the cornea, which is the delicate clear covering on the front of the eye. To have clear vision, the eye's cornea and lens must bend or refract light rays properly, so that images are focused on the retina. If light rays aren't clearly focused, vision can be blurred. For more information, see the FindLaw LASIK Eye Surgery article.

Q: Is LASIK safe?

A: LASIK isn’t appropriate for everyone, but the U.S. Food & Drug Administration has approved LASIK as a safe and effective procedure. It's important to have a complete evaluation before undergoing LASIK people who aren't good candidates and undergo the surgery anyway can have poor results.

Q: Who is a good candidate for LASIK?

A: You may not be a good candidate for LASIK if you:

  • Have an autoimmune disease like lupus or immunodeficiency disease like HIV
  • Have persistent dry eyes
  • Have unstable or fluctuating vision due to youth or diabetes or another cause
  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Have fairly good vision as the surgery may not be worth the risks if you only occasionally use your contacts or glasses
  • Have large pupils
  • Can't afford the surgery
  • Have a job that prevents you from getting LASIK surgery

Q: Does LASIK hurt?

A: No. You’ll receive anesthetic drops to completely numb the eye so the procedure will be painless. Some people feel pressure around the eye, and afterwards you may feel like something is in your eye for a few hours. If needed, you can ask your doctor for a pain reliever. However, most people just rest and take their preferred non-prescription pain reliever.

Q: How long is a LASIK surgery?

A: The surgery takes about 10 minutes per eye with the laser being used only about 30 seconds per eye, depending on your prescription. The entire procedure is about 30 minutes, but you’ll need to be at the clinic longer to handle administrative matters.

Q: How soon after the surgery will I be able to see well?

A: Visual recovery can take anywhere from one day to one week, with most patients resuming normal activities 1-2 days after surgery. However, for your vision to fully stabilize, it may take 1-3 months after the surgery. It’s normal for vision to not be crisp and fluctuate slightly after surgery. If it has lasted for some time and you are concerned, speak to your doctor.

Q: How much is a LASIK surgery?

A: In 2013, the average price for any type of laser vision correction was $2,073 per eye. In comparison, in 2012 the average price was only $1,941 per eye. Unfortunately, health insurance doesn't usually pay for eye surgeries like LASIK.

Q: How do I report a bad experience with an eye doctor?

A: If you’ve been injured during an eye surgery, you can file a voluntary report to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration's MedWatch program at 1-800-FDA-1088 or online. You can also contact the state optometry or medical licensing board to file a complaint. Your state may also have a consumer complaint organization, such as the Better Business Bureau or a state consumer protection agency where you can also file a complaint.

Q: What else do I do if I am injured during a LASIK surgery?

A: If you or a loved one has been injured by a LASIK surgery, after talking with medical professionals, you also should consult with an experienced attorney to ensure your legal rights are protected. To learn more about an attorney's role in these types of cases, see the Get Legal Help with a Defective Product Injury and Get Legal Help with a Medical Malpractice Issue articles.

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