Is LASIK Safe?

On this page, Dr Brian answers questions about the safety of LASIK, Custom Wavefront LASIK and other refractive surgery procedures.

Click on a question below to view the answer:

  • I rely on my eyes. What is the chance of going blind from these procedures?
    • The chance of complete blindness is extremely remote.
  • Will it hurt?
    • We use powerful numbing drops, so although it is unlikely there can be some temporary discomfort.
  • Someone told me there are no long-term studies on LASIK. Is that true?
    • The basic flap-making element, which is the foundation of LASIK, dates back to the 1960s. There are over 40 years of study and the results are good in patients who were good candidates before the procedure. The lasers were developed and studied in the 1980s. We have long-term results from laser treatment. With any procedure there is an element of risk, so it’s important to consult an eye doctor about being a candidate and discussion of details of a procedure.
  • Should I wait until something else comes along?
    • The decision to have the procedure done is yours. If you are determined to be a good candidate, your expectation is to be happy with the results, however it is not possible to make any guarantees. If you are not comfortable, then we would not want you to have anything done. Another option is the Visian ICL (insertable lenses). Patients who are not comfortable with the idea of LASIK often consider the Visian ICL procedure. This procedure involves sliding a tiny lens implant behind the iris (colored portion of eye). It is ideal for patients who like the idea of a procedure that in a sense is reversible, the lens could be removed.
  • Do I have to give up my workouts for a few weeks?
    • Patients can usually resume working out 2 days after the procedure. We advise refraining from swimming or water sports for 2 weeks.
  • I saw a scary news show about LASIK a few years ago. How safe is LASIK?
    • Like any surgical procedure, there is some potential risk. The key to reducing risk is to be thoroughly evaluated by an experienced physician for proper candidacy. Dr. Brian (himself a LASIK patient over 15 years ago) performs advanced diagnostic testing which each patient must pass in order to be deemed a good candidate.
  • In a few years, will my vision revert back and need to use my old contacts and glasses all over again?
    • In good candidates, there is typically no need to worry about ever having to wear the same prescription again in the future. Once the eye heals, it typically does not change. If it does change afterwards, vision may lessen but can be improved with an additional procedure pending results of evaluation at that time. Dr. Brian developed FORTIFIED LASIK® to help to reduce the likelihood of vision changing after LASIK. FORTIFIED LASIK® is a two step process involving the LASIK procedure followed by a cornea strengthening procedure, Holcomb C3-R®, to help lock in the results from LASIK.
  • If I move, will the laser burn my skin?
    • Our laser uses an advanced eye-tracking system. The laser follows the eye even if the patient moves which assures that only the eye is treated. The laser energy is so gentle that it cannot even be felt on the skin.
  • I live outside of Beverly Hills and don’t like to drive a lot. Doesn’t that make me ineligible to have the procedure with Dr. Brian?
    • Actually we have a number of patients who come from outside of Beverly Hills as well as outside the state and country for an easy 3-day visit. The 3-day visit would consist of consultation, procedure, and then next day examination after the procedure. You can even fly home the day after your procedure. It is no problem to have a qualified colleague of Dr. Brian’s assist in the aftercare examinations at 3 months and 1 year, if that is what you prefer or is more convenient than returning to our office. We are happy to provide you with recommendations for local hotel accommodations during your 3-day visit. Then we can provide a referral for your aftercare examinations or speak with your local eye doctor about performing aftercare examinations.
  • Does the procedure take a long time to perform?
    • The LASIK procedure itself is typically quick and easy. Duration is usually: 5 min/eye for LASIK and PRK In comparison the other procedures we perform are usually 10 – 20 minutes per eye.
  • Will I have to miss weeks of work and stay in bed?
    • Most patients take about 1 day off from work as “medical leave.” Patients typically drive and go back to work the day after the procedure, depending on the type of procedure.
  • I heard that you could never wear contact lenses again (such as colored lenses) after surgery. Is this true?
    • If desired, you can certainly wear contact lenses after the procedures in most cases.

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