Can You Go Blind From Laser Eye Surgery?

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Although laser eye surgery is one of the safest medical procedures people are still concerned whether it can cause blindness. The answer? Almost certainly not.

Let’s dig into the facts a little deeper.

Can laser eye surgery cause blindness?

The answer to that question is yes, in theory. Laser eye surgery could cause blindness, but it is extremely unlikely and would require a series of very rare complications to occur at once.

In terms of likelihood, the chance of being blinded by laser eye surgery is around 1 in 5 million, which means you’re more likely to die from falling out of bed. You’re also far more likely to be struck by lightning.

And if you wear contact lenses, which over 4 million people in the UK do, you’re more than 34 times at risk of being blinded by them than you are by laser eye surgery.

You won’t be surprised to hear, then, that The American Refractive Surgery Council reports that not a single person has ever been completely blinded by laser eye surgery.

That said, laser eye surgery isn’t completely risk-free, even if complications are very rare.

What are the risks?

Although going blind from laser eye surgery is highly unlikely, there are other, slightly more likely, risks to be aware of if laser eye surgery goes wrong. These include:

  • Partial vision loss
  • Decreased vision in low light
  • Drooping of the upper eyelid
  • Corneal infections
  • Cloudy vision
  • Blurred vision
  • Dry eyes
  • Astigmatism (irregularly shaped cornea)

Many of these are only temporary and can be corrected. You can also avoid the risks of laser eye surgery by choosing a trusted clinic that offers post-surgery support and aftercare.

Not everyone is a suitable candidate for laser eye surgery, however. Those with thin corneas, for example, are at an increased risk of experiencing complications. Consult your eye doctor for guidance as to whether laser eye surgery is right for you.

Are there any post-surgery effects?

Common side effects of laser eye surgery include:

  • Mild, gritty discomfort
  • Light sensitivity
  • Red marks on the white of your eyes
  • Dry eyes

Thankfully, these post-surgery side effects should disappear relatively quickly (between 1-6 months), and if they don’t, your laser eye surgery clinic should be able to help.

You should also be aware that around 1 in 10 patients will need more than one laser eye surgery treatment to get the best possible results. If that’s the case with you, most clinics will complete the procedure again, free of charge, so long as you pick wisely.

Click here for a list of laser eye surgery clinics to find one that’s right for you.