Updated on  May 1, 2024
6 min read

LASIK Success Rate in 2024

7 sources cited
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Laser vision correction surgery can be a convenient alternative to wearing glasses or contact lenses. Since the Food and Drug Administration first approved it in 1996, LASIK has established itself as a safe and effective surgical procedure.

Before you undergo LASIK eye surgery, it’s essential to consider the procedure’s safety, success rates, and potential side effects and complications. 

This article covers the most up-to-date information on the LASIK success rate. It also reviews the LASIK failure rate and possible surgical complications. Discuss your questions, vision goals, and candidacy with a qualified LASIK surgeon.

LASIK Success Rate

LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis) is one of the most successful elective procedures in the world. The latest research shows the LASIK procedure has an overall patient satisfaction rate of 96 percent.7 This makes the LASIK success rate higher than any other elective procedure.  

The 2016 results of the annual meeting of the American Society for Cataract and Refractive Surgery covered the LASIK success rate. These findings revealed the following information about LASIK outcomes:7

  • 99 percent of LASIK patients achieved 20/40 vision or better
  • More than 90 percent achieved 20/20 vision or better
  • Many LASIK patients have better visual acuity than they did with glasses or contact lenses

Establishing realistic expectations before the procedure plays a crucial role in patient satisfaction. Discuss your vision goals with your eye doctor to ensure the surgery meets your expectations.  

What Is the Failure Rate for LASIK Refractive Surgery?

LASIK is a highly successful type of laser eye surgery, with most patients achieving excellent vision. However, no surgical procedure has a 100 percent success rate.

Several large clinical studies have shown a less than 1 to 1.8 percent LASIK complication rate.1- 3

Side Effects of LASIK Eye Surgery

Nearly everyone obtains good visual acuity after LASIK. However, there are some common side effects that patients experience after LASIK surgery.

The most prevalent side effects include:

Dry Eyes

About 30 percent of patients experience dry eyes due to LASIK surgery.2 The majority of these symptoms are mild and resolve within six months. However, a small percentage of patients develop chronic dry eyes.

Severe dry eye issues are more likely in people with dry eye symptoms. Artificial tears can treat most cases of dry eyes.

Glare, Starbursts, or Halos

These side effects cause you to see glare, starbursts, or halos around lights. They’re most prominent at night. These symptoms are common post-surgery and usually subside within a few days, weeks, or months.

In rare cases, these symptoms don’t go away. They can be treated with a LASIK enhancement, which involves additional surgery.

Other Vision Problems

Fluctuating blurry vision is expected after LASIK surgery. It typically resolves itself within 48 hours of surgery. Other common side effects include double vision and light sensitivity.

If impaired vision continues after the healing process, it could be under-correction, overcorrection, or regression. It can be corrected with enhancement surgery or glasses.

Potential LASIK Complications

Like all surgeries, there are risks involved with LASIK. Complications are rare. However, you should be aware of them. Some are less serious than others.

Less Serious Risks of LASIK

These include:

Overcorrection or Undercorrection

It’s not uncommon to overdo or fall short of the ideal level of vision correction (residual refractive error). Most people are satisfied with their LASIK outcomes because it’s still an improvement from their previous vision. In these cases, retreatment isn’t necessary.

If you’re not happy with your new vision, you might be able to undergo a LASIK enhancement procedure. Otherwise, you can wear glasses or contacts to fix your vision.


Regression is a change in your eye that affects your vision. This could be in your natural lens or the length or shape of your eyeball. This seldom happens after LASIK.

This can be fixed with an enhancement procedure. Only 1 to 2 percent of patients need an enhancement within the first year after LASIK. About 10 percent of patients experience some regression after ten years.

It’s normal for anyone to experience age-related vision changes (presbyopia), even if you’ve experienced LASIK success in the past.

Irregular Astigmatism

Irregular astigmatism is an abnormal curvature of your cornea. Problems with the LASIK flap or a malfunctioning or decentered excimer laser can cause it. 

This can be corrected through an enhancement procedure, PRK, glasses, or contacts.

More Serious Risks of LASIK

These include:

Epithelial Ingrowth

This is when the outer tissue of your cornea starts to grow underneath the LASIK flap. Epithelial ingrowth happens in about 0 to 3.9 percent of LASIK procedures.5 The rate goes up in enhancement procedures.

Mild cases of epithelial growth don’t require treatment. Moderate to severe cases can cause pain, light sensitivity, and blurred vision. These cases require the surgeon to lift the flap and remove the ingrowth.

Corneal Ectasia

Corneal ectasia is rare but serious. This LASIK complication causes substantial corneal thinning. Studies have shown it to happen between 0.04 to 0.6 percent of LASIK procedures.6

Patients need more intensive treatment for corneal ectasia. This could be collagen cross-linking or corneal implants.

Corneal ectasia can cause keratoconus. This eye disease causes your cornea to “steepen” and thin. If you have early signs of keratoconus, your eye surgeon will probably recommend against LASIK. 

Diffuse Lamellar Keratitis (DLK)

Diffuse lamellar keratitis (DLK) is an inflammation that can develop under the LASIK flap. When this occurs, it’s usually a few days post-surgery.

Mild cases of DLK are usually asymptomatic and self-limiting. Severe cases are treated with steroid eye drops. They may require the surgeon to lift the flap and remove the inflammatory cells.


Infections are rare because the LASIK flap protects against bacteria. You’re also prescribed antibiotic eye drops after surgery.

However, if you get an infection, you may experience pain, redness, and sensitivity to light. This requires treatment with antibiotics. The surgeon may need to lift the flap and apply antibiotics underneath.

Flap Complications

Flap complications can include uneven folds, wrinkles, or dislocation of the flap. This can occur via injuries, impacts, or even just rubbing your eyes during healing.

Most dislocations happen within the first 24 hours of surgery. Flap complications are usually treated with another minor surgery.

Vision Loss

In rare cases (less than one percent), a person may lose a few lines of vision on a Snellen chart. However, according to the Refractive Surgery Council, there has never been a case of blindness from LASIK.4


LASIK is a safe and effective type of laser eye surgery that corrects refractive errors. The LASIK success rate is more than 99 percent, and the overall patient satisfaction rate is 96 percent. Most people who undergo LASIK surgery achieve excellent vision and an improved quality of life.

Although the LASIK success rate is high, side effects, complications, and failure occur in about 1 percent of surgeries. LASIK surgeons are the most qualified to discuss expectations, candidacy, and other factors affecting LASIK success.

Updated on  May 1, 2024
7 sources cited
Updated on  May 1, 2024
  1. Sandoval et al. “Modern Laser in Situ Keratomileusis Outcomes.” Journal of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, 2016.

  2. Eydelman et al. “Symptoms and Satisfaction of Patients in the Patient-Reported Outcomes With Laser In Situ Keratomileusis (PROWL) Studies.” JAMA Ophthalmology, 2017.

  3. Ikeda et al. “ Twelve-Year Follow-Up of Laser In Situ Keratomileusis for Moderate to High Myopia.” BioMed Research International, 2017.

  4. LASIK.” Refractive Surgery Council, nd. 

  5. Ting et al. “Epithelial Ingrowth Following Laser in Situ Keratomileusis (LASIK): Prevalence, Risk Factors, Management and Visual Outcomes.” BMJ Open Ophthalmology, 2018.

  6. Wolle et al. “Complications of Refractive Surgery: Ectasia after Refractive Surgery.” International Ophthalmology Clinics, 2016.

  7. What Is the LASIK Success Rate?” Refractive Surgery Council, 2022.

The information provided on VisionCenter.org should not be used in place of actual information provided by a doctor or a specialist.