If you would have difficulty handling lifelong, permanent, irreparable and debilitating damage to your vision and/or eye pain, then do NOT under any circumstances have any elective surgery (refractive or otherwise) on your eyes. Even an extensive review of this website will show only a fraction of the numerous complications and side effects that COMMONLY occur (that's right- saying they are "rare" as LASIK is commonly practiced on the public is a bold faced LIE). If you think there is justice in the United States of America or if you would be willing to accept the minimal standard of care for LASIK is something you would accept, then you shouldn't have LASIK. The standard of care commonly practiced on American Citizens is horrific and frequently results in nightmarishly bad vision. The Doctors cover it up and in many cases directly lie to patients, the FDA, and the public.
Refractive surgery complications are incredibly problematic and serious, and in many cases uncorrectable and permanent (life-long). Dry eyes, for instance, doesn't sound like a big deal, but there's a HUGE difference between the dry eyes that people have before LASIK and after LASIK. The vast majority of people who have LASIK have had all the nerves severed that go to the flap and the surface of the eye (top hinged flaps are THE most common and both sets of nerves are cut permanently- they don't grow back the same as before and at best a fraction of the original sensation and normal tear film quality is obtained even years after LASIK).
Note that LASIK is basically a partial thickness corneal transplant with your own tissue (the flap) placed back. Dry eye is common.
LASIK is not recommended for patients with:
A. Very large pupils (meaning 6mm or larger under ANY conditions).
B. Thin corneas (No less than 300um of cornea tissue should be left after LASIK so add any measurement or surgical tolerances, the amount of tissue ablated and the flap thickness to come up with the thickness of the cornea).
C. Pre-existing Dry eye (Any allergies, itching, contact lens problems, blurriness at night or when waking, and a host of other common symptoms can indicate drier eyes than average).
D. Unstable refractive errors
E. Anyone with a history of anxiety, depression, suicidality, or any other mental health diagnosis.
F. Anyone who could Not or would NOT want to handle paralysis as well as Christopher Reeves did (supposedly anyway).
1. Unlike those of us whose lives were ruined by LASIK or other refractive surgery, BEFORE agreeing to a life threatening procedure (people who have had LASIK have higher rates of suicide) YOU may still have a choice about having it or not. Is even a 10% reduction in vision quality acceptable to you? Note there's only one study known as of this writing showing that patients have better vision quality AFTER LASIK than before LASIK. Many people have vision quality and vision acuity that is reduced by more than 50%. Not only is the consent form downright scary- it's actually less scary then it should be and likely very inadequate at explaining the true risks. So what can you do to protect yourself?
Instead of asking questions (some places falsely provide meaningless lists of questions to ask), ask your Doctor to GUARANTEE (in writing- this is very important) that they are a specialist in LASIK practicing the highest standard of care as explained below. Make sure the written guarantee that less than 1% of eyes (2 eyes per patient) have any side effects or complications. Make sure they guarantee that less than 1% of eyes have more Higher Order Aberrations after LASIK than before. Ask the Doctor to GUARANTEE in writing that LASIK is NOT dangerous at all to your eyes, your vision, or your health after 1 day, 1 month, 1 year and/or 1 lifetime. No Doctor will do that because they KNOW it is very dangerous and likely WILL injure your health. Some Doctors had LASIK early on, but Doctors don't seem to be having LASIK anymore. There are some compelling reasons why. Perhaps they didn't know what they were doing then, and perhaps they don't know what they're doing now. They admit they don't know which people will have problems whether with or without HOAs.
Simply Do NOT under any circumstances have a second surgery (often called an enhancement) solely for problems with the prescription. Do NOT accept any standard of care less than the following as a minimum.
A. No Decenterations of more than 10 microns in the last 1000 LASIKs.
B. Four reproducible aberration measurements for the wavefront-guided procedure.
C. Measurement of scotopic and mesopic pupil sizes, and using those data to calculate the wavefront-guided optical zone of a minimum of the same size as the MAXIMUM pupil size (including multiple 20 minute dark adapted measurements). "For a treatment zone with the laser below 6.0 millimeters and [pupil size] above 6.5 millimeters in diameter because it is unknown whether LASIK with these treatment zones is safe and effective for you."
D. Impressive outcomes derived from use of the M2 microkeratome (or equivalent) WITH A NEW BLADE which produces a very smooth pass. Also, it is HIGHLY recommended to get a nasal hinged flap which cuts 50% of the corneal nerves going to the flap tissue instead of 100% (a top hinged flap cuts both sets of nerves on both sides of the flap).
E. Wavefront-guided treatment with a flying-spot laser that creates as smooth of an ablation of the corneal stroma bed (with equivalent or higher) resolution as the Alegretto laser used in this study. http://www.escrs.org/eurotimes/January2004/Customised_system.asp
2. Conventional Lasik doubles HOA...wow...Even the best of the best Doctors readily say they don't know which HOAs will bother people and which will not. "Total HOA RMS increased almost 100% after conventional LASIK versus only 10% following CustomCornea treatment" http://www.escrs.org/eurotimes/January2004/Early%20study.asp