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Is Lasik Laser Eye Surgery Safe?
Is LASIK or Laser-Assisted in situ Keratomileusis safe?
What are the risks and side effects of LASIK?

Update May 13, 2013
  A few weeks ago while looking at sunglasses in a sporting goods store, someone told us they recently had LASIK laser eye surgery, make payments of only $100 per month and are pleased with the results.  We asked "how safe is Lasik and what are the risks" but he was unable to give a good answer so we started our research summarized in this article.  We started with a search of "Is Lasik safe?" and found several articles from sites that perform Lasik who claimed it was safe so we decided to write this article where the only compensation we get is if you click on a link to one of the sites advertising through Google on this page. 

What is Lasik?  LASIK or Lasik (Laser-Assisted in situ Keratomileusis), commonly referred to as laser eye surgery, is a type of refractive surgery for the correction of myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism.

The LASIK surgery is performed by an ophthalmologist who uses a laser or microkeratome to reshape the eye's cornea in order to improve visual acuity. For most patients, LASIK provides a permanent alternative to eyeglasses or contact lenses.

Major side effects include halos, starbursts, night-driving problems, keratoconus (corneal ectasia), and eye dryness.

LASIK is most similar to another surgical corrective procedure, photorefractive keratectomy (PRK), and both represent advances over radial keratotomy in the surgical treatment of refractive errors of vision. For patients with moderate to high myopia or thin corneas which cannot be treated with LASIK and PRK, the phakic intraocular lens is an alternative
Safety Record

Wikipedia1 has a good summary of LASIK, including safety.  Below are key items that lead us to stick with using  corrective lenses to correct our vision.  You may interpret the risks and rewards differently.
  1. Surveys of LASIK find rates of patient satisfaction between 92 and 98 percent. In March 2008, The American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery published a patient satisfaction meta-analysis of over 3,000 peer-reviewed articles from international clinical journals. Data from the prior 10 years revealed a 95.4 percent patient satisfaction rate among LASIK patients
    • This means one in twenty were not satisfied.
  2. On 25 February 2010, Morris Waxler, former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) official in charge of approving laser vision correction (LASIK) devices, stated concerns about the risk of serious side-effects from LASIK and the original FDA approval process. His concerns about the safety of LASIK were discussed in an interview on Good Morning America. On 6 January 2011, Waxler requested that,
    • "the Commissioner of Food and Drugs withdraw FDA approval (PMA) for all LASIK devices and issue a Public Health Advisory with a voluntary recall of LASIK devices in an effort to stop the epidemic of permanent eye injury caused by lasers and microkeratomes used for LASIK eye surgery."
  3. Waxler alleged that,
    • "The FDA was deprived of knowledge of the full extent of LASIK injuries prior to and during FDA reviews of documents submitted in support of the safety and effectiveness of LASIK devices under 21 CFR 812 and 21 CFR 814. In addition, LASIK manufacturers and their collaborators withheld safety and effectiveness information from their investigational device exemption (IDE) reports to the FDA. In addition, they hid LASIK injuries from FDA within the context of out-of-court settlement of innumerable lawsuits. Clinic-sponsored IDE studies cherry-picked, withheld, and hid data from FDA that clearly showed LASIK with excessive adverse event rates (greater than 1%). These activities were an industry-wide effort, organized wholly or in part by the manufacturers and their collaborators in order to circumvent FDA law and regulation. I will submit confidential information on these matters separately to FDAs Office of Criminal Investigation.
  4. Some patients with perceived poor outcomes from LASIK surgical procedures report a significantly reduced quality of life because of vision problems or physical pain associated with the surgery. Patients who have suffered LASIK complications have created websites and discussion forums where prospective and past patients can discuss the surgery. In 1999, "Surgical Eyes" was founded in New York city as a point of resource for patients with complications of LASIK and other refractive surgeries by RK patient, Ron Link, "Surgical Eyes" has since been superseded by the "Vision Surgery Rehab Network" (VSRN)
  5. Dry Eyes side effect: The incidence of persistent dry eye has been estimated to be as high as 28% in Asian eyes and 5% in Caucasian eyes
We had enough!  In my case, my eyes are corrected to better than 20:20 with glasses and I can see pretty well without them.  I am old enough that I have to take my glasses off to read and need reading glasses to read some very fine print.  Lasik may be better than contact lenses but I am unwilling to take the risks of surgery for vision that might not be as good as I get with glasses.

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Note 1: Source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LASIK
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