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Potential Long Term Dangers of LASIK Surgery

Research out of Otago and Oxford Universities in New Zealand indicates that having LASIK surgery can lead to permanent problems with vision over the long term.

More specifically, it appears that having laser surgery for near-sightedness (myopia) may lead to excessive glare, haze, and blurred vision as people enter their 7th and 8th decades of life.

What follows is a simplified explanation of why researchers have come to this conclusion:

During LASIK surgery for near-sightedness, the tissues of the eye are cut and vaporized to flatten the central region of the cornea.

The potential problem with flattening the cornea is abnormal movement of the cells of the cornea.

Normally, the cells of the cornea move in a way that results in the formation of a pigmented line (called the Hudson-Stahli line) that forms somewhere below the pupil. This pigmented line tends to thicken with age, and can eventually begin scattering incoming light, which can lead to glare, haze, and blurred vision. But because this line is usually formed below the pupil, it doesn't tend to cause significant problems with vision, even when the line thickens as a part of the normal, degenerative changes that occur over many years.

After LASIK surgery, the movement of the cells of the cornea are affected in a way that increases the chance of the Hudson-Stahli line forming in front of the pupil. In such cases, as this line begins to thicken with age, glare, haze, and blurred vision become inevitable.

At this point, it is impossible to predict how many recipients of LASIK surgery are going to experience this problem as they get older.

Given the lack of data on potential long term dangers of having LASIK surgery, I think it's wise to avoid it, at least for now.

You can improve your vision without surgery by taking good care of your overall health. When I underwent a two-week water fast back in 1999, I noticed significant improvement in my vision - not enough for me to throw away my glasses, but enough for me to realize that emotional stress, lack of physical rest, and sub-optimal food choices can all contribute to poor vision.

There are several expensive "natural restoration of vision" programs on the market today. As far as I can tell, most of these programs are variations of the Bates method, a simple program that outlines specific eye exercises and offers dietary and lifestyle suggestions that are aimed at optimally supporting all of the organs associated with vision.

You can learn about the Bates method for free by doing a Google search on it. A quick search on will turn up several inexpensive books that offer excellent guidance on how to exercise and take good overall care of your eyes and vision.

Two books on this topic that I have read and can recommend are:

The Bates Method for Better Eyesight Without Glasses


Relearning to See: Improve Your Eyesight - Naturally!

For a look at some eye exercises that you can begin right away to promote better vision naturally, please feel free to view the following articles:

How to Reduce Eyestrain and Promote Optimal Vision

Why Frequent Blinking is Essential for Healthy Eyes and Optimal Vision

Please consider using the Article Tools box below to pass this blog entry on to friends and family members who are thinking about having LASIK surgery.


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Another long term complication of Lasik the doctors don't tell you about has to do with cataracts. I had Lasik performed in 2000 for my far-sighted vision. In the last year I've developed a fast-growing cataract in my "good" eye. Now that cataract surgery is in my future, I've been told that all the calculations normally done to perform this surgery are "out the window" due to the previous Lasik surgery. This surgery will now be the surgeon's "best guess" which is VERY troubling to me! So, beware!

I must also echo other readers' comments that I so appreciate receiving your newsletter for the excellent information! Thanks!!

I read with interest your comment and is well noted that you can develop catarat after Lasik. Also people that live in tropical climates are more prone to develop them. A Brazilian man developed catarat after having lasik, but this time because using cortisone eyedrops! Another one for the list. This surgery is a serious gamble with your eyes.
Best regards.

Never, never, never have LASIK eye surgery. Glasses and/or contacts are exponentially better than being the 1 in x-number of thousands who develop complications. I’m one of them. After wearing contacts and glasses for over 29 years (from the age of 12) I wanted to be free of painful contacts and glasses that “interfered” with my daily runs and workouts. I had LASIK in 2004 and immediately one of my eyes developed nerve pain that never really went away. My eye “doctor” poo-pooed it away and that was that. It was such a relief to be free of contacts and glasses so I chalked it up to a “trade off.” Long story short, six years after I had LASIK I developed an autoimmune disease that sent me into menopause at the age of 39. Shortly thereafter I developed vision problems. I was an IT livelihood depended on my ability to look at computer monitors for long hours. Again, in a nutshell, I had developed the worst side effect of LASIK: cornea ectasia which is the progress and irreversible thinning of the corneas. This is VERY bad...look it up if you’re considering LASIK. The only “cure” is a cornea transplant and at the time of my diagnosis there was no FDA approved treatment in the U.S. but European doctors had been treating the condition with a procedure called corneal cross linking. I couldn’t afford to go to Europe for treatment. By the grace of God, a young cornea specialist knew of an American doctor conducting a clinical trial in which I was accepted into. It was expensive, painful beyond description, and we had to travel halfway across the country 4 times for the procedure and follow ups but it was worth it bc my condition (again by the grace of God) has been stable now for 10 years. HOWEVER, the LASIK and thin corneas have caused additional problems like uncorrectable poor and distorted vision, extreme photosensitivity, loss of night vision, extreme dry eye, continued nerve pain in my eyes, headaches, increased likelihood of glaucoma bc of the thinner corneas. I lost my job and several years ago I almost took my life. the only way I can get online is via a tablet that I can enlarge so I can see text. And then my visual stamina is extremely limited. I’d rather have glasses and contacts.