This is the big question, isn’t it? If there’s one thing that people worry about when it comes to LASIK, it’s the risks. You might have heard that LASIK is risky. But still, you’re here, reading the answer to this question, which means you have an open mind. So, let’s break it down. How risky is LASIK?
The risk of losing vision with LASIK in expert hands is about 1 in 30,000
Does that number surprise you? Does it sound like a lot? Or tiny?
Sometimes it’s hard to put long odds into context. Fortunately, our friends at the British Medical Journal put together a table of everyday risks, which we’ll quote here now:
Some familiar risks and the chance they will happen
Some familiar risks - The chance they will happen
Dying on the road over 50 years of driving - 1 in 85
Transmission of measles - 1 in 100
Dying of any cause in the next year - 1 in 100
Annual risk of death from smoking 10 cigarettes per day - 1 in 200
Needing emergency treatment in the next year after being injured by a can, bottle, or jar - 1 in 100
Needing emergency treatment in the next year after being injured by a bed mattress or pillow - 1 in 2,000
Death by an accident at home - 1 in 7,100
Risk of losing some noticeable vision from a LASIK complication (2 lines) in one eye1 in 30,000
Death by an accident at work - 1 in 40,000
Death playing soccer - 1 in 50,000
Death by murder - 1 in 100,000
Being hit in your home by a crashing airplane - 1 in 250,000
Death by rail accident - 1 in 500,000
Drowning in the bath in the next year - 1 in 685,000
Risk of going blind from a LASIK complication (in one eye) - 1 in 5,000,000
Being struck by lightning - 1 in 10,000,000
Risk of death from a nuclear power plant accident - 1 in 10,000,000
Chance of winning a national lottery on a single ticket - 1 in 175,000.000
Your risk of going blind from LASIK is lesser than drowning in the bath next year, but about twice as high as being struck by lightning.
Let’s face it; we put ourselves at greater risk of something catastrophic happening to us every single day. The National Safety Council puts out Injury Facts that will surprise you at best, and make you lose sleep at night at worst. Here are some highlights:
Ride a bike? Your risk of dying next year is 1 in 375,412. Figure you’re safer in a car? Your risk just grew to 1 in 17.625.
And it’s not just the routine stuff. Considering giving birth? A mother’s risk of dying during childbearing is about 1 in 5,000!
And here is one of the most pertinent risks you should consider, when you weigh up the relative risks of LASIK: In a study published in the Archives of Ophthalmology a few years ago, sight-threatening infections from contact lens use occurs in one in 2,000 contact lenses wearers. Compare that to a risk of 1 in 30,000 of a severe LASIK complication.
Truth be told, we’re pretty poor at calculating risk.
The biggest problem is that although we think numbers matter, stories that we hear can sometimes have a more significant influence on us.
So what are the specific risks and side-effects of LASIK?
As we’ve just seen, the best advice we can give you is to dig deep into the data that matters to you. The best way you can determine the most significant risks for you is by joining us for a screening assessment consultation. We’ll be able to be very clear with you about the risks and side-effects you might face.
So, do you have any related questions to the one we answered just now? Let’s see your question in the comments below and we promise to reply!