Your Vision After LASIK

LASIK will almost certainly reduce your dependence on glasses and contact lenses, but there is no guarantee that you will have perfect vision without glasses. While perfect vision is the optimal outcome of LASIK, whether or not you receive it depends on your individual experience. Everyone’s eyes and vision are unique. What works for some may not work for others. Success in LASIK depends on the individual. Your personal eyeglass prescription can tell a lot about how you may respond to LASIK. The higher your prescription, the lower the chance of a perfect outcome. Your healthcare provider will study all of your health data and will be able to give you an educated guess on your expected outcome.

A woman undergoing an eye exam
PhotoAlto / Eric Audras / PhotoAlto Agency RF Collections / Getty Images

Consider Your Expectations

Your potential vision also depends on the quality of vision that you would like to have, depending on what types of visual activities you do every day. Do you wish to be able to see the alarm clock without slipping on your glasses, or do you need to be able to see clearly through an archery scope lens? Desirable expectations should be thoroughly discussed with your healthcare provider in order to realistically assess your chances of a successful outcome. Your ultimate satisfaction with your results of LASIK depends mostly on having realistic expectations for your individual case. Before making a final decision, be sure to talk with your healthcare provider about how well you truly expect to see after surgery.

“20/20” Vision Doesn’t Mean “Perfect” Vision

Today, most patients can expect to have close to 20/20 uncorrected vision, and almost all have at least 20/40. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) notes that this procedure is “intended to reduce a person’s dependency on glasses or contact lenses.” Healthcare providers can never guarantee that you will end up with perfect vision. Based on experience, most patients achieve “20/HAPPY vision.” This means that your vision may not be exactly perfect, but you can enjoy 95% of your daily activities without corrective glasses or contact lenses.

Typical LASIK results:

  • 98% of patients have 20/40 or better vision
  • 90% of patients have 20/20 or better

Be aware that the typical Snellen eye chart (the one with the big E at the top) is only one measurement of visual clarity. You may be able to read the very bottom line on the chart, but still not see clearly. You could have debilitating problems such as halos around lights, glare, filmy vision or very dry eyes that decrease the quality of your vision. Try not to become focused on achieving the magic number of 20/20. Instead, focus on the goal of your surgery: to reduce your dependence on glasses or contacts.

1 Source
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Wilkinson JM, Cozine EW, Kahn AR. Refractive eye surgery: helping patients make informed decisions about LASIK. Am Fam Physician. 2017;95(10):637-644. PMID: 28671403

By Troy Bedinghaus, OD
Troy L. Bedinghaus, OD, board-certified optometric physician, owns Lakewood Family Eye Care in Florida. He is an active member of the American Optometric Association.