Does LASIK Surgery Cause Poor Night Vision?

Night vision problems are a common side effect of laser eye surgery (LASIK). Learn more about how this procedure affects your night vision and what you can do if you experience any issues.

Does LASIK Surgery Cause Poor Night Vision?

Night vision problems are a common side effect of LASIK surgery. Many patients may experience starflashes, halos, and glare around bright lights, as well as difficulty seeing other objects at night. These issues with contrast and sensitivity to light can make driving or going out at night very dangerous. It is normal to experience some changes in night vision after laser eye surgery, but these changes are usually temporary and vision should improve in a short time.

It is important for patients to talk to their doctor and attend all follow-up appointments as directed. The eye care team wants to make sure that the patient's new vision meets expectations before declaring the surgery a success. To better understand the effects of corneal aberrations on halo phenomena after LASIK, total aberrometry should be considered. Patients who have night vision problems after LASIK should submit a MedWatch report to the FDA online, call the FDA at 1-800-FDA-0178 to file the complaint by phone, download the paper form and fax it to 1-800-FDA-0178 or mail it to the address listed at the bottom of page 3, or download the MedWatcher mobile app to report LASIK problems to the FDA using a smartphone or tablet.

Custom wavefront LASIK, also known as wavefront-guided LASIK, tends not to induce spherical aberration in the same way that conventional LASIK does. This helps minimize the induction of spherical aberration after surgery and improve night vision. While it is a misconception that surgery permanently changes night vision, vision should return to normal after recovery. Some people are more likely than others to develop night vision problems after LASIK surgery, depending on certain characteristics of their eyes.

The objective of one study was to objectively quantify the phenomenon of the halo by measuring the distortion in the size and shape of a light source reported by a population of myopic eyes that had successfully undergone refractive surgery with LASIK, and to determine which aberrations are most directly involved in the phenomena of the halo under night vision conditions. The FDA-approved VISX CustomVue laser procedure Science News Summary reported good night vision results after LASIK. However, surgeons specializing in LASIK downplay this adverse effect of LASIK, using terms such as symptoms or side effects, and tell patients that these visual disorders will resolve over time. Corneal aberrations were calculated for a corneal diameter representative of the eye's entrance pupil under night vision conditions in a prospective, observational and analytical study of 110 eyes that had successfully undergone LASIK surgery to treat myopia and astigmatism.

“Non-serious” night vision problems occur when patients show significant improvement after LASIK surgery but are left with some residual nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism. The surgical routine for LASIK surgery was in line with international standards and the commonly accepted criteria for refractive surgery procedures were followed. These results can ensure that overall visual quality, including night vision, tends to be very good when patients undergo personalized wavefront LASIK.