Is LASIK safe during pregnancy?

Vision can undergo changes during pregnancy. KidStock/MNPhotoStudios

LASIK vision correction is not recommended during or shortly after pregnancy. It is recommended that you postpone LASIK due to the following concerns:

  • Hormone fluctuations: Fluctuations in hormone levels and fluid retention can cause changes in your vision and eye anatomy. It is common to experience small changes in nearsightedness or astigmatism during pregnancy. Hormone changes during pregnancy can affect the shape and thickness of the cornea, the part of the eye that is manipulated during LASIK. These changes may not only affect the success of the procedure, but also may affect how your eye heals.
  • Dry Eyes: Normal patients who have LASIK often complain of dry eyes for a few months after LASIK. When LASIK is performed, the nerves that run through the cornea are severed. These nerves regenerate but it takes about 3-6 months for that to occur. During that time, the normal feedback mechanism that controls tear production is interrupted and dry eyes may occur. Hormone changes can lead to dry eyes during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Dry eyes may make your eyes uncomfortable and could delay healing after LASIK. As a result, it is best not to add complicating factors to the healing process.
  • Radiation: An often-overlooked reason for waiting on LASIK is the issue of radiation from the laser. This is considered an extremely small risk, but still should be considered, especially during the first trimester. This is of low concern but any risk of exposure to potentially hazardous material during the first trimester should be minimized.
  • Medications: To undergo LASIK, your eyes must be dilated. The medications administered for dilation, as well as antibiotic and steroid eye drops prescribed after LASIK surgery, could be absorbed through mucous membranes, which could be harmful to the fetus. Furthermore, some LASIK surgeons will give you mild sedatives or narcotics during and after the procedure, which may be harmful to the fetus as well.

    When should I schedule my LASIK procedure?

    LASIK should be postponed for some time after pregnancy. After pregnancy and during breastfeeding, hormones levels are still fluctuating. Most LASIK surgeons and obstetricians recommend waiting at least two menstrual cycles after you have stopped breastfeeding to have LASIK. Some physicians feel that this may even be pushing it and recommend waiting at least six months after discontinuing breastfeeding.

    Although having LASIK can be a very exciting time for a highly nearsighted individual, LASIK is still considered an elective procedure that is not medically necessary. Waiting a few more months is usually the best approach. What is important is the state of your vision -- LASIK should not be performed until your prescription is completely stable.


    Azar, Dimitri T and Douglas D Koch. LASIK: Fundamentals, Surgical Techniques, and Complications. Marcel Dekker Inc, 2003.

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