After getting LASIK surgery, a woman shares the side effects she’s experienced in hopes others will rethink their decision before getting surgery. Viewers say factors other than LASIK contributed to her side effects.
By Wednesday, Shan (@shanswanz) has reached over 2.1 million views and 129,000 likes on her viral TikTok. She has an on-screen caption that says, “Why I’d never get LASIK ever again and why you shouldn’t either.”
She also added a “TLDR” that says, “laser eye surgery is making me lose my vision.”
Shan begins her video by sharing she had her LASIK surgery done almost three years ago but recently went back to the eye doctor and got unexpected news.
“If I knew all the problems I was going to have three years later, I would’ve never gotten on that table,” she adds.
Next, Shan prefaces that if she sounds dramatic or like she is making a big deal out of this, “it’s because it is a big deal, actually.”
For context, Shan says before she got her surgery done in 2020, she didn’t think she would even qualify to have LASIK surgery, but she was approved anyway.
After getting surgery, Shan says everything went “as well as it could have,” but she had significant pain the day of the procedure.
“Other than that, I thought everything was normal,” she adds, “but apparently that was not the case.”
Next, Shan says that dry eye symptoms are very common after getting LASIK surgery. “You’re just supposed to keep up with these eye drops they give you, and then you’re supposed to be good as new,” she adds.
Shan says that a few weeks after taking the drops, she felt like her eye pain was not improving when using them. So, she decided to stop using the drops at all. She says her pain didn’t seem any different using the drops versus not. She also adds that the pain she had in the past is “nowhere near” what she is experiencing now.
Around the Spring of 2022, Shan says she started buying Visine drops to help her pain. She says she went back to the eye doctor at this time, and her vision scan came up perfect at 20/20.
Shan says she had never been to this doctor before, but he was the closest one to her at that time. “I told him about my dry eye symptoms, how it wasn’t every day and wasn’t all the time, but I did have to use Visine,” she says.
“He told me that was just normal,” Shan adds. She says she listened to the doctor’s orders to continue using Visine, thinking it would clear up.
By late 2022, Shan says, “I got to the point where I had to use them every single day.” Previously, she says she’d only been using the drops around two to four times a week.
“Every single day was painful,” she adds. Shan says the drops were still giving her some pain relief at that point, whereas now she says, “I get pretty much no relief.”
Next, Shan says it took her a while to make another eye appointment, but she finally made one at the end of December 2023.
Shan says she had been to the practice before as a child but had never seen this specific doctor.
“He kind of dropped this bomb on me,” she says.
“It’s not that I wasn’t expecting to be told that I needed glasses,” Shan adds, “I just wasn’t expecting him to tell me how my vision problems right now are directly related to the LASIK surgery that I got.”
Shan says the doctor told her that her cornea is thinner than it’s supposed to be.
Because she hadn’t gone to this specific doctor since she was a child, she says they couldn’t tell what her cornea looked like before her surgery. Then, Shan learned that there were two possibilities.
“Either I was never a candidate for LASIK in the first place, and they never should have allowed me to get that surgery because my cornea was too thin,” she says. “Or, I was a candidate, but when they used the laser to laser off your cornea, they took too much.”
Shan says the pain she has is so awful that she “wouldn’t wish it on anybody.” She adds that the pain is constant, and there is nothing that makes it better.
Next, Shan shares how hard going out in public has been. Since her eyes are constantly red, she says her peers are always asking if she is high or has been crying.
“Also, it is so painful,” she adds. “Like, when the wind blows, or even if somebody just walks by me, that hurts.”
Shan describes the pain as “how you would imagine your eyes would feel if you held them open and went on a roller coaster for two minutes.”
“That’s how it feels, every single day, all day,” she adds.
Shan says the doctor told her she has corneal neuralgia. After doing her own research, she says she found that 1 in 1,000 people who get LASIK surgery will develop corneal neuralgia.
“That’s not like some crazy number, but I feel like that’s pretty common,” she says.
Shan seems to have gotten this figure from a 2021 study that reports that 1 in 900 (0.0011%) patients in the study developed a form of dry eye syndrome called neuropathic corneal pain after getting LASIK.
At the same appointment, Shan says the doctor told her, “There is no other reason why my eyesight should be deteriorating as fast as it is.”
In six months, Shan says she will go back to the doctor to get another scan of her cornea.
“If it continues to deteriorate,” Shan says, “I have to start taking medication that is probably going to be lifelong to attempt to stop or slow down” the deterioration of her eye.
“I don’t know if it’s possible to completely lose my sight because of this,” she adds before ending her video. “I really hope not.”
@shanswanz if i can prevent ONE person from feeling what i feel every single day because of lasik then i’ll have done my job posting this. glasses and contacts are not that bad i promise you 🥲 #lasik #lasikeyesurgery #lasereyesurgery ♬ original sound – shan
Viewers in the comments section have mixed opinions on LASIK surgery after watching Shan’s video.
“Getting lasik was one of the best decisions that I have ever made! No one that I know who had it done has issues. So sorry you are girl!” one comment says.
Another agrees, “Got lasik in 2003. Greatest decision I have ever made. Never regret it for a second.”
Other viewers think the Visine solution Shan tried could have made her eyesight worse.
“I work with an eye doctor and I’m surprised your doctor told you to keep using visine, they’re a big no no,” one comment says.
Another says, “Visine does this to people without lasik. Ophthalmologists have always told me never to use visine.”
One comment with over 18,000 likes says, “I always think about the woman who was a newscaster and ended her life because of the pain of her eyes after lasik.”
“People don’t realize how debilitating dry eyes can be, it’s insane,” another says.
A comment with over 12,000 likes pointed out, “I never understood if lasik is so great then why do the dr’s still wear glasses?”
The Daily Dot reached out to Shan via TikTok direct message.