Can any laser eye surgeon guarantee 20/20 vision?

Laser eye surgery vision test

20/20 vision. It’s the renowned standard of visual acuity that comes to everyone’s mind when they think of good eyesight.

But hang on a minute, what does it actually mean to have 20/20 vision?

Well, if you’re told by your optician or ophthalmologist that you have 20/20 vision, you can see at a distance of 20 feet what normal-sighted people can see from the same distance. To give a comparison, if you’re told that you have 20/100 vision, this would indicate you can see at a distance of 20 feet what a normal-sighted person can only see at 100 feet.

The measurement is based on The Snellen chart — the familiar black and white eye chart plastered on the wall of the opticians, displaying a number of lines of letters, each progressively getting smaller and smaller in size as the rows raise higher and higher. Millions of results from the Snellen Chart is how we know what the ‘normal’ level of sight among the population is.

But there’s also another term you may have come across: 6/6 vision. In the short video below Mr. Glenn Carp explains the one big difference between 20/20 and 6/6 vision:

Mr. Glenn Carp answers the question: What is 20/20 or 6:6 vision?

So we’ve established what 20/20 and 6/6 are and laid out the level of visual acuity which is considered the norm. Uncoincidentally, these measurements are also the general standard a surgeon aims for when performing Laser Eye Surgery.

So does this mean you can fully expect to achieve 20/20 vision if you were to have Laser Eye Surgery today?

The answer depends on a number of factors, including your prescription before the surgery, the Laser Eye Surgery clinic you choose, and, crucially, your laser eye surgeon.

Why it matters to find a good laser eye surgeon

The clearest sign of a laser eye surgery clinic’s quality is in their results. And the one factor that influences a clinic’s results more than anything is the expertise of their laser eye surgeons.

Find a good surgeon and you not only give yourself the best chance of achieving your highest level of vision, but you’ll put yourself in the hands of someone who knows the whole Laser Eye Surgery process — from pre-op testing to dedicated aftercare — like the back of their phoropter.

According to several studies which assess the results of laser eye surgeons from around the world, the average standard of vision achieved by 95% of patients who receive LASIK (the most popular form of Laser Eye Surgery) is around 20/40, with 85% achieving 20/20 or better. Of course, more specialist clinics have even better results than this. 

It doesn’t stop there, many patients do actually achieve better than 20/20 vision, reaching the level of 20/16, not far off from the human limit of 20/12.

But unfortunately, in some cases, the outcome of Laser Eye Surgery isn’t as good as you would have hoped for. This more often than not comes down to the training and expertise of the surgeon conducting the procedure. To avoid running into this problem, whittle down your options of laser eye surgeons by ensuring they have a combination of the following:

  • Formal refractive training which includes a certificate from the Royal College of Ophthalmologists at the bare minimum, but ideally plenty of years of on-the-job training.
  • Experience in your specific procedure, whether it be LASIK, PRESBYOND® Laser Blended Vision, or ReLEx SMILE etc.
  • Experience and the equipment to treat a wide range of prescriptions, especially yours.
  • Access to the latest technology and experience using it in practice.
  • High attention to detail and care: will the surgeon only make an appearance on the day of the surgery or will you get to see and contact them after the procedure too?
  • A number of testimonials and reviews from past patients published on independent and reliable sources such as Trustpilot.

Follow these guidelines to finding a top-notch laser eye surgeon and you’re infinitely more likely to receive great care and treatment, and ultimately, the best possibly outcome you can imagine.

If you’d like to book a consultation with us, or find out more about Laser Eye Surgery results, leave us a comment or give us a call us on 020 7224 1005.

Dr Tim Archer
Dr Tim Archer

Dr Timothy Archer graduated from Oxford and Cambridge Universities with an undergraduate degree in Mathematics and a postgraduate degree in Computer Science. He joined the clinic in 2003, where he established his career specialising in laser refractive surgery research alongside Professor Reinstein. Today, he manages the in-house research team, of which achievements include 124 peer-reviewed papers, 32 book chapters, over 100 scientific articles and a published textbook. He also oversees and edits the content on London Vision Clinic’s website.