Common Misconceptions about Laser Eye Surgery
Laser Eye surgery is now one of the most commonly performed elective procedures in the world, with millions of people now benefitting from the ongoing innovation of treatment. Yet, misinformation and misconceptions regarding this life-saving treatment persist.
We’re getting to the bottom of some of the most common misconceptions about Laser Eye Surgery and setting the record straight. So, let’s take a look…
‘Complications in Laser Eye Surgery are common and serious’
While it is natural to be concerned when it comes to your eyes, Laser Eye Surgery is actually a much simpler and safer procedure than most people realise. Of course, no procedure is completely without risk and it is important to be fully aware of any risks (no matter how small) when deciding to go ahead with Laser Eye Surgery.
The good news is that, in the hands of an expert surgeon using the best technology, the chances of even a small compromise to vision is as low as 0.1% in most patients. The risk of complications may be higher in patients with higher prescriptions; however, in many cases, your surgeon will be able to correct the complication immediately or with a follow-up procedure.
‘Laser Eye Surgery is Painful’
This is one of the most common misconceptions surrounding Laser Eye Surgery. But the truth is, the Laser Eye Surgery procedure itself is extremely quick and virtually pain-free.
Patients undergoing LASIK or ReLEx SMILE (which the majority of patients do) may experience a brief moment of pressure early on in the procedure and mild discomfort in the 24 hours following surgery. This is usually relieved with the help of artificial tears, which any good clinic will provide, free of charge.
‘Laser Eye Surgery is only suitable for people with short-sightedness’
Laser Eye Surgery has been in a near-constant state of development almost since its conception in the late 1980s. As a result, there are many outdated assumptions about this treatment – one being that it is only suitable for patients with short-sightedness.
In reality, Laser Eye Surgery can effectively treat all four of the most common causes of vision impairment: short-sightedness (myopia), long-sightedness (hyperopia), astigmatism, and even presbyopia (see below).
‘Laser Eye Surgery can’t treat the need for reading glasses’
As we age, the vast majority of us begin to notice a deterioration in our vision. This is known as presbyopia or “old eye”. Luckily, we have been successfully treating presbyopia for almost two decades with PRESBYOND® Laser Blended Vision – a form of LASIK procedure that involves correcting one eye to see mainly at close distance and the other eye mainly at long distance.
As you adjust to your new vision, your brain combines these two fields of vision, leaving you with a clear picture and removing your need for reading glasses in many situations. Studies have shown that over 97% of patients with presbyopia are suitable for PRESBYOND® Laser Blended Vision treatment.
‘Laser Eye Surgery is only temporary’
Laser Eye Surgery works by removing corneal tissue to change the shape of the cornea. Once this has been done, the changes made are permanent. This means that corrections made to address your prescription will last, removing your need for external visual aids for the foreseeable future.
Studies have shown that changes after surgery tend to be small and develop very slowly. This means that, once you reach the age of 50, your prescription will only change by an average of half a dioptre every year. However, as our vision naturally changes as we get older, having Laser Eye Surgery for a refractive error will not prevent you from developing presbyopia as you get older.
‘Laser Eye Surgery has a high risk of blindness’
As we mentioned above, the risk of serious complications as a result of Laser Eye Surgery is extremely low; the risk of blindness is practically non-existent.
Realistically, the risk of blindness at the hands of an experienced Laser Eye surgeon is almost too small to measure – potentially in the region of around 1 in 5 million. The majority of Laser Eye Surgery procedures are completed in a matter of minutes with no complications, whatsoever.
‘You could end up with worse vision than you started with’
It is extremely unlikely that your vision without glasses after Laser Eye Surgery will be worse than your vision without glasses before the procedure (your uncorrected vision). In fact, the risk of this happening is negligible.
When it comes to your vision with glasses, or loss of corrected distance visual acuity, the chances of ending up with worse quality vision are, again, extremely low. The maximum visual clarity you achieve with glasses (or other aid) before surgery is known as your “corrected distance visual acuity” (CDVA). The chance of your CDVA being reduced by even a small amount is around 1 in 1,000 (0.1% per eye) for the vast majority of patients.
All potential risks regarding your particular treatment and prescription will be thoroughly explained to you at your screening appointments.