Common Misconceptions About Laser Eye surgery

Laser Eye Surgery is now the most commonly performed elective procedure in the world. Yet, misconceptions about the procedure are still commonplace. These misconceptions include:

1. Complications are common and serious

The bottom line is that laser Eye Surgery is very safe.

No surgical procedure is entirely without some level of risk; however, the relative risk of Laser Eye Surgery is extremely low when compared to the potential benefits.

In the hands of an expert surgeon using the best Laser Eye Surgery technology, there is an exceedingly small risk of any compromise to vision (around 0.1%) for the vast majority of patients.

There may be a slightly higher risk for patients with higher prescriptions. If this applies to you, this will be indicated at your initial screening appointment.

2. Laser eye surgery is painful

The Laser Eye Surgery procedure itself is quick and pain-free.

All patients will receive local anaesthetic before their surgery. This ensures there is no pain throughout the procedure; however, you may experience some feelings of pressure in the eye during your treatment.

While it is normal to experience some mild discomfort during the early stages of your recovery, this is generally managed effectively with normal painkillers and lubricating eye drops (which any good clinic should provide free of charge). Discomfort may last longer with surface procedures such as PRK/LASEK. Nonetheless, this is generally easily managed.

3. Laser eye surgery can only treat short-sightedness

Today, Laser Eye Surgery can be used to correct myopia (short-sightedness), hyperopia (long-sightedness), astigmatism, and presbyopia.

While Laser Eye Surgery was initially developed to correct short-sightedness, developments in technology and expertise mean that it can now be used to correct the full range of refractive errors.

4. Laser eye surgery cannot help people who need reading glasses

For over a decade, a new Laser Eye Surgery technique has been successful in treating presbyopia (ageing eyes).

PRESBYOND® Laser Blended Vision was introduced at London Vision Clinic in 2011, marking a new age in the scope of Laser Eye Surgery. While no procedure can fully restore the eye’s zooming mechanisms to enable perfect distance and perfect near vision in both eyes simultaneously, PRESBYOND is often the best alternative.

This technique involves correcting one eye mainly for distance vision and a little up close, while the other eye is corrected mainly for close vision and a little at distance. The brain can learn to combine these two images, providing clear vision across all distances.

PRESBYOND® Laser Blended Vision is more well-tolerated when compared to monovision (which uses contact lenses or older laser systems to correct one eye for distance and the other for near). It is estimated that around 97% of patients can adapt to PRESBYOND® Laser Blended Vision compared to just 60% who tolerate monovision.

5. Laser Eye Surgery results are not permanent

The changes made to the eye during Laser Eye Surgery are permanent.

Long-term follow-up studies have demonstrated that the changes made to your cornea to correct your vision are permanent and do not significantly regress.

However, even after surgery, like the rest of our bodies, the eyes will continue to be subject to natural changes as we age. As we get older, everyone’s eyes change to some extent, even if you never require glasses.

Studies have shown that changes after Laser Eye Surgery tend to be very minor. Nonetheless, once you reach the age of 50, your prescription will likely change by an average of half a dioptre every decade. Therefore, Laser Eye Surgery cannot prevent the progression of presbyopia.

6. You can be too old for Laser Eye Surgery

Technically, there is no upper age limit for laser eye surgery as long as the eye is healthy.

Your suitability for Laser Eye Surgery will never be determined by your age alone. Generally speaking, patients of all ages (over 18) with a treatable prescription, who have good eye health and general health, will be considered for treatment.

7. Laser Eye Surgery can cause blindness

This is practically impossible.

While it is technically possible to go blind as a result of Laser Eye Surgery, the likelihood of this happening is almost two small to measure. In the hands of an expert surgeon using the best technology, this is probably in the region of around 1 in 5 million.

8. You could end up with worse vision than you started with

This point deals with two issues:

  • Your vision without glasses – uncorrected vision loss: There is virtually no chance that your vision after Laser Eye Surgery will be worse than it was without glasses or contact lenses before treatment.
  • Your vision with glasses – loss of corrected distance visual acuity: Your maximum clarity with glasses before surgery is known as your ‘corrected distance visual acuity’ (CDVA). In expert hands, the chance of your CDVA being reduced by even a small amount is around 1 in 1,000 (0.1%) per eye for the majority of patients. There may be a slightly higher risk for patients with higher prescriptions. If this applies to you, this will be indicated at your initial screening appointment.