The Most Common Laser Eye Surgery Fears, Explained
There are a lot of reasons for avoiding or putting off Laser Eye Surgery: the cost, the stress of choosing the right clinic and, of course, fear of the procedure itself. During our decades in the Laser Eye Surgery sector, we’ve seen countless patients who let fear of treatment stop them from giving themselves the invaluable gift of clear sight.
Don’t get us wrong – we understand. It is human nature to fear things that could harm us. But how justified are these fears about Laser Eye Surgery? In this article, we’ll address some of the most common ones and (hopefully) ease your uncertainty about this life-changing procedure.
You will be awake during the procedure
One of the most common fears our patients have prior to surgery is that they will be awake during the procedure. This is true. Patients are not put under general anaesthetic (put to sleep) for Laser Eye Surgery as it is considered a minor procedure. Instead, local anaesthetic is used to numb the eye before treatment begins.
While it might appear that being unconscious during Laser Eye Surgery is safer, this isn’t the case. Being conscious and aware during your treatment does not put you at any additional risk. In fact, it removes the risks and side effects that commonly accompany general anaesthetics such as nausea, vomiting and dizziness.
Nonetheless, many would-be patients understandably worry about moving during surgery. For example, we are often asked questions like, “What if I sneeze during the procedure?“. Well, Laser Eye Surgery utilises impressive technology, such as eye-tracking, to safeguard against any hiccups, coughs, or sneezes – so there really is nothing to worry about!
The procedure will be painful
Okay, so you’re given local anaesthetic, but is this really enough to prevent any pain when a laser is being directed into your eye? Again, we get this a lot. After all, we’ve all seen lasers cutting through steel in James Bond films. Thankfully, these are nothing like the lasers used in Laser Eye Surgery.
First of all, the laser is not hot. It works by breaking carbon bonds in the cornea to remove tiny amounts of tissue from the eye. That isn’t to say that you won’t feel anything during the procedure. Most patients experience a slight pressure in their eye and potentially some mild discomfort. However, many patients express surprise after their treatment having found that they felt no pain whatsoever!
There might be complications during the surgery
Just like any surgical procedure, Laser Eye Surgery does come with some risk of complications. While it is natural (and recommended) to want to be fully aware of these risks, it is also important to know exactly how common they are. Thanks to incredible innovations in the Laser Eye Surgery sector over the last few decades, we are able to combine state-of-the-art technology with the expertise of world-renowned surgeons to make our treatment as safe as possible.
Nonetheless, you should always be told about any relevant risks during the screening process. Complications that can occur due to Laser Eye Surgery include corneal flap complications (around 1 in 1,000), Diffuse Lamellar Keratitis (around 1 in 500), and under- or over-correction. Nonetheless, it is extremely rare that an expert surgeon will be faced with a complication that they are unable to correct.
It is also worth noting that many potential complications occur due to infection. Again, this is extremely rare – it is estimated to occur in around 1 in 5,000 cases – as patients are treated with antibiotic eyedrops both before the procedure and as part of their routine recovery plan.
Your recovery may not go as planned
Given the cost and anxiety associated with the treatment itself, it’s only natural to be a little nervous about the recovery period. What if you experience terrible side effects or your vision isn’t as good as you and your surgeon expected?
As your chosen clinic should explain to you before you go ahead with treatment, Laser Eye Surgery can have some side effects. The most common of these is dry eyes. Most patients should expect some extent of dry eyes following their treatment, however, this is largely mitigated with the help of lubricating eye drops, which we provide free of charge throughout your recovery period. Dry eyes usually subside within a few weeks to a few months.
A smaller number of patients experience glare around light sources. Again, this issue usually resolves itself within a few months and any issues can be raised and assessed at your post-operative appointments. Furthermore, patients at London Vision Clinic will have access to their surgeon 24/7 during their recovery to report any problems.
Finally, if you’re vision is not quite up to the standard, we offer a free enhancement as part of our personalised treatment! Thankfully, with a rigorous initial screening, the risk of severe side effects can be largely mitigated.
Laser Eye Surgery can cause blindness
Many of us have heard horror stories about a patient who went blind due to Laser Eye Surgery. But while there is technically an exceedingly small risk of this, the real chance of it happening is almost non-existent. This outcome would require a series of very rare complications to occur all at once. In fact, wearing monthly contact lenses for one year carries a higher risk of blindness than Laser Eye Surgery!
We hope that this article, in combination with your consultation, will help to finally set your mind at ease. However, if you have any further questions regarding treatment at London Vision Clinic, don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of our friendly clinic coordinators. Alternatively, Book a Consultation today.