Nervous of Laser Eye Surgery?

It’s normal to feel a little nervous in the time-period preceding your eyes being operated on. You could even say it’s a little weird to be perfectly okay with it.

The increasing heart rate, dilating pupils, sweaty palms, and butterflies in the stomach are some of our body’s most valuable signals. Without them, we would fail miserably at measuring the level of danger, risk, or potential success of a situation.

When you’re anxiously waiting for an exam or confronted by someone you deem to be a threat in the street, your body experiences nerves as part of its inbuilt fight or flight response. Depending on the immediacy, the perceived threat, and the importance you attach to the outcome, you’ll experience varying degrees of reaction.

So nervousness is not an all or nothing response. Depending on what thoughts are floating around in your mind, certain signals are sent to your adrenal glands in the kidneys to produce adrenaline and set in motion a wave of biophysical responses. If you think the aeroplane you are about to board could crash, then the body will respond accordingly. But if you understand the chances of a crash occurring are extremely unlikely and you are completely calm, then the body will follow suit.

This goes to say nerves are a reactive response which can be influenced. One of the most effective ways to influence them and reduce their presence is to increase your knowledge and understanding around a subject. This can help rationalise thinking and steer you away from purely emotion-driven thoughts.

In the case of Laser Eye Surgery, the truth is patients have nothing to worry about. But here we are going to help manage the nerves that can come about by addressing some of those lingering questions that never fail to get the palms sweating. Here are three of the most common we hear from our patients:

Will it be painful?

Pain and lasers go together like C-3PO and R2-D2. Yet if the same laser used in Laser Eye Surgery was used in Star Wars, it would of been a whole different movie.

A simple way to distinguish the main types of lasers is through temperature. A ‘cold laser’ such as the Excimer works by producing light in the ultraviolet range. One pulse of ultraviolet light breaks down molecular bonds smaller than a quarter of a hundredth of the width of a human hair.

It’s a very light touch which may cause a brief sensation of pressure, but zero pain whatsoever. The only discomfort that may come is following the surgery when your eyes are recovering. This generally lasts up to 24 hours and is relieved by the artificial tears provided.

What are the chances of something going wrong?

Laser Eye Surgery is a very safe procedure. In fact, there’s only a 0.1% chance of any minor visual complication arising, and even then an expert surgeon with the best technology can fix most of them. To put that into perspective, Laser Eye Surgery is actually considered to be safer than wearing contact lenses.

Is there a chance I could go blind?

Essentially, no. Technically there is an exceedingly small risk of blindness with laser eye surgery but it is lower than the risk of wearing monthly contact lenses for one year, so a risk that everyone seems to accept as perfectly reasonable.

What if my eyes move during the procedure?

This one can be of real concern to the twitchers and panic-prone individuals who are convinced they’re going to move and mess up the procedure.

The reality is you can move, blink, cough, or sneeze during the procedure, without the slightest of influence on its outcome. An expert surgeon using the latest equipment, will be equipped with eye-tracking technology and their experience to ensure eye movements do not affect the result.

Those of us who suffer from nerves have a tendency to always picture the worst possible outcome. And when it comes to our eye sight—one of our most valuable assets—this is certainly understandable. Thankfully we can help quieten any pre-operative nerves and irrational thoughts by providing the knowledge, data, and testimonials you need to get to grips with Laser Eye Surgery and start looking forward to what will be a truly life changing experience.

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

For 2017, we have updated this article to ‘Quick guide: Laser Eye Surgery and anxiety’