The Potential Risks and Complications of Laser Eye Surgery

We’re used to answering questions here at London Vision Clinic, whether it relates to the technology we use or the treatments we offer. But some of the most common questions we’re asked relate to the risks and possible complications of Laser Eye Surgery.

This isn’t surprising. Think about it, when you hear about your lasers being pointed into your eyes, it’s likely that you will experience an involuntary shudder at the very least. Pair that with tabloid stories about nightmare treatments and high street clinic “deals” and it’s clear to see why many people are a little wary about Laser Eye Surgery.

The good news is, when it is performed by an expert surgeon using the best technology, Laser Eye Surgery is, in fact, one of the safest elective procedures in the world.

But that isn’t to say there are no risks whatsoever – no surgery can promise that! That’s why, in this article, we’re walking you through all the risks and complications that can possibly occur during and after a Laser Eye Surgery procedure. After all, nothing dispels fear like knowledge!

Risk is All Relative

The first thing to note is that the risk of experiencing complications varies from patient to patient. Everything from the health of your eyes and the thickness of your corneas to the severity of your prescription can make the chance of complications higher or lower.

But don’t worry, your specific case will be discussed with you in detail prior to your treatment. Our rigorous screening and consultation process allows us to identify factors which may increase your risk of complications during or after Laser Eye Surgery. This allows your expert surgeon to create a bespoke treatment plan designed to minimise any risks and recommend the best treatment option for you.

What are the side effects of Laser Eye Surgery?

There are two common long-term negative side effects of Laser Eye Surgery: Dry eyes and night vision disturbances.

Dry eyes affect most Laser Eye Surgery patients in the days following the procedure. This can be irritating but eye drops prescribed by the clinic should help to alleviate any major discomfort. This side effect usually subsides in a matter of weeks; however, in rare cases, dry eyes can persist for much longer periods.

There is not usually any concern regarding dry eyes unless they persist for more than six months post-surgery. Of course, this is an extremely rare occurrence and your surgeon will be on hand to discuss any further treatment options with you.

Night Vision Disturbances such as halos and starbursts around light sources are another common side effect immediately after the procedure. These are caused by swelling in the cornea – a completely normal part of your eye’s healing process – and usually clear up within a few weeks.

The Risk of Complications

According to the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE), a median of 0.5% (0-20.5%) of eyes treated with PRK, 0% (0-8.2%) of eyes treated with LASEK, and 0.6% (0-3%) of eyes treated with LASIK lost visual acuity (the loss of the ability to read two lines on an eye test chart with best glasses corrected vision).

However, as Professor Dan Reinstein explains in the video below, the risk of complications can vary a lot depending on who is performing the procedure.

Youtube video link

In the hands of an expert surgeon (such as the world-renowned surgeons at London Vision Clinic), the chance of something going noticeably wrong is around 1 in 1,000.

Furthermore, the chance of an expert surgeon being faced with a situation where they could not satisfactorily correct said problem is even rarer (closer to 1 in 30,000).

Still, no matter how low the risk may be, we believe that every patient should be fully aware of the potential complications that can occur with Laser Eye Surgery. That’s why we strive to inform each and every patient about every aspect of their treatment.

Our rigorous screening and consultation process and pre-treatment appointments offer the perfect opportunity for our patients to ask any questions and voice any concerns they may have about the procedure.

If you would like to learn more about the possible risks and complications associated with Laser Eye Surgery, don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of our friendly clinic coordinators. Ready to start your journey to better vision? Book a no-obligation consultation today.