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Some Facts And Myths About Laser Eye Surgery… And Newspapers

Under the grabbing headline “Will a sneeze wreck my Laser Eye Surgery?” Prof Reinstein lays out some facts and the myths surrounding the procedure in the health pages of a major Sunday newspaper.

But the article – which appeared in the Mail on Sunday January 30th although eye catching was not exactly the same as the one that Prof Reinstein had been asked to submit.

Space constraints and editorial policies frequently mean that newspapers don’t always publish what their contributors and protagonists might expect … and that is a fact.

Below is the original previously agreed piece by Prof Dan Z Reinstein, MD MA(Cantab) FRCS(C) FRCOphth:

At the London Vision Clinic I try to help my patients relax and cope with the anxiety before they have Laser Eye Surgery -some chocolate perhaps?  And an Indian head massage? Sure, both are scientifically proven to ease anxiety!

But over the years – and I’ve done more than 18,500 procedures – so many of my patients have brought unfounded fears about Laser Eye Surgery that I wanted to set the record straight.


Laser Eye Surgery should cost at the least £4,000 – it has to cost that for all the right checks and best technology to be there – some may accuse us of overkill on these, but for me the level of compromise I allow for on safety is ZERO.

It takes approximately three minutes to treat each eye.

It does not matter if you move, blink, sneeze or cough during the procedure. A well-trained surgeon, in conjunction with eye tracking technology, ensures that eye movements do not affect the result.

This laser is UV light – one pulse removes a quarter of a hundredth of a width of a human hair. It’s a very light touch.

You can have it if over 65. Anybody can have Laser Eye Surgery as long as they are 18 or older – my oldest patient was a 92 years old who had LASIK after cataract surgery.

It can correct reading vision in ageing eyes (presbyopia). PRESBYOND® Laser Blended Vision is the way of correcting reading vision – much better and safer than intraocular lenses.

Astigmatism and long sight can be corrected.

Depending on your prescription – and the higher it is the greater the difference after surgery – most patients will be able to see fairly well by the evening of the day of the procedure. They will be able to see very well the next day – but this will fluctuate a little during the first month.

Most patients can return to work – and legally drive themselves – the next day.

The main side effect is dry eye – most patients get it and it varies as to how long it takes to settle – a few weeks to a few months, but rarely more than that and if it does there’s usually another underlying condition that needs treating.

There is about a 0.1% chance of a minor visual complication – and an expert surgeon can fix most of these.

Do your research on your surgeon. Their supervised training experience (and who trained them) is critical, not just how many procedures they’ve done. They should have carried out at least 100 procedures under direct supervision.

The practice should provide long-term post operative care – and force patients back whether they are seeing like eagles or not – many do not follow-up on happy patients.

As of 2005 NICE’s research determined that there were no concerns about the long-term safety of Laser Eye Surgery. (Most academic surgeons knew this many years before.)


The laser is hot – no: the laser process is cold.

The smell is your eye burning – no: it is pure carbon atoms generated by the laser.

It hurts – no: you barely feel a thing – there is NO pain.

It is not permanent – no: the changes made by the laser are permanent. Your vision may change ever so slightly over the years as it always does because the eye is made of living tissue, but the amazing thing is that any of these minor shifts can be adjusted easily and safely with a touch-up procedure.

If you get a cataract later in life you can’t have cataract surgery: no – you can have cataract surgery after Laser Eye Surgery and vice-versa

Knowledge Dispels Fear

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Some Facts And Myths About Laser Eye Surgery… And Newspapers

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  2. Mr. B trenchard 18/08/2013 at 12:22

    How long does laser eye surgery last?

    • London Vision Clinic 20/08/2013 at 12:33

      Hi Mr Trenchard. The treatment is permanent (corneal tissue doesn’t grow back) but, as we age, the lens inside the eye affects the close up vision, which may therefore deteriorate in later life, even after laser eye surgery. The extent and time-scale of this varies between individuals. However, many patients do not find this to be a significant problem. Furthermore, many patients are also suitable for an Enhancement (‘top up’) treatment, if this should be required at a time after the initial procedure. In order to answer this question more thoroughly, and give you some more accurate and individualised guidance, we would need to see you in person and examine your eyes. To speak to one of our Patient Care Coordinators, or to book an Initial Screeing and Opthalmic Exam, please do give us a call on 0207 224 1005.

  3. Tamara 18/05/2017 at 22:35

    Can you go blind after the laser eye surgery?

    • Bethany Kingsley 31/05/2017 at 14:48

      Hi Tamara,
      It is extraordinarily unlikely to cause blindness. Realistically, the chance of going blind from laser eye surgery in the hands of an expert surgeon using the best technology is almost too small to measure – probably in the region of 1 in 5 million, and probably less than the chances of going blind from a contact lens-related infection.
      London Vision Clinic

  4. Mrs J Messenger-Weeks 25/05/2017 at 20:07

    I have dry eyes and use drops and cleaning fuild morning and night . I am also a monthly contact lens wearer , In the pass two years ive had a ulcer twice in the same place on my right eye were an old scar from a branch of a tree scratched 15 years ago . I was Treated at hospital with drops for this and recovered to wear lens again within 2 months. I am short sighted with dry eyes is lazer an option . I have read it dry eyes can be made worse .

    • Bethany Kingsley 31/05/2017 at 14:45

      Thanks for your comment. You would need a full consultation to determine your suitability, but based on the information you have provided, I see no obvious contraindicator. Dry eye is a side effect from surgery and this will be discussed with you in detail before proceeding with surgery. If you have any further questions, I would recommend you call the clinic on 020 7224 1005 to discuss with our Patient Care Coordinators.
      London Vision Clinic

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