Some Facts and Myths about Laser Eye Surgery According to Prof. Reinstein
Back in 2011, our founder and Laser Eye Surgeon Professor Dan Reinstein was asked to write an article for the Mail on Sunday to help set the record straight on Laser Eye Surgery. But while the headline (‘Will a sneeze wreck my laser eye surgery?‘) may have caught the readers’ attention, the published and edited article didn’t quite cover all the cases.
Of course, space constraints and editorial policies are in place for a reason. But we thought we’d put together an updated version of Professor Reinstein‘s original article – to bust some common myths and lay out some solid facts about Laser Eye Surgery today.
As Prof. Reinstein wrote in his original article for the Mail on Sunday:
“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.”
So let’s do just that!
Facts you should know about Laser Eye Surgery
Let’s start with the fact that inspired the Mail’s headline way back when: It does not matter if you move, blink, sneeze or cough during the procedure.
That’s right. It doesn’t matter how much you move during your Laser Eye Surgery procedure. You can have a sneezing fit, fall asleep, and even fall off the bed – none of these events would affect your outcome.
This is thanks to our eye-tracking technology – a clever bit of kit that can take as many as 500-1000 photographs of your eye per second! From these photos, it is able to determine whether your eye is in the right position for laser treatment. If not, the technology instantaneously compensates for any movements.
It takes approximately three minutes to treat each eye: The prospect of having surgery on your eyes can no doubt be scary – regardless of how safe it is. So, many patients are glad to realise that the procedure is over in just a matter of minutes. In fact, in many cases, your vision will have been corrected in about the same time as it would take you to make a cup of tea!
The laser uses UV light: The ultra-precise laser technology used in Laser Eye Surgery harnesses UV light to make the lightest of touches on tissue. One pulse of the laser removes a quarter of a hundredth of the width of a human hair!
There is no upper age limit to Laser Eye Surgery: Many patients may worry that being above a certain age may rule them out of having Laser Eye Surgery. This is not true! Anybody can have Laser Eye Surgery, as long as they are 18 or older.
As Prof. Reinstein notes: “My oldest patient was 92 years old and had LASIK after Cataract Surgery.”
Laser Eye Surgery can correct reading vision in ageing eyes (presbyopia): Losing our near vision can be a struggle as we get older, but Laser Eye Surgery offers a solution that can help you to throw out those reading glasses once and for all. PRESBYOND® Laser Blended Vision (developed by our very own Professor Reinstein) corrects reading vision in a unique and innovative way – a much better and safer option than intraocular lenses (IOLs).
We can correct astigmatism and long-sightedness: When Laser Eye Surgery was first developed, treatment was initially focused on myopia (short-sightedness). However, today, the procedure can be used to correct extremely high prescriptions across a wide range of refractive errors.
Most patients can be back at work the very next day: While recovery times can vary – for example, by the severity of prescriptions – most patients have recovered adequate vision to attend work – and even to drive! – on the day after their procedure.
Most patients will experience dry eyes after Laser Eye Surgery: This is the most common side effect of the procedure and most patients will experience it to some extent. This usually settles within a few weeks to a few months. During this time, you will be provided with lubricating eye drops that should soothe any discomfort.
If dry eyes persist for more than a few months, there may be an underlying condition that requires treatment.
There is about a 0.1% chance of a minor visual complication: The chance of experiencing a visual complication is extremely rare – about 1 in 1,000. What’s more, your surgeon will likely be able to fix the problem straight away.
And finally, the one that most providers don’t seem to want to admit: Laser Eye Surgery should be expensive.
Having Laser Eye Surgery can set you back thousands of pounds – and with good reason.
The best clinics will conduct a comprehensive screening of each patient before confirming their suitability for treatment. This should involve a wide range of tests and a thorough eye exam to ensure every patient receives a tailored treatment plan specifically for their eyes and prescription.
And then there is the cost of Laser Eye Surgery technology, equipment maintenance and research. All of these factors not only help us to ensure the very best outcomes for every patient but also makes the procedure as safe as possible.
As Professor Reinstein concluded back in 2011, “Some may accuse us of overkill on these, but for me the level of compromise I allow for on safety is ZERO.”
Common Myths about Laser Eye Surgery
Now that we’ve covered some interesting facts about Laser Eye Surgery, let’s get to some myth-busting…
The laser is hot: Wrong. Lasers used in Laser Eye Surgery aren’t like the ones we see in James Bond films. The laser process is cold.
You can smell your eye burning: Again, wrong! As we said, the laser is not hot, so your eye will not be burnt. What you may be able to smell are the pure carbon atoms that are generated by the laser.
It’s painful: This is a big one – wrong! Laser Eye Surgery is not painful. Some patients report feeling pressure in their eyes but that’s about it!
The results aren’t permanent: Okay, I think you know what’s coming – wrong! The changes made to the eye during Laser Eye Surgery 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.
You won’t be able to have Cataract Surgery later in life: Let’s switch it up for this last one – incorrect! Having Laser Eye Surgery will not make you unsuitable for Cataract Surgery – and vice versa.
If you have any more questions about Laser Eye Surgery, don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of our friendly clinic coordinators – they’re always on hand to help! Alternatively, Book a Consultation today to start your journey to clear vision.