The most common fears of Laser Eye Surgery

As humans, there are certain basic fears we’re born with. Things like being separated or rejected from a group and suffering a loss of autonomy that leaves us unable to take care of ourselves.

As a function of these basic fears, we’re biologically wired to prevent anything happening to us that may in any way lead to one or more of them playing out. It’s why we don’t like heights, climbing into small spaces, going underwater, or being alone for too long.

It’s also why we don’t like anything coming near or touching our eyes. Even the thought of it is enough to make people shudder and squirm. In this somewhat scary but revealing guide, we’ll be facing such common fears that relate to Laser Eye Surgery and, unfortunately, stops many people from ever enjoying the many benefits it has to offer.

1. Fear of anything touching your eyes

As you can imagine, this biological response is incredibly useful when presented with threats and in situations that could be damaging to your sight. However, like many of our basic fears today, it has also become maladaptive — not least in preventing people from having a perfectly safe and effective treatment that can improve their vision.

But if it’s ingrained in our biology, what can we do about it? Well, we can start by realising that our eyes are actually much stronger than we think. Not only is the cornea the fastest healing tissue in the body, but the eye has various protective barriers that have evolved over millennia to deal with foreign objects such as dust, pollen, and diesel fumes that it comes into contact with on a daily basis.

Although to an extent it serves a purpose, in this way, the fear of anything touching your eyes is ignorant of all the hard work they do on a daily basis and potentially prevents you from changing your life.

2. Fear of blindness

There’s a bias we have that means no matter how much we say we understand and even see something happening around us, when it comes to our own personal experience, our ideas about it can be completely the contrary.

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.

Realistically, when performed at a high-quality Laser Eye Surgery clinic, there’s little to no chance of going blind as a result of the treatment. But as we said, sometimes all the data and evidence in the world can do nothing to set your mind at ease.

One thing that can help bring you around to rationality is learning more about the treatment. For instance, many patients are amazed at the thoroughness of their initial screening (around three and a half hours) and the level of detail in which it maps their eyes. We have such a high level of screening as when a treatment is tailored to best suit your needs, the risk of anything going wrong during the actual procedure is dramatically reduced to the point it barely even exists.

3. Fear of problems during surgery

No matter how effective and foolproof the systems and procedures, there can still be the doubt that there’s nothing stopping you from being the one who messes things up.

It’s only natural, it’s always those moments in which it is most important to sit still and be quiet that we want to move, cough, laugh, or jump in the air. And with Laser Eye Surgery, there’s the added worry about what will happen if you blink or sneeze or do something that could move your eyes in any way.

Fortunately, Laser Eye Surgery is not something that was built in isolation in some lab and designed for inanimate objects; it was designed by and with humans well and truly in mind. And so, from the skill of the surgeon to the technology that’s used, everything is specifically created to deal with movement and any potentiality that could arise.

Take eye-tracking technology. When performing the treatment, a camera photographs the eye about a thousand times per second, creating an image and matching that image up instantaneously to the actual position of the eye. As it operates at such a high rate, the system is aware of even the minutest change in the eye’s position. The result is the laser is only active when the eye is in the right place, and even if you are moving around at the same time, the treatment would work just as expected (although it would take a while longer to perform).

4. Fear of poor recovery

It’s unfortunate that the Laser Eye Surgery industry is currently lacking in standardised regulations. At least for the time being, it comes down to each individual clinic to uphold strict standards and put the appropriate measures in place.

This means the quality of treatments can vary across the market, and patients can worry that what may have happened in one clinic ten years ago could happen again today in another, different clinic.

One of the fears to come out of this difference is having a poor recovery — i.e. your vision not reaching its full potential due to dry eye or a lack of correction. However, this is based on the false idea that all Laser Eye Surgery clinics are the same. And what’s more, the chances of your eyes not recovering can be mitigated way before the procedure even happens, by undergoing a thorough and complete assessment.

As with any surgical procedure, there’s always a chance of risk. When having Laser Eye Surgery at a high-quality clinic with a rigorous screening process, though, that risk is almost immeasurably low.

Typically any problems that arise are rare and untroublesome, with patients too happy being free from contacts and glasses to notice. But any slight deviations in how your recovery should be going will be picked up during your aftercare appointment, and if your vision doesn’t reach the exact level it’s expected to, we offer a free enhancement as part of our service.

5. Fear of ridicule

Why would you pay more for something when you can get it for much less somewhere else? More specifically, why would you spend £5k+ on Laser Eye Surgery when you can go down the high street and get it for £995?

It’s a worthy question, and one that can’t be justified by the standard pitch of “just think what you’ll be able to do once you’re no longer hampered by specs/contacts”. It would only be right to be suspicious and consider if you’re getting ripped off, or taken advantage of.

In reality, this is only the impression of those who don’t yet know the industry. Harley Street is not only known as the gold standard of Laser Eye Surgery, it’s one of the world’s leading medical hubs. Surgeons and doctors from all over flock here to set up their clinics and practice, and as such, the quality of treatments, service, and care is literally second to none.

As Laser Eye Surgery is a treatment based on technology, a high level of care and expertise is especially important. It means only the most advanced and cutting-edge technology and procedures are used, from the thoroughness of the initial assessment to the precision of lasers used in treatments. It truly is a different world from the world of high street chains, and patients can usually see that from the very first moment they get in touch with us.

6. Fear of invasion of personal space

In our lives, it’s rare to be in a situation in which we’re in a room with a ‘stranger’ and hand over control of our bodies to them. And when it does happen, it’s typically because something has gone wrong — an examination by the doctor, seeing the dentist for a filing, etc.

Laser Eye Surgery puts you in a similar position, and you’re awake the whole time. But don’t be turned off just yet; other than the negative associations of seeing the dentist, our patients find there is little about the situation that makes them feel uneasy. In fact, the ‘up close and personal’ part, if you could even call it that, is often so quick it’s over before they have a chance to think about it.

Today, Laser Eye Surgery can be performed in less than ten minutes. That’s often less time it takes to get out of bed in the morning. And definitely quicker (and less uncomfortable) than a check-up at the dentist. It’s also made much shorter by the relaxation session, complete with massage and chocolates, beforehand, and the fact that you already know your surgeon and they keep talking throughout the whole thing.

Having Laser Eye Surgery is a big decision and a daunting prospect. But in reality, it’s a safe and incredibly well-designed medical treatment that has been performed now for years. Once people get over their initial fears, it often always goes way beyond peoples expectations and leaves them seriously wondering why they didn’t have it sooner.