What is laser eye surgery? Laser eye surgery is a medical procedure that offers an alternative for people who wear glasses or contact lenses. It is a commonly performed laser refractive surgery that corrects vision problems. The surgery involves reshaping the cornea (the dome-shaped clear tissue at the front of your eye). When a patient suffers from short sightedness or long sightedness, the image produced by the lens is not in the correct place, in front of or behind the retina. During laser eye surgery, a special type of cutting laser is used to remove and reshape the cornea, so that the image produced by the lens is in the correct position. When the cornea bends light incorrectly to the back of the eye, blurred vision occurs. This can cause myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), or astigmatism. Wearing glasses or contact lenses can correct these vision problems, but often people want a more permanent solution.
Does laser eye surgery hurt?
Patients often ask whether laser eye surgery hurts. The short answer is no. This is because anaesthetic drops are applied to the eye before the procedure and this has a numbing effect to ensure you feel no pain. Some patients report feeling a little bit of pressure during the procedure but no actual pain. Often people are concerned that laser eye surgery is a painful process because they believe a laser beam is red hot and could burn their eyes. However, quite the opposite is true, because the laser beam is actually cold.
So, what is laser eye surgery and how does it work?
To ensure the patient is comfortable during the surgery, anaesthetic drops are placed into the eye. A lid speculum is placed over the eye, so that the eye remains open during surgery. Once the patient is comfortable and ready to begin, a very small incision is made to the cornea, which is about a quarter of its depth. This incision is a small box shape with an oblong flap that that remains attached along the side. This flap remains open, while the laser is used to alter the shape of the cornea, based on the patient’s requirements. The laser pulses will be adjusted by the surgeon so that the correct amount of reshaping occurs. During this process, tiny parts of the cornea are vapourised as the laser pulses meet the tissues of the cornea. Once this is finished, the flap is put back in placed and it adjusts to the new shape of the patient’s cornea.
The laser surgery itself lasts less than one-minute and from entering the surgery to completion of both eyes your procedure will likely last no more than twenty minutes. It is common for patients to experience an itchy sensation after receiving laser eye surgery, and in very few cases, a burning sensation in the eyes, but this will not last. The level of discomfort you experience depends upon the type of laser eye surgery you’ve undergone, which in turn depends upon the eye condition being treated. However, any discomfort will not last more than a day or two and you should be enjoying improved vision very quickly. All of this should be clearly explained to you by your surgeon before you come to the clinic for your laser eye surgery so that you feel as relaxed and informed on the day.
What does laser eye surgery aftercare involve?
Aftercare for laser eye surgery is just as important as the surgery itself. Following the recommended aftercare plan will ensure you get the best results. Your surgeon will give you a personalised aftercare plan and will be available for any questions that you may have over the healing period. Generally you will have six or seven consultations after your laser eye surgery. The first post-op consultation will be the day after your surgery. There will be another consultation a week later, then a month later, three months later and finally six months later. This will depend on the treatment you received and the results of your surgery. Attending the aftercare appointments recommended by your surgeon is very important. Retreatment is required for around one in twenty patients and is normal for even the very best laser eye surgery clinics.
Is laser eye surgery safe?
Laser eye surgery is an extremely safe procedure. It is estimated that over 40 million people have had laser eye surgery worldwide. All patients must undergo an extensive eye examination which will ensure that they are suitable for laser eye surgery. This prior examination which can last up to 2-hours is vital, as are the essential aftercare sessions you will be booked in for after the surgery itself. It is important that the initial eye exam is carried out by an ophthalmic surgeon, as well as the surgery itself.
There are risks associated with laser eye surgery. These are different for each patient, as there are certain health conditions that can increase the risks associated with laser eye surgery or make the outcome less predictable. You may not be a suitable candidate for laser eye surgery if you have any of the following conditions:
Recent changes in vision. These changes can be caused by medications, pregnancy or aging.
Autoimmune diseases, for example rheumatoid arthritis
A weak immune system. This can be caused by certain medications.
Inflammation of the cornea, eye injuries or diseases. These include glaucoma or cataracts.
These will be all taken into consideration at your initial eye exam. If you have one or more of these conditions, you may still be suitable for laser eye surgery. The surgeon will determine your suitability for laser eye surgery, and therefore diminish the risks associated with having laser eye surgery.
We are here to answer all your questions
If you are unsure about the procedure or have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us by calling now on 01-280 9248.
We also offer a complimentary video or phone consultation with Mr Fenton, our senior lasik eye surgeon. During this consultation you can ask him any questions you may have, about suitability, risks, outcomes, or discuss any concerns you may have about laser eye surgery.
Fill in the form on the footer of this page and we will call you back to arrange a convenient time or use our Self-Service Booking System to schedule your complimentary consultation.