Laser eye surgery is the most common form of lifestyle surgery that adults choose to have in the developed world. There have been tens of millions of procedures carried out worldwide.
The first laser eye surgery on a human was carried out in the late 80s and since then the technology has improved to a point whereby now it has matured. There have been over 6000 peer-reviewed scientific papers on LASIK alone and more on the other, less commonly performed, variants of laser eye surgery.
There are now over 30 years of clinical data on the long term results, stability and safety data for laser eye surgery. The results of laser eye surgery are permanent, which means for the majority of patients only one operation is ever required for vision correction in their lifetime. However, a minority of patients, particularly those with high prescriptions, may require an enhancement or top-up procedure within a year or two of the main procedure.
With age, it’s possible for the natural lens in the eyes to change and, rarely, for the length of the eyes to increase. For this reason, although not common, occasionally patients will come back after several years with a change in their prescription and if this occurs an enhancement can be carried out.
For younger patients, once they reach their late 40s or early 50s, reading glasses will be required and in such cases, we can carry out laser blended vision using a modified presbymax, which we have pioneered at Ophthalmic Consultants of London.
The chances of the vision being made permanently worse by laser eye surgery are exceptionally low and in fact, for most, it is safer to have laser eye surgery than to wear contact lenses regularly. The reason for this is that contact lenses can be associated with infections, some of which can be dangerous and very difficult to treat. For this reason, most surgeons who carry out laser eye surgery have had the procedure done themselves and or had their relatives treated by laser eye surgery.
One of our OCL laser eye surgeons answering the question as to whether laser eye works.
The laser eye surgery success rate varies according to the skill of the surgeon and also the technology being used.
One comprehensive review article looking at over 67,000 eyes treated in 97 scientific articles found a satisfaction rate of 98.8% which is exceptionally high for an elective surgical procedure and highlights why laser eye surgery remains one of the most popular operations.
Laser eye surgery has been thoroughly evaluated according to several measures of success including safety, efficacy and accuracy. In the last few years, a study known as the PROWL study (standing for patient-reported outcomes with LASIK) looked at 990 eyes having LASIK in both a civilian and military population. The results showed once again, very high satisfaction levels and also a reduction in dry eye and glare symptoms comparing symptoms before surgery (when patients relied on glasses and contact lenses) to after when they were glasses and contact lens free.
At Ophthalmic Consultants of London, we routinely analyse all of our results. We have shown that for myopic (near-sighted) prescriptions with or without astigmatism, 100% of our patients will achieve better than 20/20 vision. This means that patients see better without glasses after laser eye surgery than what is considered to be normal vision.
Almost 90% of our patients see 20/10 which is the limit of human vision and most of these patients enjoy better vision afterwards than they ever were able to see prior to surgery (20/10 means that these patients can see at 20 feet what a normal person needs to be 10 feet away in order to be able to see).
Our optometrist Purvi Thomson providing information on Ophthalmic Consultant of London’s laser eye success rate.