Is laser eye surgery safe?

Is laser eye surgery safe?

Common questions and fears

It’s normal to feel trepidation about undergoing any form of surgery – but arming yourself with the facts can help reduce your anxiety and provide reassurance. Here are some of the common fears and worries that people often have about laser eye surgery.

  • Could I go blind? It’s extremely unlikely. With LASIK surgery, the risk is negligible; there has never been a recorded case of total blindness. For a period of time following the procedure, your eyesight may be blurry, or you may experience glare or other visual symptoms while your eyes heal. These normally improve after a few weeks.
  • Will it hurt? Your eyes will be numbed with anaesthetic drops, so you won’t feel a thing during the procedure. Afterwards, you may feel some discomfort; dry eye is a common side-effect during the recovery period, but this can be treated with artificial tears.
  • What if I blink? You might be worried about the prospect of staying absolutely still during surgery. Won’t it ruin the results if you turn your head, move your eyes or blink? Luckily, a hi-tech pupil tracking device means that the laser can adapt to your eye position. If there is a sudden movement or a problem with your position, the laser will stop completely.

Eye close up

Possible complications

Laser-assisted vision correction only came into the mainstream in the 1990s. With such a new procedure, it’s understandable to worry about the safety of the surgery. But, with techniques and technology now advanced to minimise risk, it’s now considered one of the safest medical procedures of all. That said, like any surgical procedure, there is a small element of risk.

  • Infection is a possible side-effect of any surgery. However, because laser eye surgery is bladeless, the risk is minimal – in fact, you’re more likely to contract an eye infection from the use of contact lenses.
  • Dry eyes. It’s common to experience dry eyes following surgery. This usually clears up within weeks of the procedure.
  • Visual complications. Some people experience temporary issues with their vision in the days and weeks following laser eye surgery. This is completely normal and usually settles down when the eye has healed completely. In a small number of cases (less than 1% of our patients), if the cornea has not been reshaped correctly, patients may require a repeat procedure in order to correct vision.

Steps to maximise safety

As a patient, you may feel passive and helpless in terms of the risks. However, there are steps you can take to improve the likelihood of a safe procedure, free from complications.

  • Choose a skilled and experienced surgeon with a track record of excellent results. Check their statistics to see how many people have required repeat treatment following their initial procedure.
  • Do your bit to prepare for laser eye surgery by following any instructions given by your surgeon.
  • Take it easy during recovery; by avoiding swimming and showering in the early days you’ll reduce your risk of infection.

If you’re still concerned about whether laser eye surgery is safe for you, contact us here.

Doctors chating