Despite the procedure being more than 25 years old, laser eye surgery is still regarded as a relatively new operation.
Because of this perception, and the fact that the treatment affects your vision, some people are dissuaded from refractive surgery.
While there are some cons of laser eye surgery, many patients find that the life-changing benefits far outweigh any potential drawbacks.
Here’s our list of the most common laser eye surgery pros and cons to help you decide if vision correction is right for you.
The Pros Of Laser Eye Surgery
Laser eye surgery can be a completely life-changing treatment, and there are many advantages to going ahead with the procedure.
Laser surgery is a safe procedure when performed by an expert surgeon on patients who are good candidates for treatment.
At Focus Clinic we only treat suitable patients and take a very risk-averse approach.
This ensures minimal complications and maximum effectiveness and has allowed Focus to achieve a 100% success rate for 20/20 vision for all common short-sighted prescriptions, including most cases of astigmatism.
With a specialist and expert surgeon in a non-commercial setting, laser eye surgery risks are actually rare, with vision-reducing complications occurring in 1 per 10,000 cases.
Further details on laser eye surgery risks can be found here.
Speed Of The Procedure
Your total treatment appointment will last around an hour and a half.
However, the procedure itself takes around 9-10 minutes for both eyes.
The lasers are only active for approximately 30 seconds per eye. It is a very quick day procedure with no hospital stay required.
Moving during the procedure will not affect the final outcome.
Learn more about our LASIK procedure and PRK / LASEK procedures.
You are given anaesthetic eye drops before your surgery which numb your eyes, and the procedure is considered painless.
You will feel a pressure for about 20 seconds while the femtosecond laser is used.
It will feel as if you are blinking normally during your surgery, even though the eye is held open for 4-5 minutes, due to the action of the anaesthetic. Just blink normally throughout.
After surgery, you may experience dry or gritty eyes temporarily during the first 4 hours after LASIK.
You are given numbing eye drops to take home with you, which can be applied every 30-60 minutes to soothe any irritation until the eyes become comfortable 4 hours post surgery.
Within approximately 4 hours of your LASIK, your eyes should be feeling normal again although with excellent vision.
Most patients can see better than 20/20 in 2-4 hours after having Focus Clinic’s exclusive A-LASIK procedure.
Although laser eye surgery is a relatively expensive procedure, we offer a range of finance solutions to help you spread the cost, including 0% interest options.
When you account for the cost of new glasses or contact lenses, LASEK/PRK and LASIK surgery will work out much cheaper than glasses or contact lenses over your lifetime.
Rapid Visual Recovery
When you opt to have LASIK eye surgery, the short-term impact on your life is minimal.
Most patients have improved vision immediately after surgery, and within 4 hours almost all of our patients have better than 20/20 vision.
You can be signed off as safe for driving as little as 24 hours after having LASIK surgery, and you’ll be able to live a completely normal life, with no restrictions, within a month.
For patients used to being fully dependent on glasses or contact lenses, freedom from those vision aids is most often described as life-changing.
Activities such as swimming are much less of an inconvenience.
Getting up in the morning without having to scramble around for your glasses, driving without squinting, and exercising without worrying about your glasses falling off are common examples of the freedom that LASIK or PRK provide.
We all live busy lives, so getting ready in the morning and going to bed without the hassle of contact lens application and removal will make a big difference.
All of these everyday activities that you have become used to when you’re wearing glasses or contact lenses are now no longer required. You’re given a new sense of freedom from the restrictions of poor sight.
If the above isn’t enough to make you consider laser eye surgery, you can be at ease knowing that here at Focus Clinic we offer a Lifetime Guarantee on all of our short-sighted procedures for correcting distance vision.
We’re proud of our fantastic 100% 20/20 vision results for typical prescriptions.
Your Lifetime Care Guarantee means you can return at any time if you have additional questions about the quality of your vision.
If you have distance vision correction for short-sight then any repeat laser eye treatments to correct a return of myopia in the first 10 years are included free of charge. (Terms and conditions apply, excludes any age-related changes and conditions unrelated to the primary treatment).
The Cons Of Laser Eye Surgery
Despite being the leading laser eye surgery in the UK, there are potential downsides and risks, as with any medical procedure.
Risk Of Complications
Complications of laser eye surgery are primarily related to suitability.
Well-selected candidates operated on by an expert surgeon in a low-volume setting, as is the case here at Focus, do well and with a very low risk of complications.
Make sure you choose your surgeon and vision correction clinic very carefully and place yourself in the best possible hands, and avoid overly commercial settings especially if you feel pressured to proceed.
We check a lot of factors, such as prescription stability, whether or not you have thin corneas or dry eyes, and make sure that patients have realistic expectations before they can proceed to treatment.
Your eyes may feel dry or itchy for the hours after your surgery.
You will be provided with eye drops to combat this, but it can be an uncomfortable feeling during that time.
However, for LASIK patients, your eyes should be feeling normal again within approximately 4 hours, and you’ll be able to enjoy completely clear vision.
The healing process for PRK or LASEK can take several days, and it’s likely you’ll need to take most of that time off of work to allow your eyes to recover.
The High Price
Laser eye surgery usually costs between £3,500 and £5,500, which can be a large outlay.
However, when compared with the average lifetime cost a person spends on glasses or contact lenses, laser eye surgery will often actually work out cheaper.
At Focus Clinic, we also offer a range of finance options to help you spread the cost, including 0% interest options.
Take a look at our laser eye surgery pricing options.
What Happens After The Laser Vision Correction Procedure?
The procedure takes approximately an hour – 50 minutes of setup and checks and 10 minutes for the actual surgery, plus 20-30 minutes of relaxing following treatment.
After you return home we recommend you spend the rest of the day resting and not taking part in any physical activities. This will mean you take the day or afternoon off work.
You will also need a check-up the following morning for LASIK.
PRK / LASEK has a much longer healing phase and you will need 4-7 days off work, and hence is much less popular than LASIK.
The Bottom Line
Not everyone is suitable for laser surgery but the vast majority of refractive errors can be treated with laser eye surgery.
Refractive surgery can be quite a daunting procedure for some people, mainly due to apprehension regarding their eyes and a lack of good information on the benefits and potential risks.
In short, laser eye surgery, both PRK / LASEK and LASIK procedures are typically life-changing when performed on well-selected, suitable candidates. Results for short-sight and astigmatism are expected to be permanent and highly stable over time.
LASIK for long-sightedness and reading vision is very effective though, as the conditions are age-related, and can need repeating some years later.
According to the Royal College of Ophthalmologists, over 95% of patients are satisfied with the outcome of surgery, with many describing it as life-changing!
The prospect of better vision and no more glasses or contact lenses is often enough to persuade potential patients to go ahead with the surgery, but, as with any medical procedure, there is a level of risk involved that some people deem too much.
However, it’s worth reiterating that laser eye surgery is incredibly safe, and the figures show that you’re 5 times more likely to suffer from vision problems as a result of wearing contact lenses than from having a laser eye treatment.
By looking at the pros and cons of laser eye surgery it is clear that it really is a procedure worth considering – and you won’t need to worry about losing your glasses and you won’t have to wear contact lenses anymore!
For more information on laser eye surgery, download our comprehensive information pack to laser eye surgery.