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Are There Any Side Effects of Laser Eye Surgery?

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It’s normal to be a little apprehensive when it comes to surgery. Of any kind. We understand. But when it comes to your eyes, in particular, lots of people are wary about side effects.

There are some side effects associated with laser eye surgery, but with our help they can be easy to manage so you’re back to normal and enjoying perfect vision in no time. Here are some of the side effects you could experience after laser eye surgery.

Common Laser Eye Surgery Side Effects

Every patient can have a different experience, but here are some of the potential side effects of laser eye surgery:

  • Dry eyes
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Halos, glare and starbursts
  • Infection
  • Discomfort

Dry Eyes

The most common side effect that’s reported by patients is persistent dry eyes following the surgery. This can sometimes last up to six months after your procedure as your eyes continue to heal. Eye drops can help to manage dry eyes until they’ve fully healed and are back to normal.

Sensitivity to Light

This is a side effect that only a small number of patients experience when treated with the Intralase femtosecond laser during corneal flap creation. It is known as Transient Light Sensitivity (TLS) and can persist for several weeks. Steroids drops and tablets may be needed to resolve TLS.

At Focus Clinic, we have never observed TLS from the Ziemer femtosecond laser, due to its low pulse energy.

Want To Find Out If You’re Suitable?

If you’re wondering whether laser eye treatment is the right choice for you, there are some key things to consider…

Halos, Glare and Starbursts

Halos, glare and starbursts are symptoms of difficulties with night vision.

A halo is where rings appear around light sources, whereas glare is a diffuse glow or spread of light when looking at car headlights, for example. Starbursts are rays of light radiating out from a point light source, such as headlights or street lamps.

Patients will sometimes see them during the healing process as your eyes adjust. After a few weeks or months, you’ll stop seeing them as your eyes have now completely stabilised. Long-term night vision issues are linked to the size of the internal treatment, e.g. correction of high myopia, over -6.00 dioptres.


On incredibly rare occasions, an infection can occur.

“The risk of infection after modern femtosecond LASIK is around one in 20,000 procedures.”

The most common source of the bacteria causing an infection is from the patient’s own skin. Signs of infection are usually present by the day after surgery and will be picked up at your next-day checkup appointment.

Although this is very rare, make sure to choose a clinic that has very low infection rates.


Immediately after your surgery, you might experience some slight pain and mild discomfort. You will be given some local anaesthetic drops to use during the first few hours. Most pain or discomfort settles around four to six hours after surgery.

Many people put off laser eye surgery because they imagine painful injections. This is a common misconception. In fact, an anaesthetic gel is used not needles.

By following the advice and instructions of your laser eye surgeon, you’ll reduce the chance of side effects and be easily able to manage any that do develop. If you do experience anything you aren’t comfortable with, get in touch with your eye surgeon and they’ll be able to help.

Always choose a clinic where you are given your surgeon’s mobile phone number to call, just in case you need help or advice out of hours.

So, Why Have Laser Eye Correction?

Only a small number of patients experience any kind of negative side effects, like the ones listed above. The satisfaction of modern LASIK is now over 98 percent. Even if you do notice side effects, with specialist aftercare, you’re able to manage them whilst your eyes heal.

Don’t let these side effects put you off the idea of laser eye correction and if you have any concerns regarding the surgery, make sure to speak to an experienced specialist who can put your mind at ease.

Relying on glasses or contact lenses to drive, read or just to see your hands in front of your face is the worst. Laser eye surgery gives you the freedom to see and experience the world around you in perfect clarity.

The treatment is quick and simple so you’re able to walk away just a couple of hours after arriving, perfect for fitting around your busy work schedule. You won’t need stitches or bandages and once your eyes have adapted to the surgery, you’ll see a dramatic reduction in the need for glasses or contact lenses, even within an hour of treatment for most patients.

Another common misconception is that the process is an expensive one that’s only for those able to afford it.

In fact, the surgery isn’t outlandishly expensive, especially when you think about just how much money you need to spend on new glasses, contact lenses and prescription sunglasses over the years.

When looking for a clinic to provide your surgery, look out for practices that hide their costs. Many entice you with low advertised fees, but then charge you for aftercare further down the line. Find a clinic that’s upfront about their costs.

You don’t want to be stung with financial consequences such as unexpected consultation fees and extra charges for necessary eye drops following the surgery.

Reduce the Chance of Side Effects with the Best Care

An easy way to minimise the chance of experiencing side effects is by choosing the very best laser eye surgery clinic to carry out your procedure. By carrying out a little research, you can find the best-rated clinic in the UK and read reviews from previous patients.

If, whilst reading reviews, you realise that there’s a common theme of dry eyes or infection, you know that this isn’t the clinic for you. Instead, find a practice that has a high success rate as you know the surgeons working there are the very best.

If you’re considering laser eye surgery and you’d like to know more about the procedure itself, side effects, costs and aftercare, download our pack today.

Focus Clinic’s Laser Eye Surgery Information Pack is able to answer any questions you might have about laser eye corrections. Use the link below to download your free copy.

About the Author

Mr David Allamby is the founder and medical director of Focus Clinic - the leading provider of laser eye surgery in London. Focus’ commitment is to be the #1 clinic for vision outcome results with 100% of patients achieving 20/20 vision or even better. He is one of a limited number of UK surgeons who work in laser refractive surgery full-time.


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