Is Laser Eye Surgery Safe?

27 November 2019

By Author: Amir Hamid

One of the most common questions patients ask is, how safe is laser eye treatment? As with other surgical procedures, laser eye surgery does carry small risks. Complications are rare in laser eye surgery, but if complications do occur, they are minor.

Your surgeon will be happy to discuss any concerns with you, and any complications will be carefully managed if they arise. In this article, we’ll go through the safety aspects of laser eye surgery…


Is Laser Eye Surgery Safe?

Laser eye surgery has become one of the safest and most popular eye surgeries worldwide, boasting a high success rate for correcting vision. The reasons for its widespread acceptance and safety record are multifaceted, including technological advancements, extensive research, and procedural improvements. Here’s a breakdown of why laser eye surgery is considered safe and effective:

1.    Technological Advancements: Modern laser eye surgery utilises state-of-the-art technology to map the eye’s surface with extreme precision. It allows for accurate cornea reshaping, which can correct vision problems such as myopia (near-sightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism. The precision of these lasers minimises the risk of complications and enhances the surgery’s effectiveness.

2.    High Success Rates: Thanks to modern technology and highly trained Optegra surgeons, the success rates of laser eye treatments like LASIKLASEK, and SMILE are incredibly high at our hospitals.

3.    Minimal Complications: While no surgical procedure is without risks, laser eye surgery has a low complication rate. Common side effects, such as dry eyes, are usually mild and resolve with time or with minimal treatment. More advanced therapies, such as SMILE laser eye surgery, have fewer reports of dry eye compared to LASEK or LASIK. Quick Recovery: One of the reasons for its popularity is the quick recovery time associated with laser eye surgery. Many patients report noticeable improvements in their vision immediately after the procedure—most return to their normal activities within a day or two, with some precautions to aid healing.

4.    Extensive Pre-Surgical Evaluation: Safety is also ensured through comprehensive pre-surgical evaluations. Candidates for laser eye surgery undergo thorough eye examinations to determine their suitability. Factors such as corneal thickness, eye health, and refractive stability are assessed to minimise risks and ensure the best outcomes.

5.    Improvements in Procedure: The procedure has seen numerous improvements over the years. Techniques have evolved to reduce the risk of post-surgical complications and enhance the accuracy of the corrections.

6.    Customised Treatments: Modern laser eye surgeries are highly customised to the individual’s specific vision needs and the unique characteristics of their eyes. This personalised approach maximizes the procedure’s effectiveness and contributes to its overall safety and success.


Laser eye surgery microscope

Laser Eye Surgery: The Facts

Depending on the type of laser eye treatment you have, surgery usually takes around fifteen minutes for each eye, with seconds under the laser itself. 


Everything you need to know about laser eye treatment risks

 Safety first; before we talk about the minimal risks associated with laser eye surgery, we’d like to demonstrate how safe a procedure it is – with some facts and figures:

 Laser eye treatment is not new; ophthalmic surgeons have been performing laser eye surgery – on patients worldwide for over 33 years. Huge advancements in treatments and technology have occurred during that time.

 More than 35 million laser eye treatments have been performed – worldwide since 1983

And there has not been one single case of permanent blindness reported as a result of laser eye treatment.


At Optegra, 99% of patients undergoing laser eye surgery have zero reported operative complications


Laser Eye Surgery Can Correct the Eye Conditions and Remove the Need for Glasses

Laser eye surgery, such as LASIK, LASEK, SMILE, and PRESBYOND, correct vision by reshaping the cornea, the eye’s clear front surface, to ensure light entering the eye is focused precisely on the retina, thus eliminating refractive errors like myopia (near-sightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism and the ageing eye Presbyopia.

 Using highly precise lasers, surgeons can make minute adjustments to the cornea’s curvature, allowing for a customized correction based on the individual’s specific vision needs. This precision enables the correction of the underlying issues causing vision impairment, often removing the patient’s dependence on corrective lenses such as glasses or contact lenses.

 The treatment also effectively treats a range of eye conditions, including myopia (near-sightedness), astigmatism, and hyperopia (long-sightedness), by precisely reshaping the cornea to correct how light is focused onto the retina. In the case of myopia, the laser flattens the cornea to correct the over-curvature that causes distant objects to appear blurry. For astigmatism, the surgery aims to smooth an irregular cornea into a more symmetrical shape, improving the eye’s ability to focus light accurately.

In treating hyperopia, the laser steepens the cornea to enhance the eye’s focusing power on near objects. This process of corneal reshaping addresses the root cause of these refractive errors, thereby improving vision clarity and, in many cases, allowing individuals to significantly reduce or eliminate their dependence on glasses or contact lenses. 


Are There Any Risks with Laser Eye Surgery?

As with any surgery, there will always be some small element of risk to consider. However, at our five-star eye hospitals, these are mitigated by excellent surgeons, facilities, and aftercare.

Below are some temporary side effects you need to be aware of to help you make an informed decision about having laser eye treatment:

 Night Vision

During the early stages of the healing process – following your laser eye treatment – it is expected to experience light sensitivity – particularly after dark. Your consultant will discuss the precautions you will need to take at night during this period with you during your initial consultation.

 Dry Eyes

Dry eyes are a common effect. Shortly after laser eye surgery, your surgeon will provide you with ocular lubricants for this after the surgery. More advanced treatments, such as SMILE laser eye surgery, have fewer reports of dry eye compared to LASEK or LASIK.


 Minimising the Risks of Laser Eye Surgery

Patients can minimise the risks associated with laser eye surgery by closely adhering to pre-surgery instructions and engaging in thorough discussions about their medical history and lifestyle habits with their eye surgeon. 

Additionally, avoiding alcohol consumption immediately or the day before the procedure is advisable, as alcohol can dehydrate the body, potentially affecting the healing process. 

Ensuring optimal health before the surgery, including maintaining a healthy lifestyle and following the surgeon’s specific pre-operative instructions, such as not wearing contact lenses in the days before surgery, can significantly contribute to minimizing risks and enhancing the surgery’s success. 

Selecting a reputable and experienced surgeon and clinic that uses the latest technology and follows stringent safety protocols is crucial in achieving the best possible outcome.


Thinking About Laser Eye Surgery? Arrange a Free Consultation

If you’re considering laser eye surgery, a free virtual consultation with one of our experts can help advise suitability and treatments best suited for your lifestyle.


Amir Hamid Headshot

By Author: Amir Hamid

Mr. Amir Hamid is a Clinical Lead for Vision Correction and an expert refractive surgeon, based in London.

Medically Reviewed Date: 23rd February 2024


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