Laser eye surgery treatments are low-risk, painless and rapid. So what are we afraid of, wonders Zoe Strimpel

I can see clearly now – thanks to ten minutes with a laser surgeon

Tuesday, 23rd March 2010 (
ASK around, and you’ll suddenly find that everyone you know either knows someone who has just had laser eye surgery, or they’re about to have it done themselves. It’s like with pop star Lily Allen – she had a big online presence for ages, but nobody one knew had ever actually heard of her. Until suddenly overnight, we were all humming her tunes.
After 20 years of existence (a bit like Lily Allen), laser eye surgery is finally becoming the cool kid on the block, accepted by the in crowd, the out crowd, and pretty much everyone who would once have balked at such a procedure.
“A lot of adults remember growing up hearing it was all new and crazy. Now we’re getting people who have grown up hearing about it working out – and the results are improving all the time.”
Laser correction surgery reshapes the cornea so that it changes the focal point of the eye. Ideally, the focal point is changed so that it focuses perfectly on the retina, just like a normal eye. With short-sightedness, rays of light from a distant object are focused in front of the retina. This is either because the eye is too long or the cornea is too steeply curved and so has too much focusing power (or a combination of these factors). The laser flattens out the cornea, thus restoring perfect focus.
People fear blindness, infection, black spots, everlasting dryness, floaters, and the possibility that you will be back to square one 10 years down the line. It’s scary, tinkering with your eyes (the window to the soul, after all), so it’s no wonder we catastrophise the surgery.

The reality is quite different. David Gartry, ophthalmic consultant surgeon and refractive service director at Moorfields Eye Hospital, says: “It’s a great shame to be put off by risk – in terms of infection it’s safer than contact lenses. As for permanent damage to the vision that can’t be corrected – that is amazingly rare. Four per cent of patients have an extra procedure, simply because no surgeon anywhere can tell someone beforehand it’ll certainly succeed. I get a whole load of bankers, lawyers, actuaries and so forth in my Saturday clinic. By Sunday, their vision is better than driving standard – by Monday it’s 20/20.” John Hughes of Ultralase goes so far as to say: “No one has ever gone blind from undergoing laser eye surgery anywhere in the world.”

To find out if you too can enjoy better than 20/20 vision with Laser Eye Surgery, call us on 1800 DR EYES (1800 37 3937) to talk to one of our Patient Care Team now or Book Online for your FREE Laser Eye Surgery assessment today.