10 things you should know before having laser vision correction surgery

Laser Vision Correction can be a life-changing procedure…

  1. Are you suitable? Sounds obvious, but the most important decisions are made before surgery happens. Not everyone is suited to laser vision correction, and there may be procedures that will give you a better result ( such as an implantable contact lens or lens replacement procedure)
  2. Do you have any corneal problems that may be a problem with healing after laser vision correction? Any abnormality of the cornea is considered a relative contraindication and needs to be fully evaluated before a decision is made to proceed with laser surgery. Procedures that avoid the corneal – such as an implantable contact lens – avoid this problem.
  3. Dry eye is a potential problem that may result in a less predictable vision outcome and can make healing slower. If you have dry eye, it needs to be managed before surgery. It is important to know that laser vision surgery commonly causes dry eye in at least 30% of patients that will need treatment after surgery. Fortunately, there are several therapies we can use to treat dry eye.
  4.  Healing and return to normal vision depends on the procedure used, and whilst most patients will see well enough to drive without glasses the day after surgery, it can take longer. Implantable Contact lens surgery heals quickly as there is not much healing to happen. PRK will take a week or more to heal as the surface layer of the eye needs to heal before vision returns.
  5. Other eye problems are not fixed by laser vision correction. Vision correction surgery will reset the focusing of the eye, but it does not restore the eye to perfection. Ageing of the eye causes many changes in vision; loss of close vision ( presbyopia), lens changes (cataract), blemishes and sun damage. After laser vision correction, the eye will continue to age, and pretty much everyone will come to need reading glasses unless a further procedure is performed.
  6. Diseases of the eye are not prevented by laser vision correction. You will still need regular eye examinations to check for glaucoma, macular degeneration and cataract as you get older.
  7. Cataract is a common eye condition as we get older, and whilst not caused by laser vision correction, many laser patients will come to have cataract surgery. However, after laser vision correction, cataract surgery is not a problem, and with proper attention to the details, excellent vision is the norm.
  8.  Retreatment is possible. Sometimes despite successful surgery, the eye will heal in an unexpected way, and retreatment is needed. Retreatment is a safe and successful intervention as long as there is not some underlying eye problem.
  9. Floaters in the vision can be an annoying symptom that occurs after laser vision surgery. The laser surgery has not caused the floaters but can be associated with their appearance. They rarely need treatment, and ironically laser is a treatment for eye floaters!
  10. More than 95% of patients having laser vision correction will see without glasses. This is because the laser has been around for a long time, more than 30 years, and it works. Myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism are all correctable; following successful surgery, you will have a fast, painless procedure that heals overnight.

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