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As laser eye surgery continues to increase in popularity, we look at 12 of the most common myths that continue to surround the procedure in order to separate the fiction from the fact. Over 95% of patients are suitable for a refractive procedure, however many believe that due to a myth they have heard from someone along the way, the procedure is not suitable for them. Outlined here is a list of common mis-understood and mis-represented myths and questions that have long been associated with laser eye surgery.

1. Is laser eye surgery painful?

The procedure itself is relatively painless. A patient may only feel a little discomfort as the eye is kept open throughout the 1-2 minute procedure. A small number of patients complain of itchy and irritable eyes in the first few days following surgery. This doesn’t affect everyone and for the majority is certainly not considered painful.

2. What are the risks?

Over 20 million people worldwide have undergone laser eye surgery with only a minority experiencing complications. The vast majority of these complications can be managed by ongoing clinical care. The biggest risk from laser eye surgery is infection, however the chances of infection from contact lenses is about 10 times higher. If you are in good health and have a stable prescription, it is one of the safest elective surgeries available.

3. Is the treatment permanent?

Yes, the effectiveness does not wear off, contrary to what some people believe. For the vast majority of patients the results are permanent and are intended to be permanent. If you have a very high prescription, follow-up treatment may be required. This is due to eyesight levels changing naturally over time, which would happen if you did or did not have the surgery.

4. How much does laser eye surgery cost?

As technology and methods have improved, the costs involved for patients have come down considerably. It is worth considering the amount you spend on contact lenses and glasses and that laser eye surgery will eradicate this continued expenditure. At Optical Express prices start at just £595 per eye and we offer financing options, including 0% interest on payments.

5. Are the results instant?

Many believe it takes days for the results to fully take effect. This could not be more wrong, in fact results are evident within seconds of having the surgery. For some, it may take a bit longer, however the vast majority will instantly notice the difference and be able to go on with life as normal.

6. Am I too old for laser eye surgery?

There is no upper age limit for undergoing laser eye surgery. Many patients who are over the age of 35 feel they are just too old to have the procedure. In fact the contrary is true; around 98% of people over 35 who undergo laser eye surgery see an improvement in their eyesight. For those where laser eye surgery is not an appropriate treatment, it is worth remembering that alternative treatments are available to provide freedom from glasses and contact lenses such as natural lens replacement.

7. Could laser eye surgery make me blind?

With over 20 million people worldwide having undergone successful laser eye surgery the myth that you could lose your sight from the treatment is unsubstantiated. Diagnosis and treatment is taken very seriously in the laser eye industry. With experienced and professional surgeons, and advanced technology, becoming blind from laser eye surgery is an extremely improbable consequence.

8. What aftercare is available?

Aftercare is an important part of the patient journey and should be treated with importance. Optical Express offers an extensive and free aftercare programme. Patients who undergo the surgery should have a follow-up consultation at least three times in the year following laser eye surgery.

9. What happens if I move?

The laser itself is a cool beam laser, meaning that contact with the skin does not burn or scold. Laser eye technology is extremely advanced. The laser is fitted with an eye tracker that detects movement and will pause treatment until stability returns.

10. Is 20/20 vision impossible to achieve?

The myth that accomplishing 20/20 vision is impossible is a notion that no longer exists. Life with HD vision is achievable and is within reach for more people than ever before – thanks to the medical advances in technology. 20/20 vision is, in fact, normal for a lot of people. Over 99% of Optical Express patients achieve better than 20/20.

11. Do different treatments mean different service levels?

No! Despite common assumptions, there are no differing levels of service for treatment. Both LASIK and LASEK eye procedures use the same laser procedure and aims to deliver the same outcome – crystal clear vision. Your prescription level is the only determining factor behind which treatment you receive. Your Optical Express optometrist will explain the best options available to you at your free consultation.

12. Is there a long recovery time?

Laser technology has advanced so much over the last 20 years that results are instant for the vast majority of patients. Normally no more than a day or two days are required off work and driving is – in the majority of cases – possible after 24 hours.