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Debunking Common Misconceptions Surrounding Laser Eye Surgery

It’s the most commonly performed elective surgical procedure in the world, yet there is still confusion over many half-truths and complete mistruths about laser eye surgery. With so much false information and fiction around, we’ve answered the top 6 misconceptions about laser eye surgery.

‘Laser Eye Surgery Is Painful’


Most people shy away from the thought of something touching their eyes, so naturally assume that eye surgery will be painful. This isn’t the case! While some patients have described mild discomfort during the surgery preparation, anaesthetic eye drops are applied that both numb the eye and stop the natural blink reflex during the surgery itself.  Anaesthetics block nerve transmission to pain centres, meaning that the vast majority of patients experience no pain during the procedure.  A cool beam laser is then applied to your eye for a matter of seconds - less than 30 seconds to treat the most common prescriptions. The anaesthetic drops last for a period of time after treatment to provide optimum comfort.  Mild discomfort may be experienced for a short period of time afterwards, however most patients report no discomfort by the next day.  You can rest assured that both the comfort and safety of our patients is paramount to Optical Express and our highly skilled clinical teams are there to guide you through your treatment day with ease.

‘Laser Eye Surgery Is Not Safe’


Laser eye surgery is now the most common form of elective surgery worldwide - with an impressive safety record and one of the lowest complication rates. While no medical procedure is entirely without some level of risk, laser eye surgery is very safe and is less likely to cause a complication than alternative treatments such as contact lenses.1,2 At the hands of our experienced surgeons, the likelihood of developing a complication is less than 1%, and any less than desirable outcome can almost always be improved or corrected. Optical Express surgeons and optometrists are amongst the most experienced and our clinical specialists are trained to manage any complication that may occur. 

‘My Eye Might Blink Or Move During Laser Eye Surgery’


During the procedure undertaken via the Johnson & Johnson VISX laser you will be observing a red light as a target.  In conjunction with this target, the Johnson & Johnson laser technology used by Optical Express has a sophisticated eye-tracking system that follows any eye movement that may occur. These ‘eye trackers’ can move at a pace significantly faster than the human eye.  

Before the laser is applied, painless anaesthetic eye drops are used to ensure comfort and reduce the natural blink reflex while a soft, comfortable lid holder is applied to prevent you from blinking.

In addition the Johnson & Johnson iDesign laser has an iris registration system, which registers a series of landmarks on the iris of each eye. These landmarks are used by the Johnson & Johnson VISX laser to keep the treatment precisely aligned and centred.

‘Laser Eye Surgery Is Too Expensive’


If clinically suitable, we aim to make laser eye surgery affordable for everyone… and we don’t compromise on quality to do so!

However, we understand that everyone has a budget to manage. That’s why we offer a range of pricing and finance options to make life easier for you and your pocket. In fact, your monthly instalments may actually work out cheaper than your current glasses or contact lens costs.

It’s important that you put the cost of a lifetime of visual freedom into perspective.  The objective of any procedure is permanent vision correction. Compared to the ongoing cost of traditional vision correction in the form of glasses and contact lenses, laser vision correction represents excellent value for money.

‘I Am Too Old For Laser Eye Surgery’


You are never too told to experience the many health and lifestyle benefits that visual freedom has to offer. As well as laser eye surgery, Optical Express also specialise in various types of lens surgeries. Lens surgery, which can correct and overcome a distance prescription, aid intermediate or near vision across a range of tasks or treat a cataract, is often a better option than laser eye surgery for people over the age of 40.  Our skilled and experienced clinicians are well placed to recommend the best procedure for you.

‘Opticians Do Not Recommend Laser Eye Surgery’


For many patients considering laser eye surgery, their first port of call is often their optometrist. However, many optometrists are not trained on this specialist subject and are unable to offer accurate, informed advice.

In 2013 we set out to educate the eye care sector on the whole range of vision correction treatment options available, by providing laser eye surgery to over 1,000 optometrists to give them a better understanding of the procedure.

Ninety nine per cent of those treated said would have no hesitation in recommending laser eye surgery to their family, friends and patients.3

Laser Eye Surgery Is The Cause Of Dry Eye


A mild feeling of discomfort following surgery is relatively normal however, the vast majority of patients report that this only lasts for a short period of time.  For the vast majority of patients, if they did not suffer from dry eye prior to their surgery, it is unlikely that they will end up with the condition.  Generally, for people who experience symptoms of dry eye after their laser procedure this is due to the health of the eyes surface or glands prior to the surgery. Where, for example, patients wore contact lenses which previously irritated and dried their eyes out, this may be a cause for some patients to experience the symptoms of dry eye following their procedure.

After laser eye surgery some patients do initially experience some symptoms of dry eye.  This can be insignificant and many patients do not notice the symptoms.  For those who do feel their eyes dry after surgery, this is often only temporary during the healing process and patients normally find the symptoms disperse after within one or two weeks.

Eye drops will typically be prescribed by your surgeon or optometrist to use following surgery which will help the eye to feel lubricated.  It is also advised that patients avoid looking at digital screens directly immediately after their surgery to help alleviate these symptoms.

Dry eye is an extremely common condition which can be caused or exacerbated by numerous factors including the aging process, hormonal changes, climatic environments, underlying medical conditions and certain medications, the overuse of digital screens and environmental conditions such as air conditioned spaces.  The most common form of dry eye is known as evaporative, most commonly caused by a condition called Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD).  Meibomian glands are located on our eyelids.  Laser Eye Surgery does not cause MGD.

If you feel like you are suffering from dry eye, speak to an eye care professional today to discuss treatment options available.   Optical Express offers Lipiflow treatments for Meibomian Gland Dysfunction.


If you want to experience the confidence and visual freedom that laser or lens surgery can bring, if you want to free yourself from the burden of your glasses or contact lenses, if you wear bifocal or varifocal glasses and want to reduce the risk of falling as a result of your glasses, or if you want to further protect the environment through your vision correction choice, then why not talk to our expert team about booking your complimentary consultation today.



1Infective Keratitis after Laser Vision Correction: Incidence and Risk Factors; Shallhorn et al; J Cataract Refract Surg 2017; 43: 473-479.

2Contact Lens Replacted Microbial Keratitis; Stapleton et al; Eye 2012; 26: 185-193.

3In a survey of 320,659 Optical Express patients, 99% told us they would recommend us to their family and friends.


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