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What happens in laser eye surgery?

If you are considering laser eye surgery you may be wondering what the surgery entails. Laser eye surgery is a life-changing procedure that corrects poor vision. At Optical Express, we offer two types of treatment, LASIK and LASEK, with 99% of our patients achieving 20/20 vision or better1 after having the procedure. Both types of treatment can be further enhanced by our state of the art iDesign technology. But what happens in laser eye surgery? Find out more about our laser eye surgery procedures here:

Who performs laser eye surgery?

Laser eye surgery is performed by our highly trained ophthalmologists. At Optical Express, we understand the importance of trust between our patients and their surgeon; our ophthalmologists have each performed thousands of procedures throughout their careers. They are experts in their field, so you can rest assured that you are in excellent hands. Our aim is to ensure that Optical Express patients receive high quality treatment to ensure they feel confident and relaxed about undergoing their procedure.

Naturally, you may experience some nerves on the run-up to the day of your surgery, and that is why our incredible team of experts are always willing to answer any questions you may have. Over 99% of our patients go on to recommend Optical Express to their family and friends following treatment with one of our fantastic surgeons.2

How long does laser eye surgery take?

One of the great things about laser eye surgery is how little time the procedure takes to perform. On average, patients are in the surgery room no longer than 30 minutes. However, the length of time the laser is applied to each eye depends on your prescription. This could range from just a few seconds to two minutes, and most patients tell us how surprised they were with the quickness of their procedure.

What is the difference between LASIK and LASEK?

Your optometrist would have recommended the type of treatment that is best for your prescription during your consultation. LASIK is our most popular treatment and offers a safe and fast recovery process with excellent results.

During LASIK treatment, the surgeon will apply anaesthetic drops to each eye and then, using the first laser will create a thin protective flap on the outer layer of your eye known as the cornea. The protective flap is lifted, and the second laser is used to correct your vision. Your surgeon then carefully folds back into place the protective flap of your cornea, which will then heal naturally. Both eyes are typically treated on the same day.

Because LASIK laser eye surgery has a quick recovery time, you should be able to return to work within 24 hours after your treatment and, in most cases, drive within the same time frame. Every patient’s natural healing time is different so there are many factors that affect recovery time. Many of our patients have said that they immediately notice an improvement in their vision, but for others, it can take a few weeks for their vision to settle.

Due to the unique characteristics of each individual patient’s eye, some patients are not suitable for LASIK laser eye surgery and for these patients, LASEK surgery is an alternative option. Compared to LASIK, only one laser will be used to correct your vision. Your surgeon places an ultra-thin sheet on each eye, and then a diluted alcohol solution is used to loosen the edges of the sheet. This is then gently moved to one side, revealing the layer of the cornea that will be treated by the laser.

Next, your surgeon repositions the outer layer of your cornea and places a protective contact lens on top. This acts like a bandage that provides you with comfort during the healing process and will be removed by your surgeon or optometrist a few days after surgery.

With LASEK, like LASIK, both eyes can be treated on the same day. The initial recovery process for LASEK can take slightly longer, usually lasting three to four days longer than with LASIK.


For patients undergoing LASIK laser eye surgery, they have the option of enhancing their treatment with iDesign.  Everyone’s prescription is different and iDesign is an advanced technology by leading provider Johnson & Johnson Vision, which allows your treatment to be tailored to your own individual prescription.

iDesign is a unique system that can produce a 3D map of your eye which allows your surgeon to customise your treatment 25 times more accurately than your contact lenses and glasses. It can capture over 1,200 microscopic imperfections of your eye, making this map as unique as your fingerprint. Your iDesign treatment is customised to the exact specifications of your eye and will be sent to a computer-guided laser that will correct the slight imperfections of your prescription.

What’s more, patients who have previously been told they were unsuitable for eye surgery may benefit from laser eye surgery with iDesign. This state of the art technology allows our experienced surgeons to offer Optical Express patients their best possible visual outcome.

Does laser eye surgery hurt?

The short answer is no. The treatment itself is generally pain-free due to the applied anaesthetic drops, but like any procedure, patients may feel a little discomfort during the early stages of the healing process. Having said that, any discomfort will be short-lived, and you will be able to see clearly in no time.

To find out more about our range of laser eye surgery treatments and which option will be suitable for you, book a free consultation today at your local Optical Express clinic and start your journey to clear vision now!

1 In a study of 190,231 Optical Express patients with the most common prescriptions we treat (excluding those with presbyopia and emmetropia) 99.2% achieve 20/20 vision or better following treatment.

2In a survey of 320,659 Optical Express patients, 99% told us they would recommend us to their family and friends.

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