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LASIK laser eye surgery

What is LASIK laser eye surgery?

LASIK laser eye surgery is the most common laser eye procedure to correct vision problems. More than 100,000 people a year have this procedure performed in the UK.

LASIK is short for laser in-situ keratomileusis.

During LASIK, an eye surgeon cuts across the cornea of the eye and raises a flap of tissue and carries out reshaping to correct vision.

LASIK is often used for people who are short-sighted, long-sighted, or who have astigmatism. LASIK may not be suitable for people with strong lens prescriptions, such as a high degree of short-sightedness.

No medical procedure is without risks. Complications can happen in fewer than 1 in 20 laser eye operations.

One in 3 people patients will still need to glasses some of the time after laser eye surgery, such as for night driving.

LASIK laser eye surgery to correct focussing problems is unlikely to be available on the NHS. Private treatment costs around £1000-1500 per eye, but prices will differ between surgeons and clinics.

What are the advantages of LASIK laser eye surgery?

LASIK laser eye surgery has many benefits, including:

  • It works and is proven to correct vision in most cases.
  • LASIK laser eye surgery is associated with very little pain.
  • Vision is corrected almost immediately or by the day after LASIK laser eye surgery.
  • Recovery is quick and usually no bandages or stitches are required after LASIK laser eye surgery.
  • Adjustments can be made years after LASIK laser eye surgery to further correct vision.
  • After having LASIK laser eye surgery, most patients no longer need corrective eyewear.

What are the disadvantages of LASIK laser eye surgery?

Despite the pluses, there are some disadvantages:

  • Changes made to the cornea cannot be reversed after LASIK laser eye surgery.
  • Corrections can only be made by additional LASIK laser eye surgeries.
  • LASIK laser eye surgery is technically complex. Problems may occur when the doctor cuts the flap, which can permanently affect vision.
  • LASIK laser eye surgery can cause a loss of "best" vision with or without glasses at one year after surgery. Your best vision is the highest degree of vision that you achieved while wearing your contacts or eyeglasses.


What are the potential side effects of LASIK laser eye surgery?

Some patients experience discomfort in the first 24 to 48 hours after surgery. Other side effects, although rare, may include:

  • Glare
  • Seeing halos around images
  • Difficulty driving at night
  • Fluctuating vision
  • Dry eyes

How should I prepare for LASIK laser eye surgery?

Before your LASIK laser eye surgery, you will meet with an adviser who will discuss what you should expect during and after the surgery. During this session, your medical history will be evaluated and your eyes will be tested. Likely tests include measuring corneal thickness, refraction, and pupil dilation. At any meeting with your surgeon, you should ask further questions you may have. Afterwards, you can book an appointment for the procedure.

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