Laser eye surgery is a relatively quick and inexpensive procedure with long-term benefits. Its popularity has been increasing over recent years, but with this has come myths that discourage patients from proceeding. Let’s take a look at the most common myths and bust them together…
I can go blind from laser eye surgery
FALSE! Risks and complications from laser eye surgery are extremely rare. As with all surgery, there is always risk involved, but worldwide, the incidence of serious haze is less than 1 in 2,000 and the incidence of infection is 1 in 5,000. In contrast, the Australian incidence of infection from contact lens wear is much higher, estimated to be 4.2 per 10,000 contact lens wearers per year!
It’s cheaper to keep using glasses and contact lenses compared with getting laser eye surgery
FALSE! It is estimated that in 30 years of buying new glasses, contact lenses and prescription sunglasses each year, we will spend approximately $54,000! This is almost 10 times more than the base cost of laser eye surgery for both eyes with George St Eye Centre.
Laser eye surgery wears off over time
FALSE! Laser eye surgery is permanent. All the specialized scans taken prior to surgery are to ensure your treatment is completely and permanently matched to your visual needs. In some cases, however, a characteristic called regression may occur. This is the individual tendency of your eye to heal in a way that brings your vision back to its original state prior to surgery. An enhancement procedure may be necessary to correct it, but this is all accounted for when planning your surgery. Similarly, undercorrection or overcorrection may occur as the cornea heals and stabilises after surgery, but again this can be rectified with enhancement if needed. The incidence of significant overcorrection is only 1-3% and undercorrection is only 2-3%.
Also, over time, we all undergo a natural aging process called presbyopia which impacts our near vision and may lead to reliance on glasses for reading. The good news is that we also offer other procedures which allow you to remain glasses and contact lens free with age.
Laser eye surgery is painful
FALSE! Laser eye surgery is quick and relatively painless. Prior to and during the surgery, local anaesthetic drops are instilled to ensure your eyes are numb and to reduce discomfort. Most patients report feeling a slight pressure during the procedure but there is no pain. In the day or two after surgery, you may experience some mild discomfort as you recover, but this can be managed effectively with lubricating eye drops and medication.
The laser used can burn my eye like in ‘Final Destination’
FALSE! Laser eye surgery uses one of two safe lasers (or both in LASIK):
- The excimer laser: this is a cold laser. It uses short, intense pulses of cool ultraviolet light to ablate the corneal surface to correct your vision in PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy) and LASIK (Laser In Situ Keratomileusis) surgeries. The laser at George St Eye Centre, the Schwind AMARIS 1050RS, has Intelligent Thermal Effect Control, to ensure the laser temperature is regulated and to prevent any damage to the surrounding corneal tissue.
- The femtosecond laser: this uses infrared light in ultra-short pulses to vaporise tiny areas of tissue, known as photodisruption. This process creates the flap in LASIK surgery and the lenticule in SMILE (Small Incision Lenticule Extraction) surgery.
It won’t work if I move during surgery
FALSE! Our laser, the Schwind AMARIS 1050RS, has eye tracking in 7 dimensions and records all movements that the eye can make and actively compensates for them at 1050 times per second. It can even anticipate and compensate for eye movements before they actually occur, making its accuracy and reliability unmatched among other lasers. Also, your eyelids will be held open during the surgery with a device called an eye speculum, so that you don’t have to worry about blinking.
Laser eye surgery changes my eye colour
FALSE! The laser used only touches the cornea, the clear front window of your eye. Since your iris, the coloured part of your eye, is behind the cornea, it will not be affected. You can be rest assured that you will still look like you after the surgery – just glasses free!
George St Eye Centre offers free laser assessments. At this appointment, you will have the opportunity to discuss any questions you may have. Contact the team today on (02) 9230 0010 to discuss your treatment options.
Request your free laser eye assessment here.
 Stapleton F, Keay L, Edwards K et al. The incidence of contact lens-related microbial keratitis in Australia. Ophthalmology 2008; 115: 1655– 1662.