Laser eye treatment has corrected the eye sight of over 5 million people worldwide but there are still many misconceptions about the procedure. People generally know what laser eye surgery is but some are unsure as to what it involves or exactly how it works. If you are thinking about having laser eye treatment it is extremely important that you are fully informed about the procedure including the risks and recovery times etc…
Having seen many patients having laser treatment Optometrist Tim Harwood a laser trained Optometrist based in the UK says: ‘it is unbelievable the amount of false knowledge there is out there!’ So he decides to set us straight with the top 5 myths about laser eye treatment; be sure to spread them around to your friends and family as they may also think the same!
1. I’m scared of injections: One of the biggest reasons that puts people off having laser eye surgery is the thought of a needle being used to anaesthetise the eye during the procedure. Such people need not worry as the eyes are numbed using eye drops and no needle is ever used. The eye drops will cause a slight stinging feeling in the eye for no more than 20 seconds.
2. What if I go blind?: People often say the reason they decide against having laser eye treatment is because of the risk of going blind. If such people actually went to the trouble of researching how many people have actually gone blind as a result of laser eye surgery they would find the answer to be zero! To date no one has ever gone blind as a result of laser eye treatment and the procedure is extremely safe. There is a small risk of complications (about 1 in 1000 procedures) but any problems that do arise can normally be easily treated by your surgeon.
3. I’m scared of long term effects: Another major reason that people cite as putting them off the surgery is the fact it has not been round long enough to know the long term effects. Laser eye surgery has actually been carried out for over 20 years and the procedure has constantly improved over this time. To date there have been no known long term negative effects of laser eye surgery and no one expects this to change.
4. Laser eye surgery can treat my cataracts: Cataracts are formed within the natural lens of your eye which is inside your eye. Laser eye treatment however is carried out on the cornea, which is the outer clear part of your eye. Laser eye surgery will offer no improvement to cataracts and your surgeon will actually advise against having the procedure if you have cataracts.
5. My prescription’s too high: People wrongly think laser eye surgery can only treat a limited range of prescriptions but this is not the case. This was the true when laser eye treatment was first introduced but nowadays around 99% of prescriptions will be treatable with laser treatment. The treatable range of prescriptions is from about +5.00 (long sightedness) to -12.00 (short sightedness). If you are reading this article and have a higher prescription than this then you will have to consider either implantable contact lenses or refractive lens exchange which are alternative non laser procedures. The main reason that would prevent high prescriptions from being treated is the thickness of your cornea. The higher the prescription the greater the amount of corneal tissue has to be removed. If your corneas are thin, then your surgeon may consider it unsafe to treat a high prescription. This is something you will only know from going for a laser eye surgery consultation as your surgeon will assess the thickness of your cornea during this time.
Hopefully this has allayed a few fears about the procedure regardless of whether you decide to undergo the treatment or not. Laser eye treatment is extremely safe but it still is a surgical procedure and not something you should rush in to without knowing all the facts. The most important thing about having laser eye treatment is feeling comfortable with your surgeon and their technical staff. And remember to ask questions otherwise you may have the wrong information and not realise!
by Tim Harwood
If you have any further questions you can ask Tim through his online Laser eye treatment forum.
[picture credit:cszar; Peter Gorges]