We asked our ophthalmologist Dr Stephen Doyle a few key questions about laser eye surgery and here’s what he said…
Can both eyes be lasered at the same time?
Yes, a lot of people ask about the risk of having both eyes lasered on
the same day or is it better to have the procedure a few weeks apart, generally speaking it is just as safe to have your eyes lasered on the
same day as it is on separate occasions.
For example, if you’re having LASEK (surface laser) with a high prescription then we would tend to leave the procedure two weeks
apart as it takes a little bit longer for the vision to recover. For all
normal LASEK and LASIK treatments for short sighted patients with up to -5.00DS prescriptions, we would treat both eyes on the same day.
How long does the laser treatment take?
On average, the laser time is between 5 and 20 seconds. The whole treatment for each eye takes around 10 minutes.
How has treatment changed over the years?
I’ve been doing this for about 20 years when the very first lasers came on the market and since then I’ve treated around 20,000 eyes, and the technology has improved massively. The modern day equipment that we have here at Visualase give excellent results without many complications.
Is laser correction safe?
A lot of patients ask about how safe laser eye surgery is, it is a bit like being in a car or a plane, psychologically you think that being in a plane is more unsafe when in fact it is the opposite. Like with laser eye surgery it's as safe as wearing contact lenses as more infections have been recorded from those wearing contact lenses over the years.
With LASIK the laser makes a flap on the eye which takes a few seconds then the flap is lifted and the eye is lasered which takes 5 to 20 seconds with lots of flashing lights and the flap is then replaced back down and drops are added to the eyes, the procedure is now over with little pain and you’re up and running in a few hours.
LASIK vs LASEK
With LASEK (surface laser) dilute alcohol is added to the eye and the top of the skin is pushed back and the same procedure is done as the LASIK and the skin is replaced. It takes slightly longer to recover but the end results are the same.
It’s like when you go to London, you can travel by either train, plane or bus, you will get there but with slightly different risk profiles.
What if I move my eye during the treatment?
The laser has an infrared tracking system that follows your eye, so if you move your eye a moderate amount the laser will follow your eye. However, if you move your eye significantly then the laser will simply stop and when you are resettled, it simple starts again where it left off.
What is a cataract?
A cataract is when the lens inside the eye goes cloudy and you can’t see through it. It’s a bit like a lens inside a camera that gets dirty. The lens has the characteristics of an onion – imagine layers being added over the years which makes your natural lens harder and less flexible.
What is monovision?
This is where you would have an eye for distance and the other for near vision.
When can I return to sports?
If you’ve had LASEK surgery (surface laser), as soon as the top layer has healed, this is usually within 5 days then you can return to sports.
For LASIK, after a couple of weeks you can swim with goggles and wait about a month to play contact sports but after this you can do almost anything. We also recommend that girls wait a week to wear eye make up, the last thing you want to do is damage the eye in the first few months.
About Dr Stephen Doyle
Find out more about Dr Stephen Doyle.
All eye surgical procedures carry a level of risk including not obtaining the desired outcome, through to varying levels of visual loss. Your eye surgeon will discuss the risks and benefits, including ones specific to your circumstances, at the time of your pre-operative consultation.