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Laser Eye Surgery - Facts & Fiction

Published on 9th July 2014

Having performed over 50,000 laser eye surgery procedures, the surgical team at the Visualase Laser Eye Surgery Clinic in Bolton, have both the knowledge and experience to set the facts straight about this eye correction procedure.

It is important when undergoing any type of surgery that you are fully informed, and we are keen to ensure our patients not only have all the correct information about laser eye surgery, but also meet, as part of the assessment and consultation, their own surgeon who will ultimately perform the treatment. We believe this will help to ease any anxiety felt by the patient, and ensure that both surgeon and patient have all information required to make the procedure as smooth and stress-free as possible

Receive a full consultation with your laser eye surgeon.
So what are the facts?

How much should laser eye surgery cost?
Depending on the type of laser eye surgery you have, costs are approximately £1,000 - £1,200 per eye. This cost is a reflection on the quality of technology, surgeons and supporting team that are required to ensure success - something which we will not compromise on.

Find out more about our costs here.

How long does the process take?
If you are having both eyes treated, you will be in the theatre suite for 30 minutes. The laser part of the process though takes only seconds per eye.

Will the surgery fail if I move at all during the process?
If you have the right combination of technology and surgeon, it should not matter if your eyes move during the procedure. The laser machine is fitted with an eye tracking system that locks onto your pupil to allow for any movements you may make.

Laser eye surgery takes just 30 minutes to complete


Can I have laser eye surgery if I’m over 65?
Potentially anyone can have laser eye surgery aged 18 and above, even if you have previously had surgery for cataracts. Your free assessment and consultation will confirm this.

What types of eye problems can laser eye surgery correct?
Laser eye surgery can correct:

  • Astigmatism 
  • Short-sightedness
  • Long-sightedness
  • Presbyopia (the need for wearing reading glasses)

When will I start to notice the effects of the treatment?
This will depend on your original prescription, however most patients will be able to see an improvement immediately and will be seeing well by the end of the day of the actual laser eye surgery. Your vision will continue to improve over the next few days. Most patients will also be able to drive and go back to work the following day. 

Does laser eye surgery have any side effects?
The main side effect can be dry eyes, which most patients will get to some extent. This shouldn’t last more than a few weeks and we routinely give all our patients artificial tears to help with this. 

Is there a chance of any complications?
As with any surgery there is always a chance of complication, however with laser eye surgery this is very slim (0.1%) and an experienced surgeon, such as those at Visualase, will be with you every step of the way in this unlikely outcome. 

Should I receive follow-up care?
Absolutely! As standard all laser eye surgery clinics should provide at least twelve months post-operative care and you should always attend your appointments.

Post-operative care from laser eye surgery at least 12 months after surgery.


Are there any long-term concerns about the safety of laser eye surgery?
No - research by NICE in 2005 determined there are no concerns about long-term safety.

And now for the fiction!

Is the laser hot?
No - despite what you may think or have heard, the laser process is actually cold ablation.

Is the smell that is generated my eye burning?
No - the laser generates pure carbon atoms which create a distinct smell but it certainly isn’t your eye burning!

Does the surgery hurt?
No - we administer anaesthetic eye drops to ensure that you will feel no pain at all.

Is laser eye surgery permanent?
Yes - the surgery is permanent in the vast majority of patients but your vision can still change over the years, however minor adjustments can be made easily and quickly by your surgeon.

Can I have laser eye surgery if I have cataracts?
No. If you have been told you have cataracts, then laser eye correction isn’t for you. You will require a cataract operation where the natural lens from inside your eye is removed and replaced with an artificial one. 

If you are considering laser eye surgery then I’m sure you will have many questions, which is why we have put together a comprehensive FAQs section on our website. Click here to visit the page or contact us if you still can’t find the answer you’re looking for.

The surgical team at Visualase comprises:

  • Dr Stephen Doyle, Ophthalmologist, MBBS, BSc (Hons), MRCOphth
  • Mr Manoj Mathai, Ophthalmologist, MBBS, DO, MS, FRCS (Edinburgh)


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.