Laser Eye Surgery Guide

Of all our senses, 93% of the population rated vision as the most important, with 65% of us being worried about losing it. It comes as no surprise then, that more and more of us every year are undergoing laser eye surgery, to try and hasten our declining eyesight, or even restore it all together.

A recent study suggested that very few of us visit an optician when we should. Currently it is recommended that we visit an optician at least once every two years even if we have no problems with our vision. With the numbers consulting opticians declining, is it likely that we will see more and more people having laser eye surgery?

What is Laser Eye Surgery?

Laser eye surgery (also referred to as, ‘laser vision correction’) is a process whereby an ophthalmologist (eye surgeon) uses a special laser to correct common visual defects. If you are long sighted or short sighted, due to myopia, hyperopia or astigmatism, the image from the outside isn’t focussed adequately onto the retina. In these situations, a laser can be used to change the thickness of the cornea, hopefully restoring vision or at least reducing your dependency on glasses. By changing the thickness and shape of the front of your eye, your ophthalmologist can alter how well you see different images.

If you suffer from short sightedness or myopia, it is likely your cornea will be too steep, causing images from objects that are far away to appear blurred, as they are focussed in front of the retina. To correct this problem, the cornea is thinned and made less steep using a laser which vaporises corneal tissue. This will allow you to see objects that are far away. Laser vision correction can also be used to correct the other two main types of vision problem, astigmatism and hyperopia or long sightedness. If you suffer from hyperopia, your cornea is too flat, which will prevent you from seeing objects that are close to you. This is easily corrected by using a laser to create a steeper cornea, to allow you to see objects that are up close. Finally astigmatism is a problem that occurs due to an irregular shaped cornea. This usually means that when you look at objects, part of the image is in focus whereas others aren’t. This can be very problematic, but it is easily corrected. Again a laser can be used to make the surface of the cornea smooth and regular, correcting the astigmatism. This will allow you to see objects clearly again.

Here, in the Laser Eye Surgery Centre you can read a full independent guide to laser eye surgery that is intended to help you make up your mind on the topic. The guide is comprehensive and up to date, including all the latest information and newest procedures that are available.

Your Guide

This laser eye surgery information guide covers many different topics, including what the different types of procedure are such as LASIK, LASEK and Epi-LASIK, how to prepare for and what to expect from the procedure and recovery period. There is also an in depth guide to how the eye works, alongside information to help you chose the right laser eye surgery clinic and surgeon, what the risks and complications can be and finally some questions you may have, are answered in the Laser Eye Surgery FAQ section or in the A-Z of laser eye surgery.

Listed below are some of the most common questions you may already have about laser eye surgery.

Why should I have laser eye surgery?

Laser vision correction is not suitable for everyone, however with the advent of many new techniques there are procedures that will be able to help you see better. The main attraction of laser eye surgery is that it enables you to ditch your glasses or contact lenses and see unhindered. The procedure is considered permanent, so having it will effectively restore your vision. There are some risks and complications that can occur during and after the procedure, such as infection or night time symptoms such as glare and starbursts. These problems are rare and are becoming less and less of a problem with the new treatment options such as wavefront and Zyoptix.

If you have ever wondered what life would be like without having to put contact lenses on every morning or wear glasses all day then laser vision correction could be just right for you. The operation itself is relatively painless and takes little over an hour to change your vision for the rest of your life, so what are you waiting for?

Will laser eye surgery help me see better?

In simple terms, yes it will. The aim of laser eye surgery is to correct any existing vision problems you have, so that your vision becomes perfect 6/6 or ‘20/20’ or close to this. Many of the procedures are suitable to treat myopia (short sight), hyperopia (long sighted) and astigmatism of varying degrees of prescription. There are even operations to treat conditions such as presbyopia, which is the natural ageing of your eyes leading to you requiring reading glasses. By altering the shape of the front of your eye, your ophthalmologist can restore your vision back to normal.

How much does laser eye surgery cost?

The cost of laser eye surgery has fallen in price over the past few years, as more clinics are opening leading to increased competition. It has become a lot more affordable, with prices for LASIK surgery starting from £395 per eye for a very low prescription. Many of the large clinics offer 0% finance on their procedures for two years, including lifetime aftercare in the price. As you begin to look at the more recent procedures such as wavefront and Zyoptix, the price of your treatment will rise up to around £1500 per eye. As with everything, you should compare prices between clinics before you decide which one to use. You should also find out about how well qualified your ophthalmologist is. For a list of questions that may help you, read

Are there any risks involved in laser eye surgery?

As with all surgical procedures, there is always a risk that something may not go to plan. Sometimes side effects and complications can occur that can leave you with problems following the operation. Most commonly these are evident at night, leading to glare when looking at lights. You may also experience dry eye and irritation. In severe cases your vision may become worse than before you had the operation. Many of these side effects are reversible and can be corrected by further surgery. Before you decide to have eye surgery, read Side Effects of Laser Eye Surgery and Risks involved in Laser Eye Surgery. It is important to note that these side effects and complications are fairly rare, their incidence decreasing with the introduction of new operative techniques.


These three anagrams are three of the most commonly used techniques in corrective eye surgery. LASIK (laser assisted in situ keratomileusis) is the most commonly used laser correction procedure and involves peeling back a flap of the cornea before a laser is used to reshape your cornea to help correct your vision. It can be used for any type of vision problem however there are some exclusions which are covered in a later sectionof this guide.

LASEK (laser assisted sub epithelial keratomileusis) is another common operation that utilises a laser to reshape your cornea. Unlike LASIK, a small blade is used, allowing your ophthalmologist to pull back a thinner slice of your cornea. This is particularly good if you have a very thin cornea.

Finally PRK or photo refractive keratectomy is the longest standing laser eye procedure. Unlike LASIK and LASEK no corneal flap is pulled back, instead the front covering of the cornea called the epithelium is completely removed before a laser is used to reshape it. The epithelium will then grow back.

All the different names can be very confusing, don’t worry though, as they are all explained very well in the rest of this guide. Ultimately, your ophthalmologist will be able to guide you as to the best type of surgery for you.

What is the latest laser eye surgery treatment?

The most recent advances in laser eye surgery are the scanning machines used alongside the laser eye surgery procedures. These machines use light to scan the front of your cornea to produce a map that is individual to your eye. This contains all the information about the surface irregularities of the cornea, enabling your ophthalmologist to correct your vision extremely accurately. It has been shown that these scanning techniques can help to decrease the incidence of any night time symptoms such as glare and starbursts.

To help you begin to start to make up your mind on the procedure, this guide covers all the aspects of laser eye surgery, including the facts about laser eye surgery. Once you have read the relevant parts of this guide, make an appointment with an ophthalmologist to discuss the best option for you. What this initial appointment will involve, is covered in the next article.

Initial Eye Exam for Laser Eye Surgery »