Also known as refractive surgery, this procedure corrects focusing problems by reshaping the cornea (the transparent ‘window’ at the front of the eye) with a laser. The most common use for laser eye surgery is for the correction of shortsightedness, also known as myopia. It is also used in the treatment of long-sightedness and mild astigmatism.
Is it safe?
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) produces guidance on whether procedures are safe enough or indeed successful enough to be used routinely in the NHS in England, Wales and Scotland. After considering the evidence for using laser treatments, they have decided that it is safe and effective enough for use in the NHS. They do recommend, however, that anyone considering laser eye surgery should make sure they thoroughly understand the benefits and risks of the surgery before proceeding, and weigh this against the advantages and disadvantages of wearing glasses or contact lenses.
Is laser eye surgery for you?
Laser eye surgery might not be an option for everyone, so you should ask your optician about the latest developments in both contact lenses and glasses technology, as well as about laser eye surgery. This will help you to choose the option that is best suited to your needs.
Surgery is typically carried out on people with short or long-sight, over the age of 18, and who have had a stable prescription for at least two years. It is not however recommended for correcting reading prescriptions, also known as presbyopia, as these prescriptions change as you get older.
Some high prescriptions are also not suitable for laser surgery, although they may be corrected via a method of non-laser eye surgery, known as clear lens exchange.