10 Eye Surgery Myths Debunked

The laser cutting the corneal flap.
The laser cutting the corneal flap. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Laser Eye Surgery: Fact vs Fiction

There are probably twice as many facts about eye surgery as there are myths, but somehow the myths seem to be more commonly talked about. That friend of a friend of your sister may have a story to tell about her friend’s friend who ‘had eye surgery that went wrong’, but until you measure the facts against the fiction, you’ll still be none the wiser about the real myths. If you’re considering laser surgery, but have heard some stories that make you hide your eyes in fear, then the following list of common myths may help to put things in perspective for you.

10 Eye Surgery Myths Debunked!

1. Laser Eye Surgery Is Just Too Risky: For patients in good health, laser eye surgery is one of the safest procedures there is. The consultations you have beforehand determine whether or not you are eligible, and you will not be considered for the surgery if it’s not right for you. However, with the risk of complication being less than 0.5%, this figure in itself is pretty reassuring.

2. Eye Surgery Is Too Expensive: Wrong. The cost involved depends on the surgeon you use. The more qualified and experienced surgeons will use the very latest cutting-edge technology, but there are still plenty of highly qualified and experienced surgeons who will perform eye surgery at affordable prices. Reading patient reviews online will give you an accurate picture of the cost of eye surgery, and where to get the best deal for you.

3. Why Spend Money On A Procedure That’s Not Permanent?: Hang on, we’re not talking hair dyes! Laser eye surgery is absolutely permanent, and the results are for the long term. As there’s no reverse procedure, the initial diagnostic tests and consultation may seem lengthy, but it’s important for the surgeon to know exactly what needs to be done to correct your vision. As your eyes age you may need glasses to correct a different eye problem, but the effectiveness of laser eye surgery does not wear off!

4. Over 35? You Can’t Have Laser Eye Surgery: Actually, you can. Laser eye surgery can be successfully carried out on patients up to the age of 65, provided the patient is in good overall health, and there are no complications such as cataracts. However, recovery time can take a bit longer as you get older, so it’s not something that will suit everyone in later life.

5. There’s No Anesthetic Used In Laser Eye Surgery: Are we living in the dark ages? This is categorically not true. No credible surgeon would want you to be in any pain during the procedure. Whilst general anesthetic is not the usual method, a local anesthetic in the form of eye drops is used to numb the general area. As a result, you’ll have a pain free and comfortable experience throughout the operation.

Warfighter Refractive Eye Surgery Center
Warfighter Refractive Eye Surgery Center (Photo credit: Army Medicine)

6. A Cough Or Sneeze During The Procedure Could Cause Damage To The Eyes: Not if you’ve done your homework on laser eye surgery! The technology is so advanced that a well qualified surgeon will not be affected by any involuntary movement you happen to make during the operation.

7. Will There Be A Smell Of Burning? The laser neither warms up nor gets hot during the surgery, so there’s no discomfort due to changes in temperature. As a result, any myth you’ve heard about being able to smell your own eye burning, is exactly that – a myth! In fact, the laser used is always cold, so you need never worry about experiencing the smell or feeling that your eye is burning.

8. Laser Surgery Could Make You Go Blind: This is completely contradictory to what laser eye surgery actually does. Reading vision will be improved, and long-sightedness as well as astigmatism can also be corrected with laser eye surgery – blindness can definitely be ruled out.

9. You’ll Need A Long Time Off Work: Two days is all you will need to take off work. It’s very rare for laser eye surgery patients to need any longer than this to recover, and getting back to a normal routine as soon as possible is part of the healing process. (OK, we promise not to tell the boss!)

10. The Procedure Is Over, You’re On Your Own!: If you’re worried about what happens after the surgery, you can rest assured that you’ll have ongoing aftercare to support you and set you on the path to a life of better vision. Tales of being ‘on your own’ once you’ve left the clinic are not true.

Eye Surgery Success Stories

If debunking the myths hasn’t totally convinced you, there are many success stories that can back up the positive claims behind laser eye surgery. Freedom from glasses and contact lenses is something that many people say is the best thing about laser eye surgery, as well as the quick and simple process it is, and the minimal recovery time involved. When all of these are taken into consideration, the myths are soon firmly debunked… And yes it’s safe to look!


Ed Beardsell is the publishing manager for www.LASIK-Eyes.co.uk, the UK's largest bank of laser eye surgery reviews.

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