Long term effects of laser eye surgery

People often worry about the potential long term implications of laser eye surgery and cite this as the main reason for not having the procedure. The most common issues are as follows:

  • Laser eye surgery has not been around very long.
  • Its hard to know the long term effects of laser eye surgery as people have not been having it done for very long.
  • Laser eye surgery has only been around for a few years so I am waiting for the technology to get better.
  • Laser eye surgery only lasts for a few years and most people have to have it repeated.

Below is a list of answers to the questions from above:

  • How long has laser eye surgery been around: Laser eye surgery has actually been around a lot longer than most people think, with the first procedure carried out over 25 years ago. A lot of people think laser eye surgery has only been performed for 10 years or so as it is only in recent years that it has started to be heavily advertised. In the early days of laser vision correction there were lots of complications, recovery times were long and the vision often reverted back to what it was prior to the surgery. However, as the technology has improved these problems have now become less of an issue.
  • Long term effects on people’s eyes: People have been having laser eye surgery for about 25 years, which you would think could be considered as long term. As of yet, there have been no long term effects of laser eye surgery as people have got older. This is especially reassuring as the earlier laser eye surgery techniques were far more invasive and much less refined than today’s procedures.
  • Laser technology is still not at its best: You could argue that no technology is ever at its best as improvements are continually being made. Laser eye surgery has however shown considerable improvements over the past 25 years and is now considered an extremely safe, accurate and well understood procedure. The results are at an all-time high, whilst the risks and complications have never been lower. Recent developments include Intralase and wavefront both of which have improved both the safety and accuracy of the procedure.
  • Laser eye surgery only lasts a few years: This simply is not true. For the vast majority of people laser eyes surgery lasts for their lifetime – this is backed up by the fact that only around 5% of people need a laser re-treatment. No surgeon would ever guarantee that the surgery will last forever but for the majority of people this is the case. If you want to know more about this issue you can read this helpful article: How long does laser eye surgery last?

In summary, the long term fears about laser eye surgery are somewhat unfounded. Up until now there have been no reported long term effects of laser eye surgery and the procedure has been around for over 25 years. Yes there are risks involved with laser eye surgery but these typically manifest during the actual surgery or within the first few months following your treatment. Once your eyes have fully healed it is extremely rare that any complications will arise. You can think of the process as similar to that of a healing wound. Once the healing has taken place, complications are very unlikely to occur later down the line.

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