What is laser treatment surgery and can it improve my vision?

If you’re having problems with your vision, you may be considering laser eye surgery. At Spire Healthcare, we offer two different types of laser surgery to treat different conditions.

Laser eye surgery

What does it treat?

Laser eye surgery is used to correct your vision if things are out of focus, making you less dependent on glasses or contact lenses. 

It can correct problems such as:

How does it work?

To see clearly, three parts of your eye need to work together: the cornea, which is the clear part at the front of your eye, the lens, which helps to focus light, and the length of your eye.

Laser surgery involves reshaping your cornea (the front, transparent part of your eye). Different techniques are used depending on whether you’re shortsighted or longsighted.

LASIK is the most popular method and involves opening the surface of the cornea to reshape it. You will experience slight blurring of your vision and mild pressure during the procedure. It takes around 10 minutes per eye and you may notice significant improvements to your vision as soon as the day after surgery.

LASEK involves softening part of the surface of your eye with chemicals and rolling it back so the laser can reshape the area underneath. The whole procedure takes around 15 minutes, but the laser treatment only lasts a few seconds. Your vision should start to improve in three to six days and should stabilise around two weeks after surgery.

Who can have it?

To have laser surgery you need to:

  • Be aged 18-50 
  • Enjoy good health and otherwise healthy eyes
  • Have a stable prescription for your eyes ie short or long-sightedness that hasn’t changed for at least a year

What to expect after surgery

After both types of surgery, you’ll be given antibiotic eye drops and a protective shield for your eyes.

It’s common for your eyes to be red, watery, sensitive to light and feel scratchy for up to six hours after LASIK and for up to 48 hours after LASEK. You shouldn’t be in pain but may experience mild discomfort for a few days after surgery. You’re more likely to experience dry eyes for up to six months after treatment but you can manage this using artificial tears.

About one in 10 people who have laser surgery need further surgery to get the best results. 

Laser eye treatment

What does it treat?

Laser eye treatment, also known as YAG laser capsulotomy, is used to treat cloudy vision after cataract surgery, which is caused by posterior capsular opacification (PCO). PCO occurs when the capsule, a clear lining that sits behind the lens, thickens. Symptoms include sensitivity to light and a noticeable difference in focus for each eye.

How does it work?

YAG laser treatment makes a hole in the capsule behind the replacement lens that was put in during your cataract surgery. This allows light to pass through to the back of your eye and helps you see better.

This is a routine outpatient procedure that usually takes around five minutes. About 20 minutes before the treatment, you’ll be given anaesthetic drops to numb the surface of the eye and sometimes also drops to dilate your pupil. 

Your surgeon will put a contact lens on your eye and ask you to rest your chin on the frame of the laser machine. They will then direct the laser beam into your eye to make the hole in your capsule.

After the eye drops have worn off you’ll notice that the cloudiness eases and your vision improves.

What to expect after surgery

For a few days after your procedure, your eyes will feel itchy and sore. You may have some blurred vision, experience headaches and look as if you have a black eye. These are all common effects after this type of surgery and should improve in a few days.

On some occasions, the pressure inside your eye can increase immediately after the procedure and you may therefore need further treatment before leaving. 

Preparing for your surgery

Whether you’re having laser eye surgery or YAG treatment, make sure you arrange for someone to take you home after surgery. Avoid using products such as aftershave or perfume, and avoid drinking alcohol as these can all dry your eyes out. On the day of your surgery, take off your eye makeup and make sure you’re wearing comfortable clothes.

Your doctor will check up on you the day after your surgery and you’ll have follow-up appointments to check on your progress for six months.

We hope you've found this article useful, however, it cannot be a substitute for a consultation with a specialist

If you're concerned about symptoms you're experiencing or require further information on the subject, talk to a GP or see an expert consultant at your local Spire hospital.

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Author Information

Cahoot Care Marketing

Niched in the care sector, Cahoot Care Marketing offers a full range of marketing services for care businesses including: SEO, social media, websites and video marketing, specialising in copywriting and content marketing.

Over the last five years Cahoot Care Marketing has built an experienced team of writers and editors, with broad and deep expertise on a range of care topics. They provide a responsive, efficient and comprehensive service, ensuring content is on brand and in line with relevant medical guidelines.

Their writers and editors include care sector workers, healthcare copywriting specialists and NHS trainers, who thoroughly research all topics using reputable sources including the NHS, NICE, relevant Royal Colleges and medical associations.

The Spire Content Hub project was managed by:

Lux Fatimathas, Editor and Project Manager

Lux has a BSc(Hons) in Neuroscience from UCL, a PhD in Cellular and Molecular Biology from the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology and experience as a postdoctoral researcher in developmental biology. She has a clear and extensive understanding of the biological and medical sciences. Having worked in scientific publishing for BioMed Central and as a writer for the UK’s Medical Research Council and the National University of Singapore, she is able to clearly communicate complex concepts.

Catriona Shaw, Lead Editor

Catriona has an English degree from the University of Southampton and more than 12 years’ experience copy editing across a range of complex topics. She works with a diverse team of writers to create clear and compelling copy to educate and inform.

Alfie Jones, Director — Cahoot Care Marketing

Alfie has a creative writing degree from UCF and initially worked as a carer before supporting his family’s care training business with copywriting and general marketing. He has worked in content marketing and the care sector for over 10 years and overseen a diverse range of care content projects, building a strong team of specialist writers and marketing creatives after founding Cahoot in 2016.