Oculase Articles

How Does Laser Eye Surgery Work?

Mr Tariq Ayoub - 1 May 2021

Laser eye surgery – also referred to as laser vision correction surgery – is an effective way to treat:

  • short-sightedness/near-sightedness (myopia)
  • long-sightedness/far-sightedness (hyperopia)
  • the need to wear glasses for reading (presbyopia)
  • astigmatism (an irregularly-shaped cornea). 

But exactly how does it work? Read on to find out.


What is laser eye surgery?

Laser eye surgery involves reshaping the cornea of your eye and correcting any tiny imperfections using an advanced cool beam laser. This makes your vision clearer and sharper so you no longer need to wear glasses or contact lenses. 

There are several types available, but the most commonly used techniques are LASIK (flap-based treatment) and PRK (surface-based treatment). 

Most people are suitable for laser eye surgery, although not all. Your suitability depends on a range of factors including:

  • the health of your eye
  • your visual needs
  • your circumstances (age, lifestyle, budget)
  • the results of your scans

At Oculase, we take all of these factors into account before recommending a particular procedure or advising on alternatives. 


How laser eye surgery works

If you have perfect vision, light rays travel smoothly through the eye to the retina. However, if the cornea is bumpy or uneven it causes the light to bend so it lands either before or beyond the retina. The result is poor vision. 

Laser eye surgery corrects these tiny imperfections so the light falls in precisely the right place, allowing you to see clearly without needing to wear glasses or contact lenses. 

How Trans-PRK is performed

Trans-PRK and LASEK are forms of surface-based laser treatment. A layer of cells – called the epithelium – is removed from the centre of the cornea. A precise amount of corneal tissue is then taken away and the cornea is reshaped to correct any imperfections. This allows light to be focused more accurately onto the retina. 

Afterwards, the ophthalmologist places a bandage soft contact lens over the surface of the cornea to protect it while new epithelial cells grow back. The bandage lens is removed after around five days. 

For more information, watch our short information video:


How LASIK is performed

LASIK is the most common form of laser eye surgery. It involves making a thin flap on the surface of the cornea to give the surgeon access to the cornea beneath. 

The laser is then used to flatten the surface of the cornea or make it steeper, depending on your visual requirements. The flap is then folded back into place and will heal on its own. 

For more information, watch our short information video.


Does laser eye surgery hurt?

Laser eye surgery is a safe and routine procedure, however, it is not without side effects. After surgery, some people experience grittiness, pain or blurred vision in the treated eye. With LASIK this can last up to 24 hours after surgery and with PRK it may take three to five days to settle down. 

With both procedures, after a week, your vision will be clearer and you will be able to do most normal activities. 

Sometimes people experience glare when using bright lights or the computer but this normally resolves within a few weeks. For other people, eye strain may be a temporary problem but this, too, tends to go away after a few weeks as the eyes adapt to their new level of vision. 

Dry eyes can be a problem in some cases after surgery and this may take three months to get better. 


Is laser eye surgery permanent?

The effects of laser eye surgery stay with you throughout your life, however as you age your vision naturally changes. 

After the age of 45, everyone needs reading glasses as the lens inside your eye loses its elasticity making it harder to focus on close objects. At this point, you have the option of top-up laser surgery or refractive lens exchange surgery so you can remain free from glasses or contact lenses.


How to book laser eye surgery

Oculase offers personalised, consultant-led treatment. Learn more about one of London’s best laser eye surgeons, Mr Tariq Ayoub.

We take care to explain the different procedures clearly to help you make an informed choice that is right for you. Click the button below to book your appointment.


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About the author

Mr Tariq Ayoub
Mr Tariq Ayoub, Consultant Ophthalmologist

Mr Ayoub has been rated as one of the top eye surgeons in the UK. He is a Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon in London, based at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, where he is also the Lead for the Emergency Department at Western Eye Hospital.

0330 128 1616

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