Frequently asked questions about laser eye surgery

Below you'll find answers to the questions we're most commonly asked.

  • Does laser eye surgery hurt?

    The short answer is: For the overwhelming majority of patients, no.

    Due to the anaesthetic drops which are applied before the procedure, laser eye surgery itself is generally pain-free, but following the treatment patients may feel some discomfort in the early stages of healing. The level of discomfort you experience depends upon the type of surgery you've undergone, but any pain will be short lived, and you'll be able to enjoy the benefits of improved vision within a matter of days.
  • How do I book a free laser eye surgery consultation?

    The short answer is: Simple – online, complete a form or call us

    It's easy to book your free Optical Express laser eye surgery consultation and take the first step on your journey to better vision. With the largest network of private clinics in the UK and Ireland, finding an Optical Express clinic near you couldn't be more straightforward.
  • How long does laser eye surgery take?

    The short answer is: From a few seconds to two minutes

    You'll be in the theatre for under 30 minutes, although the length of time that the laser is applied to your eye ranges from just a few seconds to two minutes, depending upon the complexity of your prescription.
  • How quickly will I see the results of laser eye surgery?

    The short answer is: It varies, but your results could be instant

    Most patients notice a significant improved vision within 24 hours of surgery. You'll see a vast improvement by the end of your recovery period, which depends upon a number of factors including the type of treatment you've undergone.
  • How much does laser eye surgery cost?

    The short answer is: It depends on many factors

    Laser eye surgery has become increasingly affordable, thanks to advancements in technology. Our prices start from just €895 per eye† and we offer a range of finance options to help spread the cost.

    Take a look at our Prices & Finance information.

  • When can I go swimming after laser eye surgery?

    You should wait at least two weeks before swimming after your laser eye surgery in order to avoid the risk of infection. Your optometrist will advise when it is safe to return to swimming at your aftercare appointments.
  • What’s the success rate of laser eye surgery?

    Laser eye surgery is a highly effective treatment, with both LASIK and LASEK laser eye surgery having very high success rates. In a study of 190,231 Optical Express patients with the most common prescriptions we treat, 99.2% achieved 20|20 vision or better following surgery.
  • How long will the results of laser eye surgery last for?

    The effects of laser eye surgery generally last for life, but a small percentage of patients might experience regression and therefore benefit from an enhancement or secondary procedure. This is a result of the natural healing process that takes place following the procedure and is normally carried out three to six months after the original treatment.

     

    As we age, natural age-related changes can also occur to the eyes, affecting our near-sight. This is due to the natural aging of the eye as it loses its ability to swiftly change focus from near and far.  This condition is called presbyopia. Presbyopia is an age-related change and is completely unrelated to laser eye surgery and may result in patients requiring supplementary treatments such as lens replacement surgery as they grow older in order to restore visual freedom.

  • What if I blink or move my eye during laser eye surgery?

    The laser technology used by Optical Express has a sophisticated eye-tracking system that follows any eye movement that may occur during surgery. These ‘eye trackers’ can move at a pace significantly faster than the human eye and ensure that the laser pulses are placed only where they should be.

     

    Before the laser is applied, painless anaesthetic eye drops are used to ensure comfort and reduce the natural blink reflex while a soft, comfortable lid holder is applied to prevent you from blinking.

  • I have astigmatism – can I still have laser eye surgery?

    Laser eye surgery is ideal for patients with astigmatism. While treating this condition can be slightly more complicated, our technology allows us to treat astigmatic corneas very effectively and our advanced lasers can treat up to six dioptres of astigmatism. Our expert ophthalmic surgeons routinely deal with symptoms of astigmatism, including complex cases.
  • Are both eyes treated at the same time?

    With both LASIK and LASEK laser eye surgery procedures, surgery will be performed on a single eye at a time. Both eyes are usually treated on the same day.
  • Am I suitable for laser eye surgery if I play contact sports?

    If you are involved in contact sports on a regular basis, you may be a good candidate for laser eye surgery since it is not convenient for you to wear glasses or contact lenses. Your Optometrist and Surgeon can recommend the best procedure for you during your in-depth pre-operative assessments.
  • What is Wavefront technology?

    Wavefront technology uses highly detailed 3D imaging to produce a map of your eye which, just like your fingerprint, is unique to you. This provides your surgeon with the data required to generate a treatment plan that's uniquely customised to the exact specifications of your eye. At Optical Express, we provide wavefront-guided treatment through our revolutionary iDesign technology, which customises your treatment 25 times more accurately than a standard prescription for glasses or contact lenses.
  • What is the minimum age for laser eye surgery?

    It is important that patients have a stable prescription when opting for laser eye surgery and it is for that reason that many patients are not suitable until the age of 18. For patients under the age of 18 years’ vision correction services offered by Optical Express including eye testscontact lens checks, and glasses are available which enable our experts to monitor prescription development in their younger years, with a view to potential surgery in the future.
  • Can I only have one eye treated with laser eye surgery?

    It is possible to have treatment only one eye only. By booking in for a free consultation, our expert clinicians will perform a range of comprehensive tests to assess your suitability for treatment and will recommend the refractive surgery option most likely to achieve the best possible clinical outcome.
  • Can I have laser eye surgery while I’m breastfeeding or pregnant?

    If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you will need to wait to be eligible for treatment as hormonal changes could affect your eyesight. You can consider having laser eye surgery three months after you stop breastfeeding or if you are not breastfeeding, three months after you give birth.
  • How long should I take my contact lenses out before laser eye surgery?

    It is important to not wear your contact lenses before the date of your surgery.  Soft contact lenses should be removed at least seven days prior to surgery and hard lenses should be removed at least four weeks prior to surgery.  During your consultation, your Optometrist will confirm how long you should leave your contact lenses out.
  • How long does laser eye surgery take to heal?

    Your recovery time will depend on a number of factors, including the type of treatment you've had, your age, and your body’s natural healing ability. While a vast majority of patients experience improved vision within 24 hours of having surgery, full recovery can take up to a week.
  • How long does the laser eye surgery procedure take?

    You will be in and out of theatre in under 30 minutes, although the length of time that the laser is applied to your eye ranges from just a few seconds to two minutes, depending upon the complexity of your prescription.
  • How quickly will I see the results of laser eye surgery?

    Most patients notice a significant improvement in vision within 24 hours of surgery. You'll see a vast improvement by the end of your recovery period, which depends upon a number of factors including the type of treatment you've undergone.
  • Should I keep reading glasses with me after laser eye surgery?

    Lens replacement surgery can correct near vision, also known as presbyopia, and therefore eliminates the need for visual aids such as reading glasses. The condition of presbyopia mainly occurs after the age of 40, however, meaning that lens replacement surgery may be a more suitable vision correction solution than laser eye surgery.
  • Is laser eye surgery right for me?

    If you are struggling with the ongoing cost of glasses and/or contact lenses, simply find them to be an inconvenience, or they are affecting your eye health, opting for laser eye surgery could be a great alternative. Around 85% of adults are now suitable for a vision correction surgery procedure, so there is a good chance that you will be too.*  By booking in for a free consultation, we can perform a range of comprehensive tests to assess your suitability for treatment.
  • What is the difference between LASIK and LASEK?

    The main difference lies in how the outer layers of the cornea are treated, and the most appropriate method depends on a number of factors including the thickness of your cornea as well as the shape of your cornea as measured with our state-of-the-art technology. With LASIK, an ultra-thin flap is created on the outer layers of the cornea, while with LASEK surgery the surface layer of the cornea is loosened.

    Sometimes the unique characteristics of your eye can make you an unsuitable candidate for LASIK treatment— for example, if you have a thin cornea. If you are unsuitable for LASIK treatment, you might be recommended LASEK treatment as an alternative.

  • When can I go back to work after laser eye surgery?

    Your recovery time will depend on a number of factors, including the type of treatment you've had. Most LASIK patients return to work within 48 hours of surgery, while for LASEK patients it may take up to seven days. Your surgeon and optometrist will take into account your personal situation, occupation and working environment and offer the best advice for you.