Most common misconceptions about laser eye treatments

Have you ever considered going for a laser eye treatment and have questions about it, but not sure where to start and how to go about it? Not everything you heard or searched online is true. The decision to go for laser eye treatment is a personal one and it should be supported by facts rather than myths. We have put together this article to address the most common misconceptions about laser eye treatments. Read on to understand more.

Laser eye treatment is a type of refractive surgery performed to correct refractive errors namely short-sightedness, long-sightedness and astigmatism. LASIK is the most commonly performed laser eye treatment in the world leading many to think that it is the only laser eye treatment available. In actual fact, there are 3 main types of laser eye treatments available:

  • Type 1: ReLEx SMILE
  • Type 2: LASIK
  • Type 3: Advanced Surface Ablation (PRK, epi-LASIK, TransPRK, LASEK)

The main difference amongst these 3 laser eye treatments is the surgical technique adopted to correct the refractive errors as described below. However, the ultimate goal remains the same, to reduce or eliminate the use of glasses and contact lenses to see well by using a laser to permanently reshape the cornea.

Type 1:
ReLEx® SMILE

  • A femtosecond laser creates a disc-shaped piece of corneal tissue (lenticule) just beneath the surface of the cornea.
  • The same laser then creates a small incision of 4mm in the cornea, from which the lenticule is removed, resulting in a reshaped cornea that corrects the vision.

Type 2:
LASIK

  • A femtosecond laser creates a 22mm flap which can be folded back temporarily.
  • An excimer laser guided by Wavefront technology (maps your eye in 3 dimensions giving a reading for the laser to customise the treatment) sculpts the corneal tissue over a few seconds to correct the refractive errors.
  • The corneal flap is repositioned and will stay in place until it is fully healed.

Type 3:
Advanced surface ablation

  • Epithelium on corneal surface is dissolved by a diluted alcohol solution and then removed.
  • An excimer laser guided by Wavefront technology (maps your eye in 3 dimensions giving a reading for the laser to customise the treatment) sculpts the corneal tissue over a few seconds to correct the refractive errors.
  • A protective contact lens is placed over the eye until the epithelium grows back within a few days.

Some common misconceptions about laser eye treatments are listed below:

Misconception 1: Laser eye treatment only corrects short-sightedness

This is not true. Short-sightedness, long-sightedness and astigmatism can be corrected by laser eye treatments. However, there is a range of prescription in which the different treatments are able to correct. You will need to attend a pre-laser evaluation to ascertain the type of treatment which is suitable for you.

Misconception 2: Laser eye treatment is suitable for everyone

Unfortunately, contrary to popular belief, not everyone is suitable for laser eye treatment. Some exceptions may include eye prescription that has been unstable for the past 12 months, thin corneas, irregularly shaped eyes, severe dry eye, pre-existing eye conditions like cataract and glaucoma etc. While most people meet the criteria for laser eye treatment, there is still a handful who are deemed unsuitable due to one or more of the above stated exceptions.

Misconception 3:  Laser eye treatment gives me perfect vision (0 degree)

While we aim for full correction of your eye prescription. Often, due to differences in healing in different individuals, there may be residual prescription of 25 or 50 degrees after the surgery. Although not classified as perfect vision, 25 or 50 degrees will still provide excellent vision without glasses. The aim of a laser eye treatment is to give you good and not perfect vision after surgery.

Misconception 4: Laser eye treatment is painful

To put your mind at ease, the surgical process is relatively painless as numbing eyedrops will be instilled on the eyes before the surgery. However, as the numbing eyedrops wear off after the surgery, you will experience some discomfort and tearing. You are strongly encouraged to get as much sleep as possible to wear off the discomfort and tearing.

Misconception 5 – I am spectacles-free for the rest of my life after laser eye treatment

Laser eye treatment is a permanent solution and for most people, it enables them to be spectacles-free during the younger years. As people age, over the age of 40, they will progressively experience difficulty when focusing on near objects. This occurs when the natural lens gradually loses its elasticity as we age. By then, a pair of reading glasses will be required for near work like reading and sewing.

It is important not to let these misconceptions put you off from doing any laser eye treatments. At Atlas Eye Specialist Centre, we offer you a pre-laser evaluation to ascertain your suitability for the procedure. For more information on laser eye treatments, please contact us at +65 6737 9119 or atlaseye@atlaseye.sg.

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