How long does laser eye surgery take? If you’re one of the hundreds who are considering laser vision correction every year, you may be interested to know the answer to this. Laser eye surgery is considered to be a quick and effective way of correcting your vision and ridding yourself of your dependency on glasses and contact lenses. To find out more about laser vision correction and the answer to how long does laser eye surgery take, keep reading. 


How Does Laser Eye Surgery Work?

Laser vision correction is a type of refractive surgery. As the name suggests, during laser eye surgery, your eye surgeon uses a laser tool to surgically alter the shape of your eye to provide you with sharp sight. In refractive ophthalmology, the laser tools used are either an excimer or a femtosecond laser. During a laser vision correction procedure, the tissue targeted for reshaping is the cornea, the transparent front surface of the eyeball. By modifying the curvature of this structure, your eye surgeon can redirect the passage of light so that it comes to focus on the right spot on the retina.

There are a few types of laser eye surgery procedures, including:

  • LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis)
  • PRK (photorefractive keratectomy)
  • SMILE (small incision lenticule extraction)

There are also other methods, which are subtle variations of those listed above. In addition to laser eye surgery, other refractive procedures include refractive lens exchange or implantable Collamer lenses. These operations don’t involve reshaping the cornea.



How Long Does Laser Eye Surgery Take?

The answer to this question can depend on a few factors. These include the expertise of your eye surgeon and his or her supporting clinical team, as well as the particular technique of laser eye surgery you’re having. Despite this, the operating time does not vary significantly. 

Your eye surgeon will most likely recommend you allow up to 2 hours at the clinic for your laser vision correction appointment. Although the actual time spent under the laser is a matter of minutes, the 2 hours involve preparing you for your laser eye surgery operation, including anaesthetising your eyes and getting you comfortable in the operating chair. 


So, how long does laser eye surgery take?

For LASIK, most people can expect to have both their eyes treated within 10 minutes. Those with a very high prescription that requires more corneal tissue removal with the laser will take longer compared to people with a lower script. During LASIK, the surgeon will cut a hinged flap out of the cornea using either a manual instrument or a femtosecond laser. When this flap is opened, the excimer laser is then able to work on the lower layers to reshape this structure. At the end of the procedure, your surgeon will reposition the flap.

The time taken for PRK laser eye surgery is similar to that for LASIK – around 10 minutes for both eyes. However, unlike LASIK, PRK doesn’t require cutting out a flap. Instead, your surgeon will use either a manual instrument or a chemical solution to remove the outermost cells known as the epithelium. After this step, the excimer laser may be applied to the deeper layers for reshaping. The epithelial layer naturally regenerates during the recovery period. 

SMILE is the newest laser vision correction technique. Unlike PRK and LASIK, the SMILE procedure allows your surgeon to reshape the cornea without disturbing the outer layers. This is achieved by using a femtosecond laser to create a disc, or lenticule, out of the inner tissues, which is then extracted through a keyhole incision. In total, you can expect to spend around 20 minutes in the operating room. However, the femtosecond laser typically only needs about 28 seconds per eye to create the lenticule. 


Am I Suitable for Laser Eye Surgery?

With the array of techniques available, more people are now eligible to undergo laser vision correction. Determining whether laser eye surgery is appropriate for you, and which procedure would be the most suitable, is best done with your eye surgeon after a comprehensive examination. During this appointment, your surgeon will consider:

  • Your age. Those under the age of 18 are advised against having refractive surgery. Patients older than 50 may benefit more from a different technique, such as refractive lens exchange. expectation treatment eye laser melbourne
  • How stable your prescription is. Usually, your surgeon will want to see that your script has been unchanged for at least the last year or two.
  • Your corneal thickness. As laser vision correction requires the removal of corneal tissue, it’s important to ensure you have enough, to begin with. If you have insufficient corneal thickness for LASIK, you may be offered PRK instead. If your corneas are still too thin for PRK, you may be offered a non-laser technique, such as implantable Collamer lenses.
  • Your prescription. LASIK, PRK, and SMILE can treat a very wide range of prescriptions from moderate hyperopia (long-sightedness) to high myopia (short-sightedness), as well as astigmatism. At the moment, SMILE is not suitable for hyperopia or astigmatism. 
  • Your overall ocular health. Laser surgery can only correct the sight that’s affected by your prescription. If you have limited sight due to other conditions, such as amblyopia (lazy eye), cataract, or an eye injury, refractive surgery cannot fix this.


Call us now on 03 9000 0389 for a consultation.



Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.





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