Laser eye surgery has been fixing vision problems and changing lives for decades. However, as with many things in life, it can come with both pros and cons. If you’re considering laser eye surgery, it is useful to prepare yourself with the knowledge of the pros and cons of laser eye surgery before you undergo the actual procedure.


The Pros and Cons of Laser Eye Surgery

This is a generalised list of the pros and cons of laser eye surgery. Your refractive surgeon will ultimately be the one to advise you on whether laser eye surgery is appropriate for you and, if so, which technique is the safest and most suitable. Any specific questions you may have about how your eyes, vision problems, and lifestyle may be impacted by laser eye surgery should be directed to your surgeon or family optometrist. Here are some of the pros and cons of laser eye surgery.


Pro: You won’t need to depend on glasses or contact lenses as often anymore 

The purpose of laser eye surgery is to permanently correct the vision problems caused by refractive errors such as short-sightedness, long-sightedness, or astigmatism. This means that after a successful operation, your sight will be clear enough to see and function without needing to rely on external optical aids such as your spectacles or contacts.


Con: You may still require glasses eventually

drawbacks eye laser procedure melbourneIf you undergo laser eye surgery to correct your distance sight, while you may enjoy a sharp sight for long-distance activities, your near sight will eventually decline. This is a normal characteristic of ageing called presbyopia and usually manifests around the mid-40s. Your distance sight may still continue to be clear, but you will end up needing reading glasses. If you have laser eye surgery at an older age to correct both distance and near sight, such as Presbyond, there may still be some activities for which you prefer to sharpen your sight with glasses, such as driving long distances at night.


Pro: Laser eye surgery has a high rate of success with a low rate of complications

Most research will quote a success rate of around 98% for refractive surgeries such as LASIK. The operation is typically quick and painless, with most operations completed in as short as 10-15 minutes per eye. Though the definition of “success” can be variable, most studies will use the criteria as visual acuity, that is at least 6/7.5.


Con: There is still always a risk of side effects or a complication

Although a 2% complication rate is very low, it still exists. Potential complications can be dependent on the type of operation you had, such as LASIK versus PRK or SMILE. Risks can include infection or prolonged inflammation, under- or over-correcting your prescription, dry eyes, haloes, and glare, or complications with the corneal flap created during LASIK. Most of these complications can be managed with appropriate treatment but may prolong your healing process.



Pro: The recovery period is relatively short

The exact duration of your recovery period is dependent on a few factors, including the type of laser surgery you had, your body’s response to wound healing, and whether you encountered any complications. Compared to LASIK and SMILE, PRK surgery tends to have a longer healing process. However, this is typically no more than about a month. Most people are able to return to activities such as deskwork or light exercise within a week.


Con: Refractive surgery won’t fix vision problems due to other eye diseases 

A number of conditions can affect your sight in addition to refractive error. These can include health conditions affecting the cornea, such as keratoconus or corneal scarring from infection or injury; retinal conditions, including age-related macular degeneration or retinal detachment; and even other diseases, such as lazy eye (amblyopia) or cataract. While laser surgery will address blurry sight due to short-sightedness, long-sightedness, and astigmatism, if your sight is limited by other vision problems, you should expect limited results.


Pro: There are a number of different techniques so that more people can access laser eye surgery

Though many patients think of laser eye surgery as being synonymous with LASIK, there are actually a few different methods, each with their own pros, cons, and eligibility criteria.

advantages treatment laser eye melbourneIn addition to LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis), there is also PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) and SMILE (small incision lenticule extraction).

Going even beyond laser surgery procedures, other refractive surgery options include refractive lens exchange and implantable Collamer lenses.

These procedures may be suitable for those who are ineligible for laser-based refractive surgeries.


Con: Despite the suite of refractive surgery techniques, you may still be unsuitable

Your surgeon may advise you against undergoing refractive surgery for a number of reasons, mainly due to safety or the likelihood of success. Patients with very thin corneas or corneas compromised by a condition such as a keratoconus may be unsuitable for such operations. If you have severe dry eye or a history of recurrent corneal infections, it may not be safe for you to undergo any of these refractive procedures.


When weighing up whether laser refractive surgery is worth it for you, it’s important to consider both the pros and cons. The financial cost of surgery is another factor – for some, the higher upfront cost is a con, while for others, no longer having the ongoing costs of maintaining glasses and contact lenses can be a pro.

Call us today on 03 9000 0389 for an eye assessment.



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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