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What side effects might I experience in the days and weeks following a laser eye operation?

Having laser eye surgery in the UK is relatively safe with thousands of patients enjoying the benefits of the procedure each year. However, as with most forms of surgery, laser eye treatment can have side effects and complications. These range from mild temporary symptoms to major, possibly life changing conditions.

The most common side effects of laser operations are of the mild variety, and include a burning or itching sensation in the days following surgery. You may also experience blurred or hazy vision, as well as an increased sensitivity to light. These issues should last no longer than a few days. You should contact your surgeon if they do.

A side effect that may be longer lasting, and sometimes permanent in nature, is eye dryness. This can be effectively treated with eye drops, and shouldn't pose any real problems. Modern laser operations are less likely to cause this unwanted effect than older techniques.

A more serous long term condition caused by laser eye operations are night or low light disturbances. Patients may develop night glare or halos, which can pose a problem when driving. Although this side effect is relatively common, most patients only experience a mild or temporary variety.

Laser eye patients may also find that the operation simply hasn't proved entirely unsuccessful. As laser eye surgery is not an exact science, it's possible for the surgeon to over or under correct the condition, or cause an eye imbalance. This is why it's so important to choose the best surgeon you can afford. The more experienced the surgeon, the less likely this will happen.

Laser eye operations can also cause scarring on the eye, thereby making the patient's vision actually worse than before the surgery. This can sometimes be corrected but not in all cases. Although, this is very rare, it's something to bear in mind, particularly if your job or lifestyle is dependant on being able to see clearly.

In the UK, a number of exclusions exist preventing certain people from having laser eye operations. These include children under age of fifteen, pregnant women, and people with existing medical conditions such as autoimmune diseases. These exclusions are in place to prevent those with a high risk of complications from receiving treatment. Although, you can bypass these exclusions by having eye correction abroad, you should ask yourself whether it's worth the risk? And the answer has to be no.

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