Laser eye surgery
Frequently Asked Questions

Your questions answered

We have put together some common questions asked about laser eye surgery by our patients in our ‘laser eye surgery FAQ’. If you do have any further queries please do not hesitate to get in touch with our expert clinical and administrative team.


Jennie Phillips, Clinic Manager, The Wimpole Street Eye Clinic

Does laser eye surgery actually work?

Laser eye surgery is a safe and highly effective treatment for short sight, long sight and astigmatism. The vast majority of patients achieve unaided binocular vision* of 6/6 (also known as 20/20 vision) with 100% of patients with myopia up to -6.00D (medium to high) achieving the minimum UK driving test standard of 6/12 (20/40).

*both eyes together, without spectacles or contact lenses


Does laser eye surgery hurt?

No. We use anaesthetic eye drops so that the procedure is painless, although you may experience a what can best be described as ‘pressure’. Most patients are amazed at how little time it takes and say it’s much easier than a trip to the dentist!

You may experience a stinging or prickling sensation as the anaesthetic eye drops wear off, and your eyes may water for a few hours after IntraLASIK. With LASEK your eyes will feel very irritable for the first 5 days (at least). Patients often compare this feeling to pre-surgery when they had their contact lenses in too long. This is normal and will last until the contact lens is removed.


Is laser eye surgery safe?

Laser eye surgery is a safe and effective treatment for short sight, long sight and astigmatism. However, as with any surgical procedure, there are associated risks and complications, although these are very rare and the vast majority resolve over time with no adverse effect on the eventual outcome. Further treatment, necessary only very rarely, can be expected to correct these residual problems.


Will I still need glasses after treatment?

Laser eye surgery is highly effective at correcting distance vision. If indicated, a simple re-treatment procedure can be carried out (after 3 months) to eliminate any residual refractive error (a small amount if myopia for example) at no extra cost. This applies to only 3-4% of our patients and is usually highly successful. Ninety six percent of patients therefore do very well after just one laser treatment. Extremely rarely, patients may be left with a small residual prescription that may require spectacles for the utmost clarity of vision.

Laser eye surgery cannot reverse the eyes natural ageing process. When we reach our mid to late 40s, we develop an age-related condition known as presbyopia, characterised by the need to wear reading glasses. It is very important to understand that presbyopia affects everyone, whether you have had laser eye surgery to correct your distance vision or not. Therefore, once you reach your mid-late 40s, it is highly likely that you WILL require reading glasses – even former RAF pilots, for example, will need reading glasses from their mid-40s onwards.


Can laser eye surgery make me go blind?

No. There have been an estimated 30 million procedures world-wide and no-one has ever gone blind as a direct result of their surgery.


Will I have to have laser eye surgery carried out again in a few years' time?

In around 3-4% of cases we perform a re-treatment (enhancement) procedure to improve the end result. This takes place around 3-6 months after the initial surgery. We are occasionally treating patients (treated anywhere) 15 years plus down the line, who have had a natural regression, which has become enough to warrant some form of correction. It is very important to understand we can only treat your current prescription. We cannot stop or prevent the natural changes you would have even without surgery (This is similar to when your optician advises you might need a tweak to your glasses or contact lenses).

Laser eye surgery cannot reverse or delay the eyes’ natural ageing process. It is particularly important to understand that those who have had surgery will still need reading glasses as they reach their mid- to late-40s, in common with normally-sighted people of that age.


Do you charge for re-treatments?

Re-treatments (if considered necessary) are free of charge within two years of the original surgery.


Why do you charge for laser eye surgery consultations?

By charging for consultations we are able to offer a comprehensive service that few other providers can match. We will run a series of specialist eye tests, after which you will meet your consultant surgeon, David Gartry, who will explain the results of the tests. He will give you entirely objective advice about whether laser eye surgery is right for you and, if so, the most appropriate treatment option to meet your needs. He will simply give you all the information you need to make your own decision, in your own time.


Do you charge for follow-up appointments?

Appointments are free of charge for 2 years. However, if you come to see Professor Gartry for another reason in this timeframe (an eye infection for example) the usual fees would apply.


Why choose David Gartry for your laser eye surgery

David Gartry was the first person in the UK to perform laser eye surgery and is probably the most experienced eye surgeon in the country. He has made a lifetime career out of ophthalmology and in addition to LASIK or LASEK he regularly performs more complex eye surgery treatments.

He has his own Corneal NHS clinic at Moorfields Eye Hospital in which he has a full team of consultants, doctors and fellows working with him. David Gartry performs a range of corneal surgery treatments both privately and for the NHS.

As such he has a vast depth of knowledge and experience beyond that of a surgeon who only specialises in laser eye surgery. We have illustrated some specific reasons as to why you should have your surgery with us. Again, if you have any questions please do get in touch as there are probably many more questions you may wish to ask.