How Long Does Laser Eye Surgery Take? | Cathedral Eye Clinic |

How Long Does Laser Eye Surgery Take?

Like all surgical procedures, opting to undergo eye surgery may be one of the most significant decisions you will make – with important considerations to bear in mind for your health, your lifestyle and your wallet. But how long does laser eye surgery take? And, does laser eye surgery last forever? Cathedral Eye Clinic has created an informational blog to answer all of your questions.

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How Long Does Laser Eye Surgery Take?

Eye laser surgery is widely praised for its speedy operation time and often brief recovery periods. Cathedral Eye Clinic offer a range of surgeries and other treatment options with a choice of pricing plans to suit every budget. 

However, depending on your choice of procedure (for example, Lasik or SMILE), procedure and recovery times may differ:

  • Lasik: This procedure is incredibly brief, normally requiring less than 10 minutes per eye. Depending on the severity of your eyesight impairment, the laser portion of the procedure can only take between 20 and 50 seconds. However, patients should set aside approximately 90 minutes to allow for preparation and consultation with medical staff.
  • SMILE: Because only one laser is used throughout this surgical procedure, SMILE is significantly faster than other refractive treatments. Both eyes normally require less than 15 minutes, with the lasering element of the procedure utilizing a small fraction of that period.


A Lifelong Investment

Patients of Cathedral Eye Clinic frequently ask us how long they can expect the results of their laser eye surgery to last. Indeed, it is a widely circulated myth that results from Lasik surgery, for example, may only last for a few short years. However, the truth is that this form of laser eye surgery permanently corrects your vision. This is achieved by using a laser or combination of lasers to reshape and alter the eye’s cornea, addressing any abnormalities which may be present.  

It is important to note that any imperfections in the cornea causing conditions such as short-sightedness (myopia), long-sightedness (hyperopia) or astigmatism will be effectively eliminated by laser eye surgery. However, undergoing such a procedure will not protect your eyes from a natural, gradual ageing process. This is why it should be remembered that your eyes will still be subject to change, meaning that the development of age-degenerative eyesight impairments (such as presbyopia or cataracts) may still occur. Regardless, your eyesight will never return to the state it was in prior to your Lasik procedure.

In some cases, Lasik enhancement treatment may be required if your previous surgery was unsuccessful, or if your vision undergoes significant changes over a period of time. However, the likelihood of a patient having to receive Lasik enhancement treatment is extremely low, with only 1-2% of patients requiring surgery in the first 12 months following their original procedure. This figure falls (to 1% per year) as a patient’s eye continues to develop throughout life.

Research published in the American Journal of Ophthalmology provides great insight into the long-term stability of laser eye therapy, with particular reference to Lasik. That research found that patients who received Lasik for the correction of -10.0 D myopia required further surgery to treat myopic regression in only 6% of cases. Whilst this number is small, it is also important to remember that undergoing Lasik eye laser treatment will not affect your suitability for other treatments in the future (these treatments include corneal implants and lens replacement surgery, to mention but a few).

Regardless, Cathedral Eye Clinic’s rigorous and meticulous pre-assessment examination will determine what path of treatment is best suited to you.


Does Laser Eye Surgery Last Forever?

As previously discussed, any corrections made to your eyesight following laser eye surgery will be permanent. However, as we age, natural development continues in our eyes, affecting our ability to see objects at a close distance. This degenerative process tends to begin in patients when they are aged in their mid-forties. This is an anatomical change which concerns a different part of the eye, unrelated to the cornea. For older patients suffering from such conditions, reading glasses or laser blended vision can offer attractive alternatives to Lasik eye surgery.

Another eyesight condition which may arise in later life is cataract, which can occur in patients regardless if they have undergone LASIK treatment before. In the case of cataract patients, the lens of the eye stiffens and becomes denser, eventually leading to a cloudy appearance on the surface of your eye. This significantly affects the quality of a patient’s eyesight and can be easily corrected with laser eye surgery at Cathedral Eye Clinic. Patients who have received cataract surgery must remember to tell any future surgeon of their previous surgical history in order to choose the ideal replacement lens.


Does Laser Eye Surgery Hurt? How Long Does Recovery Take?

For the vast majority of eye laser surgery patients, their procedure and recovery process is relatively painless. Local anaesthetic is applied via eye drops, enhancing patient comfort throughout. However, following their procedure, patients may feel some discomfort or inflammation around the eyes. This is a common side effect which normally subsides after a period of a week.

Patients may also experience some degree of blurred vision in the hours following the procedure. This is why Cathedral Eye Clinic recommends bringing a friend along to assist you in your journey home.

Like all medical procedures, your recovery time will largely depend on the severity of your condition and the type of surgery you are deemed suitable for:

  • Lasik: Acquiring perfect vision can take between two and seven days. However, full recovery may take up to six months.
  • SMILE: SMILE offers one of the quickest recovery period available in the world today. Healing takes place over a day or two, meaning athletes can return to their passion without delay.

The expert team at Cathedral Eye Clinic are on-hand to assist you in determining your ideal treatment.


Bring your world into focus. To hear more about our treatments, our free suitability assessments or to book a consultation, get in touch with Cathedral Eye Clinic today.

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