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Laser eye surgery

Find out about the different kinds of laser eye surgery and what to expect from the procedures

Laser eye surgery uses lasers to improve your eyesight, correct vision problems or treat eye conditions.

Laser surgery can be used to correct myopia (short-sightedness), hyperopia (long-sightedness) and astigmatism (when the eye is shaped like a rugby ball). This is done reshaping the cornea of the eye.

Other eye surgeries using lasers include YAG laser capsulotomy, which is used to correct posterior capsule opacification after cataract removal, and Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT), which is used to treat glaucoma.

We can arrange a private clinical appointment for you to visit a leading Consultant ophthalmologist at Circle Health who specialises in laser eye surgery. They can assess your condition and advise you about the procedure that would be most appropriate for you.

LASIK and LASEK are two kinds of laser eye surgery that can correct your sight. They can treat myopia, short or near-sightedness, by creating a flatter cornea. Hyperopia, or long-sightedness, can also be treated to produce a steeper cornea. Astigmatism is when there are ripples or ridges in the cornea – this can also be treated with laser eye surgery by smoothing the surface. Your Consultant can help you decide on the best kind of laser eye surgery for you.   

YAG laser capsulotomy is used to restore vision after a posterior capsule opacity. Posterior capsule opacity is when a hazy membrane develops behind the artificial lens inserted during cataract surgery.   

Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty is a procedure that treats glaucoma, a condition where the optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain, becomes damaged. This is usually due to a build-up of fluid, causing pressure.   

The eye naturally changes over time and age, so a laser eye treatment now will not solve issues that arrive later. Age related near-sightedness, for example, might well arrive with time even after laser treatment. Glasses, or contact lenses, will not be required for the problems treated by laser eye surgery but might be for any that occur later like age related presbyopia.  

It is necessary to stop using contact lenses several weeks before laser eye surgery. A switch to glasses in the run-up to the treatment is required. Anaesthetic eye drops are used before the procedure to make it virtually painless.


The LASIK procedure involves using a femtosecond laser to create a protective flap on the cornea, before using an excimer laser to reshape the tissue.


The LASEK procedure takes the upper layer of the cornea off to allow the work to be done on the surface, using a excimer laser. The eye is then protected with a special contact lens as it heals.

LASEK will take a few days longer to recover from than LASIK, but it is better for those with thin corneas which make the alterations more difficult.

YAG laser capsulotomy

YAG laser capsulotomy is used to treat posterior capsule opacity. The ophthalmologist uses a laser to make a small hole in the membrane that has developed behind the artificial lens.

Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT)

During SLT, a laser is used to concentrate light on the melanin in the eye. This stimulates the white blood cells clear up the melanin and this clears any blockages in the drainage system itself.

It essentially stimulates the eye to drain better and reduce the pressure level.

The laser eye surgery recovery time can vary from person to person and depends on what kind of procedure you had. There will be some blurred vision and haziness immediately after treatment, but this should clear within a few days.   

You cannot drive immediately afterwards and will need some other transport home. You may only drive after the surgeon has given you the all-clear.   

A day off work following laser eye treatment is usually recommended. Strenuous exercise – including any heavy physical labour – is not advised in the first week after treatment as it can put stress on your eyes.   

There are minor risks to all surgical interventions involving the possibility of infection and pain. Specific to laser eye surgery, there is the risk that too much correction might be done. This is difficult to then remediate.   

There will be some eye dryness following laser eye surgery. Eye drops can be used to alleviate this, but it might last for months. If dry eyes are already a problem then laser treatment might not be a good idea.  

If you have keratoconus – a thinning of the cornea – then laser eye surgery probably will not be appropriate. Laser sight correction is likely to raise eye pressure so if this is already escalated because of glaucoma.   

Laser eye surgery is sometimes not recommended for those playing active contact sports. Blows to the head or eyes can complicate the results of the treatment.

Our 500 trusted eyecare experts offer personalised care at over 40 Circle Health centres across the UK.   

Our experts in affordable eye care offer fast access to treatment in a safe and comfortable environment.   

Your bespoke treatment will provide the best possible outcome, along with excellent value for money, to help improve your quality of life.  

What you pay will depend on the exact treatment you need. Your final price will be confirmed in writing following your consultation.

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