What results can I expect from laser eye surgery?

To understand what is meant by results, it is best to break these down into various components.

  1. Visual improvement: This is what everyone wishes – good vision without glasses. The answer is the vast majority of those who undergo laser eye surgery by an experienced consultant eye surgeon at a well-established organization with a long track record. Perfect vision or 20/20 also known as 6/6 (20 in feet and 6 in meters) is obtained in most patients and indeed up to 85% can obtain even better vision at 20/15 (fighter pilot vision). Current technology has made a considerable leap forward compared to the lasers used 30 years ago. Fine aberrations can be measured and eyes can be tracked in multiple directions ensuring accurate laser placement
  2. Reduced Dependence on Glasses or Contact Lenses: Laser eye surgery does reduce and even eliminates the need for glasses or contact lenses in most cases. This can greatly improve quality of life and convenience for individuals who were previously dependent on corrective eyewear. Those in their forties might find reading a problem. There are laser eye surgery options like Supracor which can correct the need for reading glasses (presbyopia). Suitability for this type of multifocal correction requires careful evaluation and selection and needs to be performed by eye surgeons with expertise and experience in this area
  3. Long-Term Stability: For most patients, the results of laser eye surgery are stable over the long term. A few patients might experience minor changes in vision over time, particularly as they age and this is not because the laser eye surgery has “worn off” but rather the crystalline lens inside the eye becomes hard and in doing so can contribute to a power change in the eye. The majority of patients experience no change with good long-term stability.
  4. Safety: Laser eye surgery is safe and highly effective. In the hands of a good surgeon at a center of repute with current technology and high standards, the risk of any problems is less than 1:10,000. There are some reports that indicate the use of contact lenses runs a lifetime risk of a visually threatening condition of 1:100 – 100X the risk. Look for an organization that places considerable value on safety.
  5. Patient Satisfaction: Numerous studies have shown high levels of patient satisfaction with laser eye surgery. The vast majority of patients report being happy with their decision to undergo the procedure and with the resulting improvement in their vision. Many exclaim it is the best money they have ever spent and just wished they had the procedure earlier.


  1. Chua D, Htoon HM, Lim L, Chan CM, Mehta JS, Tan DTH, Rosman M. Eighteen-year prospective audit of LASIK outcomes for myopia in 53 731 eyes. Br J Ophthalmol. 2019 Sep;103(9):1228-1234. doi: 10.1136/bjophthalmol-2018-312587. Epub 2018 Oct 24. PMID: 30355717. (This huge review of a very large population of patients reviewed after 18 years of treatment proved laser eye surgery was safe, effective, and stable long term)
  2. Kezirian, G.M., et al., Prevalence of laser vision correction in ophthalmologists who perform refractive surgery. J Cataract Refract Surg, 2015. 41(9): p. 1826-32. (This study demonstrated 62.6% of laser eye surgeons who were suitable for laser eye surgery had the procedure themselves)

Authored by: Sheraz Daya MD FACP FACS FRCS(Ed) FRCOphth Consultant and Medical Director, Centre for Sight