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What Are the Chances of Laser Eye Surgery Going Wrong?

Vision correction surgery can be used to improve your eyesight. The procedure most commonly used to improve a person’s eyesight is called laser eye surgery. 

Laser eye surgery is generally considered to be a safe and effective procedure. According to data from the NHS, around one in ten people will require further surgery to fine-tune the initial procedure’s results. The most common side effects are usually short-term, minor and treatable. However, laser eye surgery can still carry a number of risks, especially when the surgeon performing the procedure is lacking in experience, or is negligent in performing their duties. 

Here, Cosmetic Surgery Solicitors takes a look at the risks associated with laser eye surgery and how likely it is for something to go wrong during the procedure, and provides advice on how the patient can minimise these risks.

What does laser eye surgery involve? 

There are three methods for the ophthalmologist (a medical expert who is able to carry out laser eye surgery) doing the procedure, all of which function by changing the shape of your cornea in order to improve your vision. The cornea is accessed differently in each method.

  • LASIK - creating a flap which heals over
  • SMILE - extracting a layer through small incisions made in the top layers of the eye
  • Surface laser treatments - removing the top layer of the eye

Each treatment is appropriate for treating a certain kind of visual impairment, and none of them require stitches as the eye heals itself naturally. Depending on the kind of vision issues you are experiencing, an ophthalmologist can advise you on the best technique for you.

What are the risks involved with laser eye surgery?

There are various risks associated with laser eye surgery. The chances of complications developing are low, but it is important to recognise these issues in case they arise. Here are some of the risks involved: 

  • Partial loss of vision
  • Higher-order aberrations - imperfections of the eye that result in light being unable to focus onto the retina effectively
  • Ptosis - upper eyelid drooping
  • Infection 
  • Corneal haze - cloudy vision
  • Dryness of the eye
  • Astigmatism - condition caused by irregularities in the corneal shape, resulting in less focused vision
  • Subconjunctival haemorrhage - bleeding on the eye
  • Corneal ectasia - the cornea bulges and flattens out, which can lead to blindness if left untreated

The compensation claim rate across clinics in the UK is around 5%, so the risk of receiving negligent treatment is low. However, it is vital that you conduct research into the procedure beforehand and ensure that your surgeon is the most competent person for the job. 

How to minimise risks when undergoing laser eye surgery

The procedure itself is down to your surgeon, but it is important that you avoid the most common pitfalls.

Choose a clinic with a good reputation

Enquire about the success and complication rates at each clinic you consider. Ensure the facility you choose does not have a greater complication rate than the national average of less than 5% after laser eye surgery. You should not waste your time and consideration on a facility that will not reveal its complication rate.

Reading patient evaluations on unbiased websites is another way to assess a clinic's skill. Look at what previous clients of the clinic have to say about the facility and the manner in which they were treated, not just by the surgeon, but also other staff members. What kind of follow-up did they receive?

Choose a highly qualified and experienced surgeon

Ask your laser eye surgeon as many questions as you can regarding the process, their training and expertise. To determine whether your surgeon is qualified for the position, you might ask them the following questions:

  • How much training have you had in laser eye surgery?
  • How many procedures do you perform every year?
  • What is your success rate for the procedure I am about to undergo?
  • Do you have a Certificate of Competence from the Royal College of Ophthalmologists?

What should I do if my laser eye surgery has gone wrong?

You should seek medical assistance as soon as you think your surgery has gone wrong. Make sure to see a new doctor for a diagnosis if you think that your original surgeon's mistakes during the procedure were to blame. They will be able to let you know if there are any issues with your operation and may even be able to give you advice on whether or not the procedure was performed according to the required standards.

When the surgeons performing your procedure act with negligence, the possibilities of problems after laser eye surgery are increased. As a result, they have failed to uphold the duty of care that all medical professionals have to you.

You may be eligible to file a medical negligence claim if a medical professional caused your suffering by failing to follow the standards established for medical care procedures by UK law. By doing this, you'll be able to receive compensation for your suffering and have the money for any further care or support you need.

Despite the high success rate of laser eye surgery, the experts at Cosmetic Surgery Solicitors has a lot of experience handling cases of careless treatment and can support your claim for compensation. We will work with you to gather proof that backs up your claim, demonstrates your suffering, and shows that the irresponsible party is to blame.

It is extremely important that you consider making a laser eye surgery compensation claim, as it will help you to cover the costs of the necessary help and support you need following your negligent surgery, which may be expensive. Contact our team today for a free consultation and we will help you to understand your situation and options.

Call Cosmetic Surgery Solicitors today on 0808 271 3278, or fill out an online contact form to arrange a call back at a time that suits you.

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Mike Saul


Michael Saul is a partner at Cosmetic Surgery Solicitors, where he brings his extensive specialist legal expertise and passion for helping people to the forefront of his work. With a proven track record of success in cosmetic surgery negligence cases, Michael has dedicated his career to providing clients with the highest level of representation and achieving favourable outcomes.

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