The turn of the new millennium marked a relative explosion in the popularity of laser eye surgery operations. This growth has undoubtedly been attributable to the reduced cost of the procedure, the relative simplicity of the operation, the relatively mild after-effects and the positive results, which many recipients of the operation have reported as being astonishing, in terms of vision improvement. As a direct consequence, many new clinics have opened and it is now even possible to find internet comparison sites that compare the cost of laser eye treatment.

Historically, people suffering from the relatively common eye problems of long-sightedness, short-sightedness and astigmatism have had to rely on the provision of prescription spectacles or contact lenses to remedy the consequential effects on the quality of their vision. One of the drawbacks of this type of intervention, quite apart from the cosmetic issue, is that these conditions tend to deteriorate progressively, requiring stronger prescriptions as the years go by.

By LASIK of contrast, laser eye surgery (also known as refractive surgery) involves the creation, through the employment of a laser, of a flap in the cornea of the patient by an eye surgeon. Through skilful manipulation of the corneal flap, the surgeon is able to re-model the shape of the cornea, thereby resolving the types of eye disorder referred to above and achieving palpable improvements in the patient’s visual acuity. The effects of laser eye surgery are permanent. However, many people will find that their eyes undergo changes with the passage of time. Many surgeons suggest that it is better to wait until these changes have had time to take place before embarking on laser eye surgery. The operation is not performed an anyone younger than the age of 18 and many surgeons set the age of 21 as the lower limit. There is no official upper age limit, so long as the general health and eye health of the patient is good, although many specialists do not recommend laser eye surgery for anyone over the age of 70.

The procedure can be undertaken on one eye at a time or both together and patients have reported an immediate improvement in their vision, with relatively little discomfort.

Although the cost of the operation is falling all the time, it is still a relatively expensive undertaking. Some of the larger clinics offer instalment payment options to the patient, easing the financial burden somewhat. When set against the cost, potentially over a period of many years, of renewing spectacles and/or contact lenses, the cost of surgery may not be as high as it initially seems. The increase in self-esteem for those who are sensitive to the wearing of glasses is a factor that cannot be calculated financially.