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It’s logical to worry about the risks of laser vision correction. One common concern is whether it’s possible for laser eye surgery to cause blindness. Thankfully, the chances of going blind as a result of laser eye surgery are very tiny indeed.

A low-risk procedure

Allon Barsam during laser eye surgery

Laser eye surgery is an extremely safe procedure, albeit one that carries a small chance of minor, temporary side effects such as dry eyes. You can read more about the risks associated with laser eye surgery here.

One reason why there are fewer risks associated with this form of surgery is that it’s bladeless; by making incisions using a laser instead of a surgical instrument, the chances of infection are greatly reduced. These days, state-of-the-art technology is employed to make laser eye surgery even safer and more precise; at Allon Barsam’s clinics, a pupil tracking device follows the movement of your eyes, to ensure accuracy and safety. It will stop the procedure automatically if necessary.

Putting it into perspective

It’s estimated that the chances of going blind as a result of laser eye surgery are around 1 in 5 million.

To put that in perspective, you are more than twice as likely to get 5 numbers plus the bonus ball in the National Lottery (calculated at a 1 in 2,330,636 chance) than you are to go blind because of a laser eye procedure.

If, through an extremely unfortunate series of events, a laser eye procedure were to cause blindness, it’s unlikely that both eyes would be affected, as these are operated on separately. So, even in that 1-in-5-million scenario, it’s improbable that you would lose your sight entirely.

Contact lens risks

It’s instructive to compare the risks associated with wearing contacts with the risks of laser eye surgery. Unfortunately, your chances of going blind as a result of wearing contact lenses are far higher than the risk of blindness from laser eye surgery.

Recent research from UCL and Moorfields Eye Hospital revealed that the risk of Acanthamoeba keratitis from contact lenses has increased significantly since 2011. The infection, which can cause blindness, currently affects 2.5 in 100,000 contact lens wearers in South East England – making it 125 times more likely that you would contract it than suffer blindness following laser eye correction.

How to make it safer

It’s good to feel in control, especially when you are about to undergo surgery. So if you are still worried that despite the infinitesimal odds, laser eye surgery might make you blind, there are some positive things you can do to reduce your risk even further.

  • Choose a surgeon with the right experience and credentials.
  • Follow all their instructions to take care of your eyes before and after surgery.
  • Stay healthy in general; get plenty of exercise and eat a healthy diet.

Want to know more about what laser vision correction involves? Read our information on laser eye surgery to understand the procedure in more depth.