Risks, benefits and cost of eye laser surgery

Before getting eye laser treatment or surgery to correct vision problems, eye expert Dr. Victor Derhartunian helps us understand side effects, operations in India and South East Asia and the many benefits of this procedure.

Our eyes are put under more pressure and strain these days than never before. We spend long hours in front of computer screens at work and of tablets, smart phones and ebooks back at home. It is therefore no surprise than more and more people suffer from vision problems.

Dr. Victor Derhartunian of the prestigious EYELASER Augenlaser Praxis clinic in Vienna explains everything you need to know about eye laser treatments and surgery.

What are the advantages of eye laser treatments?

There are four main advantages to getting eye laser treatment:

1. Your life quality is increased as you no longer need to wear contact lenses or glasses. You have a higher risk of catching a contact lens related infection by wearing contact lenses than during the surgery.

2. Laser eye corrections have proven to be safe and effective. However, like any other medical treatment, it is important to chose an experienced and qualified surgeon.

3. The procedure is quick - it lasts less tan 10 minutes - and is generally painless. The laser is computer guided, which means that it‘s very precise and results are very accurate.

4. With laser eye treatments, it is posible to correct most levels of myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (fairsightedness) and astigmatism.

What are the disadvantages, if any, of getting an eye laser treatment?

In some cases, especially in people with large pupils the night vision might get worse. Also due to individual healing, the results might vary from patient to patient (overcorrection or undercorrection ). However in most cases an enhancement is possible.

In general, laser eye surgery causes mostly only transitional dry-eye symptoms. To avoid this, it‘s necessary to moisturize the ocular surface.
It should also be noted that not everybody is a candidate for laser surgery, hence a careful selection is required!

Which is the most effective eye laser surgery?

We differentiate 2 big groups depending on the technique used:

Techniques without a cut(PRK/LASEK/no-touch-PRK): reserved for people with thinner corneas, low visual defects and for corneas with certain irregularities. There is no need for corneal lamellar cut but a severe postoperative pain is a side effect. Due to prolonged healing a good vision might take up to 3-4 months. Its main advantage is a lower cost.

Techniques with a cut (Lasik/femto-Lasik): higher corrections are possible. Patients have a rapid visual rehabilitation and good vision is possible even several hours following the surgery. Some complications may occur related to the corneal lamellar (flap). Using the femtosecond laser technology those complications have been drastically decreased.

How much do eye laser treatments cost on average?

The price varies of course from country to country. Usually the simple surface treatement is cheaper than the advanced femtosecond laser technology. The prices vary between 1000-3000 € per eye.

Why do some countries such as India, Malaysia and the Philippines offer eye laser treatments for very low prices?

In those countries the labour is cheaper than in western world. Also in South East Asia the volume of treated patients is much higher, which decreases the cost of equipment per treated eye.

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