Modern laser eye surgery has been around for 30 years, but people still remain hesitant despite the success rate reports Candice Jackson

Can you imagine having a laser pointed at your eye? At 42-years-old, Annalies Long did just that, and the 15-minute surgery means she won’t view the world from behind glasses anymore.

“I walked out of the surgery and straight away I could see street signs and number plates and I’ve never been able to do that before, it was bizarre,” she says. Long says it really sunk in the morning after the surgery when she went to put her glasses on and realised she no longer needed them. “The lasers sound quite dreadful, but they’re not and you’re much better off financially by not having to buy new glasses, contacts or upgrading prescriptions,” she says.

The Lasik eye procedure achieves better than 20/20 vision overnight. Refractive Surgeon Dr Peter Beckingsale at Brisbane’s Laser Sight clinic eliminates the need for glasses and contacts for more than 500 Lasik procedure clients every year. He says young, short-sighted people are the most common to receive the Lasik procedure, with a majority of clients admitting to working up the courage after thinking about it for years.

A laser is used for 15 seconds on each eye to create a thin flap on the cornea and a cool beam laser is used to correct the refractive error, which can be between five and 25 seconds depending on a person’s prescription.Dr Beckingsale likens the feeling of the lasers to pressing a finger on a closed eyelid and promises a much nicer experience than visiting the dentist.“There’s a perception that it’s a cosmetic procedure, but functionally people can do things again that most people take for granted, like reading an alarm clock in the morning,” he says.

Every medical procedure has risks and Dr Beckingsale says the chances of long-term infection or loss of vision are exceptionally small, whereas dry eyes or halos in night vision are more common short-term effects, with an enhancement procedure sometimes needed to further correct sight for patients.