Should I do LASIK on both eyes at the same time or one eye at a time?
I am considering LASIK surgery later this year. Should I do one eye at a time or both eyes at the same time? Is there a difference in recovery times or infection rates?
Dear Tong, great question and one in which you may get different answers from different surgeons.
What I can share with you is that the vast majority of cases of LASIK procedures are done with both eyes on the same sitting.
The fact is that LASIK has got a high safety record and low infection rates. Most surgeons are comfortable with performing LASIK in this manner.
The advantages of having both eyes done at the same time are that it permits both eyes to recover along similar timeframes and thus minimises the time the patient has to be away from their work commitments.
Some patients may request for one eye to be done at different days, and we are happy to accommodate their wishes.
To answer this question, let’s take a step back and look at what happened in the past.
When we first started doing LASIK, all patients were operated on, one eye at a time. Among the reasons for this were the following:
1. We were worried about infections or other serious complications, the hope being that if a complication occurred, it would only occur in one eye and not the other.
2. We were unsure about the accuracy of the lasers used. If the first eye had residual spectacle power, then doing the other eye at a different time would allow the second treatment to be adjusted as necessary to take into account any inaccuracy in the first eye.
But for perhaps the past 10 years, the vast majority of patients already have both eyes operated on at the same sitting. This is because most of the early concerns have proven to be unfounded.
The risks of serious complications like infection are extremely low, and lasers are extremely accurate nowadays.
I used to operate on patients one eye at a time until about 5 years ago, and during the latter stages never had to adjust the treatment for the second eye because there was something wrong with the treatment for the first eye.
The other reason to operate on both eyes at the same time would be for logistical reasons. If both eyes are operated on at the same time, the number of clinic visits is cut by half, therefore minimizing downtime for the typical busy patient.
All things considered, the most important factor is safety, and it is now generally considered safe enough to operate on both eyes at the same time.
Having said all that, if a patient is uncomfortable with same day surgery for both eyes, I will always be happy to do each eye for the patient on different days ie patients’ needs, concerns and priorities always come first.
Speaking from personal experience of having undergone LASIK surgery one eye at a time (sequential surgery), the main drawback of sequential surgery is the downtime.
I had LASIK surgery while I was a medical student. So far, the results are good.
Looking back, I would have opted for bilateral LASIK surgery (both eyes at the same time).
Hope that this helps!
Lasik remains an excellent option for laser vision correction.
The excellent safety record and rapid recovery times of modern laser refractive surgery means that the majority of patients undergo surgery for both eyes at the same time.
This has the advantage of according the shortest possible recovery time, and removes the need for the intervening period (where one eye is operated on, and the other is not operated on yet).
Visual recovery is rapid and certainly adequate for normal activities of daily living.
The risk of serious complications after routine refractive surgery is low, and hence most patients choose the option of having both eyes operated on at the same time.
The recovery time and infection rates are independent of whether surgery is performed on one eye, or both eyes at the same time.
Most importantly, you should discuss your concerns with your surgeon, and decide on whether sequential, or bilateral surgery is most suitable for YOU!
Best of luck in your upcoming surgery!
From someone who has undergone the blade method of LASIK, I took the plunge and did both. Fears (unfounded) of going blind if something should go wrong in the procedure.
12 years on, my eyes are still fine. With our newer technologies as outlined by our esteemed ophthalmologists above.. the outcome shouldn’t be worse off.
Good luck! (Personal anecdote only)