Young woman eye

What happens if I blink during laser eye surgery?

  • Some involuntary movement is not a problem
  • Lasers used at Moorfields Private use sophisticated eye-tracking systems that follow eye movements with absolute precision
  • Any movement outside the safe tracking range will cause the laser to stop automatically

It’s common to worry about moving or blinking during laser eye surgery procedure; some involuntary movement is not a problem as your consultant can stop and start whenever you need a break. During refractive surgery they will hold the eye still as required, and the lasers used have powerful tracking systems to follow the movements of your eye.

At the start of your treatment, you will receive anaesthetic eye drops. These numb the eyes, make them feel more comfortable and reduce the need to blink. Special adhesive drapes are then used to tape the eyelashes out of the way and a gentle eyelid retainer keeps the lids open. So, blinking during surgery is not a problem.

During surgery, one eye will be covered, and you’ll be asked to look up at a green/red flashing fixation light with the operated eye - as if ‘gazing at a star on the horizon’. You can help surgery go quickly and smoothly by remaining focused on the flashing light.

The state-of-the-art lasers used incorporate sophisticated three-dimensional eye-tracking systems that follow eye movements during treatment with absolute precision. Any movement outside the safe tracking range will cause the laser to stop automatically. That’s handy if you feel the need to cough, sneeze, or move your head. You can also talk during the procedure and request a break whenever you need it.

Similarly, with intraocular surgery such as refractive lens implant surgery, the surgeon is normally able to react to and accommodate any movement during surgery, and our anaesthetists will ensure that you are relaxed and comfortable.

To help your surgery go quickly and smoothly, all you need to do is look straight up to the target light and try to keep your head reasonably still once in position. Your surgeon will talk you through the treatment, warning you in advance of what you are going to experience and see so nothing comes as a surprise to you. and most patients comment that it was a lot easier than they thought it would be.

Vincenzo, Maurino

Written in association with

Mr Vincenzo Maurino

Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

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