The idea of any surgery, no matter how big or small, can be daunting. Laser eye surgery may seem like a scary option, your eyes are precious, but in reality, the procedure time is a lot shorter than people think.
The duration of a surgery of any kind cannot be predicted 100% accurately. Like a sports match, a surgery may go into overtime if unexpected findings force a change in the procedure; requiring extra time to complete. Of course, this can work both ways and surgery may be shorter than usual.
Methods of estimating surgery length:
- Surgeon Estimate. These can be too short or too long, depending on how many surgeries need to be performed that day - common amongst hospitals and busier environments.
- Analysis of Historical Care Durations. If the surgery has been completed many times before these results will show recommended procedure times and estimates.
- Combine Surgeon Estimate and Historical Data. To create new estimates (if procedures change/new equipment is introduced).
- Adjust for Case Complexity. Depending on whether a client’s surgery is simple, average, or complex will determine the duration of the procedure.
- A combination of the above.
How long does Laser Eye Surgery take?
An appointment for laser eye surgery patients is an hour, but the entire procedure usually takes less than 10 minutes (a few minutes per eye) depending on your prescription and the amount of correction needed. The laser used during surgery only takes a swift 20-50 seconds to correct your eyesight.
Pre-surgery checks take up the rest of the time in an appointment slot to ensure 100% accuracy during surgery.
Cataract surgery (the extraction of the lens from the eye) was performed 4.3 million times in the EU in 2014, making it the most common surgical procedure. 300,000 cataract surgeries are carried out on the NHS each year. This surgery takes 10-15 minutes to complete.
Common surgeries and their durations:
To put the average laser eye surgery procedure time of 10 minutes for both eyes into perspective, here are the average times of other common surgeries:
- Appendectomy (having your appendix removed): 30 mins-1hour. 15 minutes actually removing the appendix and other time spent on pre-op.
- Tonsillectomy (having your tonsils removed): 30 to 45 minutes.
- Wisdom Teeth Extraction: 20 minutes. Some procedures may take a few minutes and others considerably longer depending on the case.
- Caesarean Birth (delivering a baby via C-Section): 40-50 minutes.
For more information on how long laser eye surgery takes view our FAQ's here.