February 12, 2021

What Happens If My Eyes Move During Laser Eye Surgery?


Read the full NZ Herald article here

Here at the Re:Vision Auckland laser eye surgery clinic, one of the most common questions we hear from patients is “what happens if my eyes move during laser eye surgery?” 

It’s a reasonable question! It wasn’t so long ago that movement during eye correction did in fact pose a problem, before laser technology became the normal and eye correction operations were completed by hand. Thankfully, this is no longer the case. Modern tools have eliminated much of the risk that previous eye surgeons have had to manage through history. To find out more, read on.

The evolution of eye correction

The biggest change in the world of laser eye correction over the past few decades has been the introduction of the ‘excimer’ laser. First created at the Lebedev Physical Institute in Moscow in 1970, the excimer laser allows the surgeon to carry out very precise adjustments without causing any heating to surrounding tissue. This means that the laser is capable of reshaping the deeper tissue of the eye without affecting the rest of the eye around it. 

As time has gone on, strict testing and continued research have produced more and more accurate excimer lasers, such as the one we use here at Re:Vision—the German-engineered, Schwind 1050 excimer laser. This is considered by experts to be one of the most advanced lasers in the world, as it completely eliminates the potential for human error.

When the excimer laser was first introduced, it was typically used in combination with a small incision still performed by hand, which created a flap in the cornea for the laser to pulse through. However, these days even that step of the procedure is able to be completed without your surgeon holding onto anything sharp.

‘Bladeless’ sight correction

Since around 1999, the excimer laser has been used in conjunction with a second laser—called a femtosecond laser—which is capable of creating the flap that was once made by a scalpel. You may even have noticed that a lot of newer procedures are ‘bladeless’ and don’t make any incisions at all. 


One of the key advantages of using a laser-only approach is the application of another new technology called ‘eye-tracking’. This allows the lasers to follow the eye if it moves, and keeps all parts of the procedure calibrated to a precise location.

Does this mean that the eyes can move during a laser procedure?

Put simply, yes! There’s no need to worry about your eye moving during LASIK, as eye-tracking technology is able to photograph the eye around a thousand times per second, and the computer compares every image to the last to analyse whether or not the eye has moved. This helps the laser adjust to make sure it’s still treating the exact spot it was before, down to a thousandth of a millimetre. 

While this isn’t a licence to move your eye as much as you can during the surgery, you can still do so sparingly without major adverse effects. It’s thought that the eye can’t move fast enough to overcome the speed of the laser’s adjustment, but it’s also worth remembering that eye-tracking is best at accounting for the small, subtle, automatic movements the eye makes by itself all the time.

Safe laser eye surgery with Re:Vision

Ready to reclaim your vision, but nervous about the process? We can answer any and all of your questions or concerns, so talk to us today about your compatibility with LASIK surgery! Give yourself the gift of 20/20 vision this year, starting with a free consultation and enjoy the hassle free years ahead with no glasses or contact lenses!

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