We asked Alex Shortt to address the rumour of a burning smell during laser eye surgery
Interviewer: Will I smell burning during laser eye surgery?
Alex Shortt: That’s a really common question, and the answer is, there is a smell during LASIK, and LASEK, types of laser eye surgery, but it’s not burning.
These lasers are cold. There’s no heat involved. It’s ultraviolet light, which vaporizes the tissue, but without heat. The smell is, actually, the carbon atoms that are released from the effect of the laser. So although you might perceive it as burning, your eye is not burning.
Interviewer: That’s good to know.
Alex Shortt: But the other thing, we now have a newer type of laser eye surgery called ReLEx SMILE, and it works in a slightly different way. There’s absolutely no smell, no sound, and in general, it’s a more pleasant experience than our other types of laser eye surgery.
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