Home | Health | Dear Doctor
May 08, 2018

Understanding Laser Eye Surgery

Understanding Laser Eye Surgery

Image via Shutterstock

What are the benefits of laser eye surgery? How does it work? And how long does it last? Discover the answers to these, and many more, questions in this helpful Q&A.

What are the main things to consider before getting laser eye surgery?

If you are considering having laser eye surgery, the most important thing to consider, when choosing the right provider, is primarily their experience and also the level of care they give to their patients before, during and after treatment.

Your experience in the clinic is extremely important too, and remember that how the provider looks after you following your procedure should be just as important as before. Research the provider’s aftercare programme, so you can be sure you’ll receive the first-class service you deserve.

How does it work?

Laser eye surgery is a routine procedure used to improve vision helping people to see better by reducing or removing the need for prescription glasses or contact lenses.

An innovative cool beam laser is used to re-shape the outer window of the eye known as the cornea, correcting the patient’s eye prescription.

Most patients then experience improved vision in a matter of days, although full recovery can take longer depending on the patient’s natural healing speed.

Can laser eye surgery be paid for in instalments?

Yes, there are many finance options available which make laser eye surgery an affordable solution for patients.

When you take into consideration the amount of money that you spend annually on your eye tests, glasses and contact lenses, laser eye surgery is often more cost-effective.

The cost of your surgery will vary depending on what kind of treatment you require and the specifications or complexities of your prescription.  

Who is eligible for laser eye surgery?

With the state-of-the-art technology that is now available, over 85 percent of adults* are suitable for some form of life-changing laser eye surgery. This means that people who have previously been turned down for laser eye surgery in the past may now be eligible.  

Laser eye surgery is suitable for patients between the ages of 18 and 60. This life changing procedure can improve a wide range of prescriptions, including short-sightedness, long-sightedness and astigmatism.

Patients over 45 may be more suitable for lens surgery as this corrects both far and near sight.

This same technology can be used to treat people with cataracts, helping them to see the world around them clearly again.

Is there an age limit to when you can get the procedure?

Laser eye surgery treatments are available for patients who are 18 years or older. It is advised that patients wait at least until this age as, until this time, your prescription may still be changing.

Around the age of 40, our eyes start to change and we lose our ability to focus on objects close up. This is called presbyopia and is an age-related condition that affects everyone, which if not corrected can cause blurry near vision, eyestrain and headaches. Through technological advances, today’s premium intraocular lenses correct near vision to an excellent level making this the procedure of choice for many.

What are the different types of laser eye surgery?

There are two main types of laser eye surgery—LASIK and LASEK. 

LASIK is the most commonly performed procedure. A femtosecond laser is used to create an ultra-thin protective flap on the outer surface of the eye, known as the cornea. The surgeon carefully lifts this flap to reveal the inner layers of the cornea. An excimer laser is then applied to the inner layers of the cornea, before the surgeon gently repositions the flap.

An alternative laser eye surgery procedure is LASEK, which is equally effective. Following removal of the very superficial surface tissue the excimer laser is then applied closer to the outer surface of the cornea.

For some patients who are deemed unsuitable for laser eye surgery, lens surgery may be an option. Lens surgery is more commonly suited to those aged 45 and over, or those that suffer from presbyopia prior. 

How long does it take to recover after surgery?

Recovery time depends on a number of factors, including the type of surgery that the patient has had and the speed in which a patient naturally heals. The vast majority of LASIK patients notice improvement in their vision in just 24 hours; this can take longer for LASEK patients. Many people they notice an improvement to their vision immediately.

Most LASIK patients can return to work within 24-48 hours of having their surgery, for LASEK this usually takes four to seven days. 

Does the procedure hurt?

Anaesthetic drops are used prior to the procedure, so the large majority of patients do not feel any discomfort or pain. Patients may feel a bit of discomfort after the procedure and in the early stages of healing, however this is temporary or transient, lasting less than 24 hours in the vast majority of patients that have LASIK. Most patients are able to enjoy complete visual freedom in a matter of days.

Does the effect last forever?

Laser eye surgery is a permanent procedure, however it does not prevent natural ageing changes within the eye. It aims to fully remove the eye prescription present, essentially making the patient’s sight normal.

 

Optical Express has been looking after its patients and their families’ eyes for over 25 years. We provide the very best in clinical care and as the most experienced complete eye care provider in Europe; we have the optical solutions to suit your needs. From your child’s first eye test to contacts to glasses and prescription sunglasses and from laser eye surgery to lens replacement surgery, we have the vision correction option for you.

As the UK and Europe’s number one provider of laser eye surgery, you’ll find that we provide the most outstanding clinical expertise and surgical outcomes. Our advanced technology, expert surgeons and world-class patient care make us stand out from the competition.

Stephen Hannan is Clinical Services Director for Optical Express.

 

* Based on 57,346 consultations attended at Optical Express between 1st January 2017 and 31st December 2017, 85.2 percent of patients were found to be suitable for either laser eye surgery or lens replacement surgery.