Laser Eye Surgery and Vision Correction

Are you considering vision correction and thinking what eye surgery type would be right for you? Would you like to know more about the procedure and how to choose the best provider? In this article, Moorfields Private and Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust Consultants answer some of the most common patient questions.

What are the different types of vision correction?
“Laser eye surgery involves precise reshaping of the cornea to very accurately correct short sight (myopia), long sight (hyperopia), and astigmatism. For this procedure you should be at least 18 years old, your eyes must be healthy and your prescription stable.

“Implantable contact lenses are soft, flexible implants which sit within the eye between the natural lens and the iris. It’s a bit like having permanent contact lenses that you never have to take out, clean or think about. To be suitable for this treatment, you need to be over 21 years old with a stable prescription for glasses. The surgery is reversible, and the lens can be removed at any stage, for example, if cataract surgery is required later in life.

“Refractive lens exchange, also known as lens replacement surgery, involves replacing the natural lens inside the eye with a synthetic implant called an intraocular lens. This procedure can also improve vision for those suffering from cataracts. It is suitable for patients aged 50 or over, though younger patients can be considered in some cases, and with a glasses prescription higher than the normal range for laser eye surgery.” (Mr Bruce Allan, Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon)

Can I have both eyes treated on the same day?
“It is common practice to have both eyes treated at the same time. Occasionally, a single eye could be treated as needed. With laser eye surgery, patients are usually in the laser room for about twenty minutes to have both eyes done.” (Mr Alexander Ionides, Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon)

What are the risks of laser eye surgery?
“Serious complications following laser eye surgery are rare – less than 1 in 5000 patients require further treatment following an infection or an abnormal healing response after their laser eye surgery.” (Mr Sajjad Ahmad, Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon)

Is laser eye surgery suitable for all spectacle prescriptions and for patients with underlying eye conditions?
“Laser refractive surgery range is approximately up to -10 dioptres short-sighted (myopia) and +4 dioptres long-sighted (hypermetropia), the average being around -4 and +2 respectively. Some prescriptions are more difficult to treat, for example high astigmatism, and suitability depends on a series of tests carried out at the initial consultation.

Patients with underlying eye conditions (for example glaucoma, diabetes, lazy eye and squint) may be eligible for laser refractive surgery and every patient should be assessed carefully and advised accordingly. Where laser eye surgery is not possible there are often alternatives such as refractive lens exchange or implantable contact/collamer lenses (ICLs).” (Professor David Gartry, Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon)

What will I feel during laser eye surgery?
“Vision correction procedures, including laser eye surgery, are performed under local anaesthetic drops that completely numb the surface of the eye. You may briefly feel a sensation of pressure on your eye, a feeling similar to wearing a tight pair of swimming goggles.” (Mr Martin Watson, Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon)

How long will I take to recover?
“The recovery times depend on the individual patient and type of the laser eye surgery carried out. Patients have good functional vision during their recovery time. They are able to drive a day after LASIK (not on the day of the surgery) and a week after other types of laser vision correction. Office work is usually possible a day or two after your surgery with LASIK and a week after LASEK or PRK.” (Associate Professor Alex Day, Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon)

What should I consider when choosing where to go for vison correction?
“When you research different vision correction providers, we recommend applying a few key criteria to find the one you can fully trust.
Level of expertise
Are they a specialist ophthalmic centre? How many years of experience do the consultants have? Are they affiliated with an NHS Foundation Trust? Are the consultants at the forefront of eye care research and education?
Range of services
Does the provider offer a range of vision correction options? Do they treat complex cases? Do they provide second opinion?
Impartial advice
Is the consultant limited in their advice on what’s best for you with the free consultation offer? Have they ever advised against the treatment if it wasn’t in the patient’s best interest?
Specialist care
Would you be cared for by specialist ophthalmic nurses? Would you be seen by the same consultant and nursing team throughout your treatment?
Equipment and facilities
Is the equipment regularly updated to ensure high accuracy, reduced operation time and better results for the patients?” (Mr Daniel Gore, Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon)

For over 200 years Moorfields has pioneered research, employed the brightest minds, and delivered visionary eye care. We offer the full range of ophthalmic care including vision correction, cataract, glaucoma and complex eye conditions.

To find out more or book your consultation:
Visit moorfields-private.co.uk/contact-us
Or call us 0800 328 3421 (Monday – Friday, 8am – 6pm)

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