Frequently Asked Questions
Our expert surgeons answer some of the most frequently asked questions and most common myths around laser eye surgery, from the process through to recovery.
Here are some of the most common questions we get asked about refractive vision correction. You may be able to find the answer to your question here.
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No, the procedure is not painful as you will have some anaesthetic drops to numb your eyes. These work very quickly, in less than 5 seconds, and so there is no need to wait to be sure they have taken effect. They work on everyone, every time, which is very reassuring.
No injections or other kinds of anaesthesia are required.
Most patients are mildly anxious on the day of the procedure, and this is completely normal. As Focus surgeons have performed more than 30,000 treatments, we are very experienced at relaxing patients and reassuring you as the treatment progresses (only eight or nine minutes for both eyes).
We like patients to be fully awake and alert during treatment, so that you can easily see the blinking green light, which will ask you to focus on as the correction progresses. Very occasionally, perhaps once or twice a year, the patient is sufficiently anxious that we prescribe a mild anti-anxiety drug prior to surgery. However, most patients are able to manage perfectly well without.
The most common reaction from people is that the whole thing is far less than they had imagined, and they quickly relax as treatment progresses. It is often considered as less than a dental hygiene visit.
Your vision during the procedure is blurred, so you will not have any clear view of what is happening, just shapes and movement and the bright light from the operating microscope.
Treatment takes approximately 4 minutes per eye and so the whole process is complete in eight or nine minutes.
If you are deemed a suitable patient (your prescription has remained stable for the past 2 years and not worsened), your surgery should last a lifetime. Research on some of the first people treated 20 years ago has showed it is very stable in around 99% of short-sighted people.
Yes. Laser surgery can very effectively treat the need for reading glasses.
Blended Vision, pioneered by Focus’ very own David Allamby, can correct distance and reading vision at the same time.
Blended Vision uses the advanced Z-LASIK laser eye surgery technique. In this case, one eye is weighted towards distance vision and the other eye is weighted towards near vision. Using advanced optimised optics the depth of field from each eye is increased allowing a more natural “blend” between the eyes.
Blended vision for presbyopia is different from monovision where each eye has a single point of focus, one near and one far. The increased depth of field with Z-LASIK blended vision allows each eye to have a range of focus and a significantly better visual experience for the patient.
Yes, we correct any astigmatism in your prescription with a high degree of accuracy, even up to 6 dioptres.
It’s a common misconception that refractive surgery cannot correct astigmatism, but fortunately it isn’t true. Excimer lasers have been able to correct these refractive errors for around 20 years. It was in the early days of laser treatment that astigmatism wasn’t corrected, and this perception has persisted over the past 2 decades.
Focus has a 100% success rate for 20/20 vision for all common short-sighted prescriptions, including up to 2 dioptres of astigmatism, representing more than 90% of all astigmatic prescriptions.
Despite some clinics advertising surgery for under £500 per eye, you are highly unlikely to actually pay this amount. Prices are based on your prescription strength along with the type of surgery you choose to have. To achieve a low price point like this, your eyes would need to have a very, very minimal prescription and opt for a cheaper type of surgery.
Some clinics offer a cheaper surgery alternative to ours, which involves the surgeon manually cutting the eye with a scalpel to create the corneal flap.
All of our surgery is carried out by lasers, which reduces the recovery time, minimises the room for error and the amount of discomfort suffered by the patient.
Realistically, you should expect to pay around £3500 to £4500 for both eyes.
When done correctly, dry eyes should be a very rare complication of laser eye surgery. At Focus, we only see this in 1 in 600 cases (0.17%). That’s far lower than seen in published studies, where the figure can be 20%.
The secret is down to proper patient selection, pre-treatment and accurate surgery.
It’s important to remember that laser eye correction is a medical surgery, and should be treated as such. However, when done correctly by a highly skilled surgeon, the risks of complications are very minimal.
Safety is fully dependent on who the operating surgeon is and the clinical setting they are working in.
It is similar to safety for driving – is driving safe? This will depend mainly on the driver, the car they are in, and the environment where they are driving. Is it rush hour or a quiet country road?
If a surgeon is under pressure and operating on 20+ patients a day, that is very different from an expert consultant specialist in a low volume centre, having much more time and treating 4-6 patients a day.
Many of the risks and complications associated with this procedure can be reduced or eliminated through careful patient selection and thorough pre-operative testing using the latest diagnostic technology. That is why FOCUS has invested so heavily in screening technology.
After laser eye treatment, you may experience some visual side effects. These are usually mild and most often diminish over a few days to a few weeks. But there is a slight chance that some of these side effects won’t go away completely, such as feelings of dryness, glare and haloes. If after a thorough examination we decide you are a good candidate for vision correction, you will be given additional information about the procedure that will allow you to make an informed decision about whether to proceed. Be sure you have all your questions answered to your satisfaction.
No. There really isn’t anything you can do to cause a procedure to have a poor result, so you can just relax and let the surgeon do his/her job.
Nothing untoward will happen if you blink or move during your laser treatment. In fact, there isn’t anything you can do that will upset the process or affect the result, which people find very reassuring.
In laser vision correction, the lasers are in fact only active for 10% of the total duration of the procedure.
Most of the procedure (90%) is performed by the surgeon manually. That is why you want a highly experienced expert specialist when it comes to your treatment.
The surgeon is in full control throughout the procedure, and will advise you if your head or eyes are moving too much. During the actual operation of the lasers, we have a sophisticated advanced tracking technology that confirms the position of your eye before every pulse, 400 times a second. The tracking system can respond faster than you can move your eyes so the treatment is always exactly in the correct position.
Your job is to simply look at the flashing green light for the eight or nine minutes duration of the complete treatment (both eyes).
One eye will be completed first, before moving on to the second eye. You should continue to blink normally throughout. It will feel as if you are blinking naturally, even though the eyelids are held open by a special instrument known as a speculum. This is quite painless. The anaesthetic drops ensure that you don’t feel any pain, or any desire to excessively blink or shut your eyes.
While the speculum is in place, each time you blink the muscle will twitch but the eyelid will not close. However, it will feel that you have just blinked normally.
Look at the flashing green light for eight or nine minutes, blink as you normally would, and your Focus specialist consultant surgeon will do the rest.
Your eyes will typically feel somewhat gritty and may water for three or four hours after your procedure, so you should go home and ideally rest during this period. There are some anaesthetic eye drops in your post-op pack if they feel uncomfortable. Just use one drop to each eye which will numb any discomfort for about 45 minutes.
With Focus’ advanced laser procedure, your vision will be much better immediately after correction. At our clinic, many patients can see with 20/20 vision remarkably just minutes after surgery.
After four hours your eyes will be comfortable, clear, and the vision typically excellent. With LASIK, you will be able to return to work the following day, after your review appointment.
You should avoid touching your eyes or face during the first few hours. You should also avoid getting water in your eyes during the first 48 hours.
It is advisable to avoid sporting activities during the first week. After this time you can resume all normal activities. We do ask, however, that you avoid tight swimming goggles during the first four weeks after surgery. Additionally, it is best to refrain from saunas and steam rooms for two weeks.
Short haul flights are fine once you have had your next-day check at the clinic. Long haul flights can be taken after you have had your second check-up, one week after treatment.
Yes. For laser sight correction, we almost always will treat both eyes on the same day and this has been standard practice across clinics around the world for the past 15 years or so. However, if you have a clear preference for having only one eye treated at a time, we will be very happy to accommodate your wishes. The choice is up to you completely. For convenience, most patients will choose to have both eyes treated at the same time
For lens replacement procedures, such as cataract surgery or RLE, one eye is usually performed at a time, with the second eye usually one week after the first.
It is advisable to wait at least 24 hours to make your decision about having laser eye surgery, this is so that you have enough time to think it through and be happy with all information provided
At Focus we simply talk with and assess each person from a perspective of delivering the very best result and never, ever, apply pressure that someone should have treatment. We don’t believe in selling, hard or soft.
This is important in providing LASIK in the best way possible. You need the time and the space to make a carefully thought through decision.
Of course, we hope you will choose us and we deeply believe in our capabilities to deliver exactly what you are looking for. But it is your choice and in your own time.
- Posted on: June 2nd 2018
- Posted on: May 25th 2018
- Posted on: May 17th 2018