Laser Eye Surgery Frequently Asked Questions
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What is Laser Eye Surgery?
Laser eye surgery is a blanket term applied to several procedures intended to improve vision using laser assistance. During laser eye surgery, a laser is used to reshape the patient’s cornea; allowing for correction of near-sightedness (myopia), long-sightedness (hyperopia), and astigmatism.
Here at Focus, we offer 2 of the most popular laser eye surgery procedures;
LASIK; During LASIK surgery a shallow flap is created in the cornea, then using an excimer laser, tissue is removed from the cornea so it can be reshaped. LASIK can be used to correct astigmatism, and near/long-sightedness.
LASEK(PRK); PRK surgery was the first laser eye surgery for vision correction. PRK, like LASIK, uses a laser to reshape the cornea, allowing the eye to focus light correctly.
The main difference between PRK and LASIK is the first step in the procedure, whereas LASIK will create a corneal flap in the first stage. Whereas during PRK, a thin layer of outer tissue is removed and discarded instead.
PRK does hold a slightly longer recovery time than LASIK, but it can be a suitable alternative for patients whose corneas are too thin to be suitable for LASIK.
Is Laser Eye Surgery Safe?
Yes, laser eye surgery ranks as one of the safest medical procedures available. But as expected with any surgical procedure, there is a risk of post-surgery complications. However, this risk is very minimal.
The effectiveness and safety considerations surrounding laser eye surgery is why these procedures have become the most popular elective surgical treatment in the United Kingdom.
During a consultation, you will undergo a thorough screening process to assess your suitability for laser eye surgery. We will never push forward with laser-assisted procedures should a patient be deemed unsuitable.
If you are an unsuitable candidate for laser eye surgery, at Focus, we offer a range of alternatives including Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) and Implantable Collamer Lenses (ICL). Our specialists are on hand to provide guidance regarding the best option for your needs.
Does Laser Eye Surgery
Laser eye surgery is a relatively pain-free experience. Local anaesthetic will be applied, in drop form, to the eyes before the procedure.
Some patients, however, do report a feeling of pressure on the eye while the laser is being used to reshape the cornea. Luckily, this portion of the procedure only lasts around 30 seconds.
Laser eye surgery is most often an outpatient treatment, meaning you are in and out of the clinic on the same day, with the procedure lasting only between 10 and 15 minutes.
Sometimes you may be required to stay at the clinic for a short while before leaving, to give the anaesthetic time to wear off. This will last no longer than a couple of hours, most often being just a 30-minute wait.
Post-surgery you may experience some discomfort, or a feeling of ‘grittiness’ within the eye; this is just the eye beginning the healing process and is entirely normal.
How Long Does Laser Surgery Eye Last?
Successful laser eye surgery will result in a patient enjoying improved vision over their entire lifetime. Unfortunately, this doesn’t account for age-related long-sightedness (presbyopia), with some patients requiring glasses in old age, or any other eye-related disorders such as cataracts.
Some patients may require a second procedure a few months or years after the initial surgery. We are so confident of our methods at Focus that we offer a ten-year guarantee post-surgery, 10x longer than most of our competitors.
This means that if you do require a repeat treatment within ten years for the return of myopia, this will be free of charge. However, with less than 1 in 500 patients returning within the first 12 months, it is unlikely you will ever need to undergo a second procedure.
Most patients who have undergone laser eye surgery will experience 20/20 vision or better. At Focus, we are proud of our 100% success rate for patients having 20/20 vision or higher.
Who is Suitable for Laser Eye Surgery?
Determining suitability is a critical step in the laser eye surgery process. Screening to ensure suitability is essential for both the level of success expected from surgery, but also safety and quality of post-surgery recovery.
Focus boasts a 100% 20/20 success rate in patients treated for myopia; this success is in large part due to our screening and consultation process. Ensuring the right treatment is used in each situation is vital in delivering the level of satisfaction our patients expect from us.
There are numerous reasons you may not meet the eligibility requirements for laser eye surgery. If you do fail to meet criteria for laser eye surgery, Focus offers alternative lens-based procedures.
If for any reason you are not suitable for laser eye surgery, our specialists will discuss with you any other options that may be available to you.
Reasons you may not be suitable for laser eye surgery;
- Your prescription is too severe
- Dry eye, although this can be pre-treated before surgery
- Keratoconus, a condition in which the cornea thins and steepens
- Stability of your prescription, your prescription should be stable for between 12 to 24 months before laser eye surgery
- Previous eye disorders
- Immune disorders, these can include systemic lupus, rheumatoid arthritis or other collagen vascular diseases
How Much Does Laser Eye Surgery Cost?
This is often at the forefront of people’s minds when considering if laser eye surgery is for them. The cost of laser surgery will depend on several factors;
- Skills and experience of your surgeon
- Prescription type
- Type of surgery performed
Some clinics, especially chain or high-street brands, will draw potential patients in with low prices. This is generally for surgery to be performed with aging and outdated equipment, with a push to up-sale you to more modern surgery, at a cost.
The cost of surgery vs. other corrective measures such as glasses, or contact lenses, shouldn’t be understated. The average person will have spent more on glasses or contact lenses over a 10-year period than they would if they had elected for laser eye surgery.
Considering the cost-benefit over the course of a person’s lifetime, not to mention safety benefits; with contact lenses holding a risk 5x more than that of laser eye surgery for loss of vision. Laser eye surgery is a very attractive proposition to most.
You can expect to pay between £4,500 and £5,000 and potentially upwards for a specialist surgeon.
At Focus prices for LASIK start at £4,800 for both eyes, with a range of finance options to suit all budgets.
Pros and Cons of Laser Eye Surgery
After surgery, you will no longer be paying for treatment, with costs of eye tests, lenses, frames, and contact lenses adding up throughout a lifetime. Laser eye surgery is an overall cheaper option.
- Freedom to Enjoy Sports
Laser eye surgery is an excellent option for those with an active lifestyle. As glasses can sometimes be cumbersome, and contact lenses are not ideal, especially if there is a high risk of physical collision.
- Fast Turnaround
Depending on the type of treatment you receive. The procedure should take no longer than 15 minutes per eye, allowing you to go home the same day. Results will be noticeable within the first 24 hours, with vision continuing to improve over the coming weeks.
Laser eye procedures are pain-free thanks to the local anaesthesia applied pre-surgery.
- Long-Lasting Results
After laser eye surgery, you will benefit from improved vision for the course of your lifetime. Excluding any injury, or separate disorders developing you will never have to worry about the quality of your eyesight again.
- Significant Investment
Many patients are concerned with the financial burden a large lump sum cost may place on them if they elect for laser eye surgery. Fortunately, there are a number of finance options available, easing any financial worries you may have.
When you consider that over an average of 10 years you will spend more on other corrective measures when compared to laser eye surgery. It makes financial sense to invest in the future of your vision.
- Time Off Work
While laser eye surgery is a low impact outpatient procedure, allowing you to go home the same day. A couple of days off of work may be required while your eyes adjust, depending on your personal circumstances and occupation.
- There Are Some Risks Involved
As with any medical procedure, there is the potential for complications to arise post-surgery. These risks, though, are exceptionally minimal, and we seek to further reduce the chance of any complications with a thorough consultation period. Ensuring the correct procedure is applied in every situation.