Laser eye surgery
* Please note: this page is only informational. Vision Express do not offer laser eye surgery as a service. We do perform eye tests which will be needed to judge whether you are suitable for a laser eye surgery procedure.
Most commonly, this form or surgery is used to correct myopia, hypermetropia (short and long sightedness) and mild astigmatisms. Different methods may be recommended for those with high prescriptions or presbyopia. Surgery is only recommended when the prescription is stable- for this reason most surgeons have a minimum age limit of 21 years of age (although some will conduct surgery from 18 years olds onwards).
Since laser eye surgery is regarded as non-essential, the treatment is not usually available via the NHS and must typically gained through private means.
Laser eye surgery procedure
The most common form of corrective laser eye surgery is the LASIK procedure (Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis).
The surgery is painless, a lid speculum is used to keep the eyelids from closing whilst numbing drops are administered to each eye ball. The doctor may prescribe further medication to relax the patient.
The surgical process involves using a small knife – otherwise known as a microkeratome - to cut a circular flap in the cornea. This exposes the cornea allowing the excimer lasers to reshape it, so light will focus on the optimal part of the retina resulting in improved vision.
For those suffering from myopia (short sightedness), the doctor will look to flatten the cornea, whilst the cornea of those with hypermetropia (long sightedness) will be steepened. Correcting astigmatisms involves reshaping the cornea back into its normal shape.
Once the lasers have reshaped the cornea, the circular flap is put back in place. The whole process should take approximately five minutes for each eye.
Frequently asked questions
Those who do not feel comfortable wearing glasses or contact lenses and would rather go without are well suited for LASIK surgery, since the procedure will usually correct your vision without the need for visual aids. However complete freedom from glasses can not be guaranteed.
Prior to the procedure, the ophthalmologist will first of all assess whether you are suitable for surgery in the first place. They will conduct a thorough eye test and health in which the shape and thickness of your cornea are measured, along with your pupil size, refractive errors and whether you have any other underlying health conditions, eye related or otherwise. They will explain the pros and cons of laser eye surgey and recommend which type of laser eye surgery you would be most suitable for,
In most cases, a Corneal Topographer is used to map the cornea and measure its dimension and structure, which will determine how the doctors will use the lasers to reshape the cornea. Wavefront technologies can also be applied to get a more comprehensive cross section view of your eye.
Should you be wearing contact lenses, you will need to stop wearing them for a certain time span before surgery takes place. This is because contacts can alter the shape of the eye and your cornea, which can obviously be dangerous when going in for surgery.
You should take care to find the right surgeon for your operation, one with a high level of experience and knowledge. The most important information to find out is how many procedures they have done in the past, if any complications have arose and if so how frequent. You should also check whether they will be using the most up to date equipment.
The cost of laser eye surgery can vary depending on what the surgery requires. Typically, you will be looking at approximately £800 for each eye. If you choose to add Wavefront to the procedure the cost can increase to over £1,600 per eye.
Directly following the procedure the patient will feel a slight burning or itching in the eyes, but this is only temporary. Blurry vision can be expected post-surgery, so it is important to have someone drive the patient home after the procedure.
The healing process post-surgery is usually very quick in most cases, with some people returning to work the day after the operation. It is advised however to take between 2-3 days to ensure the eye heals correctly. The patient should also avoid any strenuous exercise, as this may aggravate the eye and the lens.
The best way to prevent eye problems is to simply lead a healthy lifestyle. The three biggest risks to eye health are smoking, over exposure to UV rays and eating an unhealthy diet. To find out more about how to take care of your eyes, check our eye care page.
Over 50% of sight loss is preventable, and the best way to keep check of your eye health is to book an eye test.
Even after laser eye surgery it is still extremely important to have regular eye examinations.