What to look out for when opting for laser eye surgery
From the best clinics to the worst potential side-effects here’s a list of important things to consider before opting for laser eye surgery.
1. Laser eye surgery is not the only procedure available for vision correction. In fact, it’s not always the right procedure. Laser eye surgery has become synonymous with vision correction. But be wary of clinics that can’t offer lens replacement. Generally, laser eye surgery is right for younger patients but lens replacement is often the best option for people aged 40 and over. If a clinic offers the full range of vision correction treatments then only approximately 30% of patients who request laser eye surgery end up having this procedure so be wary if you’re told ‘yes’ for laser eye surgery straight away. Read more here.
2. What you see is not always what you get…clinics often advertise one price based on a low prescription. The final price, after all diagnostic tests have been done, can often be much higher. Check that prices are either comprehensive, meaning the price is the same regardless of prescription or that the price is provided based on your individual prescription (from diagnostic testing). Adverts that state ‘Laser eye surgery from £669’ are designed to get patients in the door and are rarely the price you end up paying.
3. Make sure you meet your surgeon before the day of the operation. Sight is one of the most valuable things and you have to look after it so ensure the surgeon who operates on your eyes has a thorough understanding of your prescription, your wants and your concerns. A good surgeon will invest a lot of time understanding your individual eyes as well as your wants and lifestyle needs. For instance, a professional golfer will have different sight requirements to a farmer or a long distance lorry driver. We only recommend having surgery carried out by a consultant who has carried out your preoperative consultations and diagnostic testing.
4. It’s not always a ‘one procedure fixes all’ situation. Fine-tuning is often required after the main procedure. Laser treatment to ‘tweak’ your vision post surgically is unavoidable and is recommended to ensure your eye sight is optimal after treatment. However, these treatments are often counted as ‘add on’ procedures and, depending on your clinic can result in a further fee. Ask your clinic if this is covered in the price of your laser eye surgery.
5. Ask an independent optician where they recommend going for surgery. Opticians and optometrists are experts in their field and see a lot of patients so are ideally placed to see which clinics carry out thorough diagnostic testing pre surgery, who has found their experience of treatment to be positive and who has excellent results and follow up care. Their view of how patients are treated pre and post surgery is unparalleled, and they’re equally well placed to hear all about clinics who haven’t looked after their patients well. Ask their advice on where they would go for treatment, they are ideally placed to cut through the marketing and sales exterior to advice you on who will offer the most comprehensive care package.
6. Check your surgeon is a consultant ophthalmologist. The become a consultant surgeon, you first need to have completed rigorous medical training to become a clinical doctor, from there you have to have completed specialist training Ophthalmology which typically takes over 5 years to complete. Laser Vision Scotland Consultant Ophthalmologists have also spend years working in various locations around the world including Australia, New Zealand and America to ensure their breadth of experience is world class. On top of this, they’re both internationally recognised conference speakers with numerous publications to their name. It’s true you don’t need to be a consultant ophthalmologist to carry out laser eye surgery, but it
does ensure your surgeon has the gold standard of training and experience. Take a look at the Laser Vision Scotland surgeon’s credentials here.
7. Be wary of overseas offers. It can be tempting to look to overseas clinics who can lure potential customers with a price tag of up to 20 per cent less than the UK. But it’s important to consider any post-surgical complications as well as the local surgeon’s qualifications and the success rate of the clinic. In the unfortunate event that you needed to return to your clinic for further treatment, consider the expense and time required to travel back to your clinic of choice, as well as barriers such as time zones and language difficulties if you need to communicate with your clinic from your home. Many UK clinics offer lifetime aftercare. Laser Vision Scotland consultants provide their patients with personalised contact details so they’re always available should you need to speak to them.
8. Pre surgery instructions must be followed meticulously. This might mean not wearing contact lenses and makeup. Although this is undoubtedly a pain in the short term, it is immeasurably important to your long-term vision. Ignoring this advice can have serious consequences on your treatment, recovery and infection.
9. Keep your expectations realistic. Laser eye surgery is hugely successful with a tiny percentage of patients requiring further treatment. But it’s not an 100% cure. Our eyesight evolves as we age so be mindful of what your needs are both now and in the future. Your consultant will help you decide which treatment is right for you, and the ageing effect on eyes is one reason why patient often opt for lens replacement rather than laser eye surgery. While laser eye surgery can yield great results, it is important to remember that as the eyes age, further treatment may be required. Lens replacement surgery involves the removal of the
natural lens and replacement with an artificial lens and therefore no further ageing takes place
for the lens.
10. Allow time for recovery. Although some results can be immediate, recovery is a process and varies from person to person. So it’s best to leave adequate time in your calendar to make a full recovery. Take some time out of you busy schedule to enjoy some well earned relaxation.