Frequently asked question about laser eye surgery

Are the effects of the treatment permanent?

As monitored for over 14 years for iPRK and eight years for LASIK, treatment is permanent. However, treatment cannot prevent the natural changes that occur with eyesight.

It is for this reason that you should wait until your eyesight appears to be stable, i.e. after about the age of 20, before having treatment.

Is it safe?

Safety and predictability are best at low and moderate levels of correction.

With LASEK the laser does not penetrate beyond the surface of the eye and cannot affect any other part of it.

LASIK is recommended for higher prescription levels and, being a surgical treatment, carries more risk of complication. Approximately 98% of our patients no longer wear glasses (for driving standard vision). The remainder should benefit from a reduction in spectacle strength.

As a result of excellent research combined with low incidence of serious side effects, eminent ophthalmologists now routinely perform laser treatment in every developed country.

It is estimated that over two million procedures are carried out annually worldwide.


Should I choose LASIK or LASEK laser eye surgery?

The same lasers are used for both eye operations.

Results at lower levels of vision correction (i.e. under -6 dioptres) are of similar accuracy for both procedures. When comparing only the benefits, the first impression is that LASIK laser eye surgery is a superior procedure. There is, however, a significant list of additional complications and risks that do not apply to LASEK. We recommend LASEK) laser eye surgery for low levels of correction (-3.50 dioptres or under) because it is safer, simpler and a more established treatment and achieves the same long term results.

LASEK does not involve cutting and is not dependent on surgical skill. However there is some discomfort and recovery time is longer. Between -3.50 dioptres and -5.75 dioptres the choice is dependent on your attitude to pain, risk, speed of recovery and cost.

We recommend LASIK laser eye surgery for all prescriptions of -6 dioptres and over and up to +3 dioptres only. There is no discomfort and the final result is achieved very rapidly. In most cases LASIK can be given to both eyes on the same day, if desired. LASEK can be offered above -6 dioptres where the cornea is too thin or when other conditions preclude LASIK. If you prefer, LASIK can be performed on prescriptions of -3.50 dioptres or under.

What will my eye look like?

After a few days you will not be able to see evidence of treatment on the eye as this can only be detected using very sophisticated equipment.

When you remove the eye pad (the doctors will advise when to do this), the treated eye may be puffy and weepy.

This should subside after 48 hours. Whilst using eye drops or ointment, the pupil may be enlarged.

The treated eye will look normal the day after treatment except for some slight redness.

A few patients will notice some red spotting on the eye. This will disappear two to three weeks after treatment.

When can I return to sporting activities?

Once your vision allows, you can resume all activities. You should avoid strong sunlight and dirty or dusty environments for as long as possible after treatment.

LASIK patients are advised to avoid contact sports for at least three months after treatment. All patients should avoid swimming for one month as there is a risk of irritation and infection. Avoid using suntan beds for up to six months after treatment. Ladies should not wear eye make up after LASIK for at least two weeks.

Will I need glasses in the future?

The majority of patients should not need glasses for distance vision again. All patients will need reading glasses from around the age of 45, as do all normal-sighted people on reaching this age.

Later in life there is a drift to long sight and glasses will be needed, especially for reading. Your Doctor shouldl take this into consideration at consultation and discuss this with you. Some short-sighted patients in middle age choose to have only one eye treated or to leave one eye undercorrected.

This is called mono-vision and involves treating the dominant eye for distance vision and using the untreated undercorrected eye for reading. This proves to be very acceptable for many patients with mild short sight, avoiding the need for glasses for both reading and distant vision.

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