Laser eye surgery: the process

Discover how you can be seeing without glasses or contact lenses within weeks

Laser eye surgery can seem daunting – until you actually know what’s involved. Naturally, the journey is different for every patient, depending on their needs, but in most cases the fundamental process for all laser eye treatments is the same.

This links below set out the five basic steps which show not only how easy laser eye surgery can be, but also offer an insight into the extraordinary level of care we take at each stage.

Nobody else takes as much time to examine your eyes in detail before surgery, or offers the same degree of aftercare – you can call us any time if something’s bothering you, whether it’s a week after your surgery, or years later.

Click on the Youtube video above to learn about Dr. Hilary’s laser eye surgery experience at London Vision Clinic.

The five steps in the laser eye surgery process

Of course, you’ll also have to give more of your time to the process than you would with other clinics. But when we’re talking about a laser eye operation, don’t you want to be absolutely sure of everything? We do, and we never compromise.

The first step in the process is to call us. Just call 0207 224 1005 and one of our Patient Care Coordinators will help you with any questions or concerns. You’re not committed to anything, even if you book an initial screening.

To read more about each step, choose:

Step 1: Call Us
If you’re considering laser eye surgery at all, give us a call. There’s no obligation, but we’re happy to answer your questions and discuss your concerns. You can also book a free initial assessment, still without obligation. Talk to an expert now on 0207 224 1005 or complete an online enquiry form requesting assistance from one of our Patient Care Coordinators

Step 2:The Comprehensive Consultation
First, we need to make sure you’re suitable for eye surgery. Around 95% of people are, but some clinics turn away up to 20% of potential patients. This is often because those clinics are not equipped to handle more complex cases.

The major part of your initial screening at London Vision Clinic is complimentary. Nevertheless, we’re confident it will be the most comprehensive eye exam you have ever had. Knowing your eyes in fine detail means lower risk and better results. So we never rush the screening process. You’ll need to set aside at least two hours for the appointment – far more than at any other clinic.

Before we start, your Patient Care Coordinator (PCC) will explain the process, and what you can expect. He or she will help you identify any concerns, answer many questions, and put your mind at ease.

Next, one of our clinical team will measure your eyes using several different technologies. None of these tests is painful, and you’re encouraged to ask as many questions as you like. Our first priority is that you feel informed and comfortable at every stage.

We measure the exact geometry of your cornea (the ‘watch glass’ at the front of the eye), as well as its thickness in 3D. This is critical as laser eye surgery involves removing some cells from the cornea. So we need to make sure we can do this in complete confidence.

We also measure the tiny, unique imperfections in the way your eye focuses light. This helps us gauge any specific visual defects beyond your prescription. It also helps us assess your vision in low light, which increases the chance of achieving normal vision –  or better.

We also test the size of your pupils. This helps ensure the surgery won’t interfere with the way the pupils adapt to different lighting conditions, and is especially important for ensuring good night vision.

Optometrist assessment

One of our expert world class optometrists will review the results of your initial tests, and then conduct an extensive eye exam. This tests everything from your tear film to your ability to see objects in low contrast conditions. If your eyesight is naturally deteriorating due to age (presbyopia), we’ll test to see whether you’re suitable for Laser Blended Vision – our revolutionary treatment for this condition. We may also recommend an Artemis™ scan. This ultrasound scan, co-invented by Professor Reinstein, creates the most accurate possible measurement of the cornea. It displays each individual layer of corneal tissue in three dimensions, showing how the thickness varies across the surface. Laser eye surgery involves removing some corneal cells, so an Artemis™ scan can be vital, especially if you have astigmatism, or your corneas are thinner than average. For some of the tests we need to touch the surface of the eye itself. We’ll give you anaesthetic eye drops for this. The numbness can feel a little strange, but wears off within 20 minutes.

Ophthalmic exam

If you’re suitable for surgery, this is the point where you decide whether you want to go ahead. If you do, your optometrist will conduct a complete ophthalmic exam, gathering even more detailed knowledge about your eyes. We also need to artificially dilate your pupils, using different eye drops. This may leave your eyes more sensitive to light and your vision slightly blurry, for up to a few hours.

Lucy contemplates her reasons for choosing the London Vision Clinic and reflects on her patient experience as she prepares for her laser eye surgery.

Step 3: Treatment
Step 3: Treatment

The big day!

You’re bound to feel a little anxious. Don’t worry: by this stage we know your eyes in incredible detail, which is the key to successful surgery.

Nevertheless, the first thing your ophthalmic surgeon will do is a final examination, to double-check previous measurements and confirm the bespoke programming that will be created for each of your eyes. You will then be accompanied to the preparation area before heading for theatre – and a changed life.

The treatment itself varies slightly, depending on what form of surgery you need. Over 95% of people have LASIK eye surgery – the fastest-healing form of treatment.

Generally, we treat both eyes in just a few minutes. Your surgeon will talk you through every stage, so nothing will surprise you. There’s no pain at all, although at times you may feel gentle pressure on your eye, which can be slightly uncomfortable for a matter of seconds. For the most part, all you do is look straight into a flashing light.

Don’t worry about blinking, sneezing, coughing or any other accidental movements. The laser tracks your eye hundreds of times a second, following it and compensating for your eye movements. There is virtually nothing you could do to compromise the surgery, or put your eyes at risk.

Step 4: Aftercare
Step 4: Aftercare
You’ll probably notice a big change as soon as you sit up. The swelling in the cornea as you open your eyes means your vision will be foggy, as if you’re looking through a pale mist. But objects and people will already seem more in focus. For many patients, this can be quite overwhelming.

Within 24 hours the swelling (which is invisible to others) will have reduced dramatically. You can expect to see ‘starbursts’ or haloes around lights for a while, but these gradually disappear. Most people can drive and return to work within 24 hours of LASIK.

We will help ensure a safe and successful recovery with comprehensive, detailed aftercare. You’ll have medicated eye drops to protect against infection, and night-time eye shields to wear for the first seven nights, so you can’t rub your eyes in your sleep.

Step 5: Years of spectacle-free vision
When your vision is restored, you’ll notice all sorts of things that make everyday better.

For glasses wearers, it’s a delight to see the world without that frame at the edge of your vision. You can come in from the cold without your spectacles steaming up and to play sports or rough-and-tumble with your children, without worrying about your spectacles.

If you rely on contact lenses, you can forget the fiddly rituals of putting them in and taking them out. You can go swimming without worrying that they’ll wash out. Most importantly, you’ll be able to see naturally, from the moment you wake up, without having to think about it. Furthermore, if at any time you want to visit us to check your progress, even years down the road, we’ll welcome you with open arms.

Isn’t it time you took the first step towards years of spectacle-free vision? To make an appointment or to just speak to one of our dedicated Patient Care Coordinators, call us.

Find out if you are suitable for laser eye surgery at the London Vision Clinic today.