A patient’s guide to Laser Eye Surgery
Navigating the Laser Eye Surgery landscape can be a tricky job – especially on your own. Finding your way through the jargon and complicated abbreviations, trying to understand the enticing discounts and limited offers, even figuring out the difference between complex-sounding techniques – and all this before you even set foot inside a clinic!
Whether you’re trying to find an honest and reliable clinic, want to know if you’re suitable for treatment, or simply want to learn a little more about Laser Eye Surgery, the chances are, you now have more questions than you did to start with.
But, does it have to be this complicated?
We don’t think so. That’s why we’re cutting the jargon (or at least explaining it) and getting down to brass tax. In this guide to Laser Eye Surgery, we aim to tell you everything you need to know to move forward with confidence. Before we get into it though, let’s try to understand how we got here: how did Laser Eye Surgery become so confusing?
The Laser Eye Surgery Business Model
There is no doubt that Laser Eye Surgery has helped to improve the lives of millions of people around the world in recent decades. This success has led to high demand and strong competition.
To meet this demand, Laser Eye Surgery providers have cropped up all over the place, from Harley Street to your local high street. The trouble is, many of these high street clinics have honed their individual marketing strategy simply to get you, the potential customer, through the door and into the operating chair as quickly as possible.
Unfortunately, in many cases, this means that providing transparency and balanced information takes a back seat. In this business model, the aim is to stand out from the crowd and make as many sales as possible – enter ‘limited time only’ offers and fancy jargon.
Worst of all, this can also mean that patients don’t always receive the best quality treatment.
In much the same way as heading down to a local second-hand car dealer can leave you with a dodgy motor that might need a few adjustments here and there, heading into the Laser Eye Surgery unguided can, unfortunately, sometimes have similar results. Only in this scenario, you’re left with faulty vision and potentially a lifetime of issues.
We want to prevent that from happening to you.
In this guide, we cover the three main steps in your journey to better vision: suitability, finding the right treatment, and choosing the right clinic.
We often take deep dives into each of these steps (and much more useful information) on our blog. You can find useful links to existing articles, videos and resources within each of the following sections.
So, let’s dive in with the first step in your Laser Eye Surgery journey: Suitability.
1. Are you a good candidate for Laser Eye Surgery?
If you are considering Laser Eye Surgery, then understanding whether you are suitable for treatment is the ideal place to start. There are a number of factors that can affect your suitability for Laser Eye Surgery. Understanding these factors not only allows you to bust the many myths and outdated beliefs surrounding the industry but also to figure out if now is the right time to have surgery.
Do you have a stable prescription?
A key requirement for Laser Eye Surgery is having a stable prescription. This usually means that your glasses prescription has remained stable for at least a year.
In some cases, this can mean that teenagers and young adults, people on certain medications, and people with fluctuating hormones or blood sugar levels due to health conditions like diabetes (if unstable), may be ineligible for treatment – at least temporarily.
This also applies to people who are pregnant or breastfeeding, as fluctuating hormones can often imbalance visual acuteness. You may also be unsuitable for treatment if your overall eye health is poor.
While the factors above may restrict you from having Laser Eye Surgery, the good news is that this is often only temporary. When you come of age, return to health or a stable prescription, the chances are you’ll be suitable for treatment.
With the latest technology and the expertise of experienced surgeons, Laser Eye Surgery is able to treat a diverse range of eye problems.
2. Which laser eye treatment is for you?
Once you are confident that you are eligible for treatment, the next step is to understand the different techniques. We’ve put together a list of the four most common eye conditions along with their corresponding Laser Eye Surgery treatments. This will help to give you a better idea of which treatment you may need.
Myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism
In essence, PRK/LASEK, LASIK and ReLEx SMILE are all slight variations of the same treatment which are commonly used to correct Myopia (short-sightedness), Hyperopia (long-sightedness), Presbyopia (ageing eyes), and Astigmatism.
Which treatment is right for you will be determined by an expert surgeon during your consultation. Factors that can impact this decision include the thickness of your corneas, the dryness of your eyes, and the extent of your prescription.
PRESBYOND® Laser Blended Vision is a revolutionary technique which can reduce, and even eliminate, the need for reading glasses, bifocals, or varifocals for many years.
This treatment is an effective alternative to intraocular lenses (IOLs) which involves replacing your eye’s natural lenses with artificial ones.
High prescriptions and drier eyes
ReLEx SMILE is a relatively recent development in Laser Eye Surgery. It allows us to effectively treat patients that were previously deemed unsuitable for treatment, including those with very high prescriptions and drier eyes.
3. Choosing the right surgeon and clinic
With so many clinics and surgeons to choose from, many find this part of the Laser Eye Surgery process to be the most troublesome.
Figuring out exactly what you are looking for can help save you a lot of time and effort. For example, is it a cheap deal that’s easy on the wallet? Or is it a good level of care, safety, and performance?
Once you’ve assessed your priorities it’s much easier to separate between the range of high street providers, independent clinics, and private hospitals that offer Laser Eye Surgery. While high street chains usually place a focus on low-cost care rather than quality, the latter two take a more personalised and holistic approach. Here at London Vision Clinic, this allows us to ensure only the best results and the highest patient satisfaction.
Choosing a Laser Eye Surgeon can be a little more tricky. This is due to the fact that technically, it isn’t currently required that Laser Eye Surgeons have specialised qualifications. Simply being a qualified doctor (being a General Medical Council [GMC] registered physician) is legally sufficient to practice Laser Eye Surgery.
This makes it paramount to check your surgeon has – at the very least – had formal refractive surgery training, along with experience treating similar prescriptions to yours. Read more about how to choose a Laser Eye Surgeon here.
If you would like to learn more about Laser Eye Surgery, talk to one of our friendly and knowledgeable clinicians today. Alternatively, give us a call on 020 7224 1005, or Book a Consultation below.