Common Questions About Eye Treatments at London Vision Clinic
At London Vision Clinic, we are proud to be one of the leading Laser Eye Surgery clinics in the world – but we also offer a range of other eye treatments, from Clear Lens Exchange to Cataract Surgery. In this article, we’re answering some common questions about all of our eye treatments and linking to articles where you can find more information.
What is LASIK?
LASIK – an abbreviation of laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis – is the most popular Laser Eye Surgery procedure. It involves creating a flap on the surface of the eye and using a high-precision laser to reshape the cornea. These adjustments change the way light is reflected into the eye allowing the patient’s vision to be corrected or enhanced.
At London Vision Clinic, LASIK surgery consists of five key steps:
- Before LASIK treatment, the dimensions and properties of the untreated eye are minutely measured during a pre-operative assessment. This provides us with the measurement we need to calculate the precise amount of LASIK correction.
- During LASIK eye surgery, a precision instrument called a microkeratome creates a thin flap in the epithelium (surface tissue) of the eye. The microkeratome does not completely remove the corneal flap. It remains anchored on one side – allowing a surgeon to replace it in its identical position once the LASIK procedure is complete.
- The corneal flap is raised, and an excimer laser sculpts the bed of the cornea to the dimensions determined before LASIK surgery.
- The surgeon replaces the corneal flap and, within minutes, natural forces hold the flap in place and the LASIK procedure is complete.
- Within a few hours of the procedure, the epithelium begins to heal and the corneal flap is sealed into position. Healing is complete within a week or so after LASIK treatment.
To learn more about LASIK and watch a video on this topic, click here.
What is Wavefront-guided LASIK treatment?
Wavefront aberrometry provides a more detailed map of the eye. By measuring the light passing through the eye’s optical system (the lens and cornea) and comparing the amount of light detected by the device against a perfectly flat baseline, we can create a map of the imperfections in the eye. This map can then be used to provide additional detail when planning your LASIK treatment. This is known as Wavefront-guided LASIK.
Different clinics and brands may use different names for wavefront, including UltraLASIK, UltraLASIKplus, Accu-wave LASIK, Custom LASIK, Wavefront LASIK, Zyoptix etc. Many clinics offer this treatment at a higher cost than standard LASIK. However, at London Vision Clinic, we use wavefront-guided LASIK as standard.
For more information about Wavefront, click here.
What is IntraLase™ or ‘All-Laser LASIK’, and is it better than conventional Laser Eye Surgery?
In the earlier days of LASIK surgery, a small surgical tool called a microkeratome was used to create the flap in the cornea. In more recent years, the use of a femtosecond laser has become the norm. Femtosecond LASIK, IntraLASIK, IntraLase™ or All-Laser LASIK may all be used to refer to this type of LASIK procedure. Femtosecond treatments are the standard at London Vision Clinic.
To watch a video explaining this FAQ, click here.
What are the advantages of LASIK treatment over other Laser Eye Surgery procedures?
Compared to PRK or LASEK, LASIK healing times are significantly shorter, with LASIK patients typically returning to work and leisure activities within two or three days of their treatment.
Vision improvement after LASIK eye surgery is virtually instantaneous, and it is perfectly safe and routine to treat both eyes using LASIK surgery on the same day. Over 93 per cent of LASIK patients meet the UK required standard for driving without glasses, although for some LASIK patients – particularly those with high prescriptions – glasses or contact lenses may still be required for some activities.
To learn more about the pros and cons of LASIK and other procedures, click here.
What is PRK?
PRK – or photo-refractive keratectomy – was the first vision correction procedure to utilise excimer lasers. The technique, which is still used today, was based on the pioneering scalpel-based refractive surgery first carried out in the mid-20th century.
PRK is a surface procedure, which means that, unlike in LASIK surgery, PRK doesn’t involve the creation of a corneal flap. Instead, the outer layer of cells from the surface of the cornea is removed entirely to allow access to the corneal bed beneath.
Once the procedure has been completed, the surgeon places a soft contact lens over the exposed area of the cornea. This helps to protect the eye as the outer layer grows back. This can take around 3 to 5 days.
Given the more invasive nature of PRK treatment, it takes longer for patients to achieve optimal vision following the procedure. However, the long-term outcomes are typically the same as those achieved with LASIK or LASEK.
At London Vision Clinic, our laser eye surgeons typically use PRK in 5-10% of cases. The procedure is most suited to patients with unusually thin or flat corneas, which could make them unsuitable for LASIK. Like LASIK surgery, PRK can be used to correct the full range of refractive errors.
To learn more about PRK Laser Eye Surgery, click here.
What Is LASEK?
LASEK – or Laser-assisted sub-epithelial keratectomy – is also a surface procedure. Dilute alcohol is applied to the surface of the eye to loosen the surface layer of cells which can then be moved aside by the surgeon.
Once the procedure is complete, a protective contact lens is placed over the eye to promote healing. As a smaller portion of the epithelium is removed in LASEK (when compared with PRK), healing times are usually faster – but not as fast as those following LASIK treatment. Again, LASEK can also be used to treat long-sightedness, short-sightedness, and astigmatism.
To watch a video of expert surgeon, Glenn Carp, explaining LASEK, click here.
What Is PRESBYOND® Laser Blended Vision?
As we get older, our vision naturally begins to deteriorate, leaving us to rely on reading glasses. This is known as presbyopia (ageing eyes). However, a Laser Eye Surgery technique, known as PRESBYOND® Laser Blended Vision, is an effective solution to presbyopia which can be applied using either LASIK or PRK – whichever treatment is more appropriate for the patient.
This technique involves correcting one eye for vision mainly at a distance but also a little up close, while the other eye is corrected mainly for near vision but also a little distance. The patient’s brain is then able to combine these two images to create clear vision at all depths of vision – without the need for glasses or contact lenses.
To learn more about PRESBYOND® Laser Blended Vision, click here.
How is PRESBYOND® Laser Blended Vision Different to Monovision?
PRESBYOND® Laser Blended Vision should not be confused with traditional monovision – a practice that involves correcting each eye for a different distance. For example, your right eye may be corrected to see better at a distance while your left eye is corrected to see better up close. This can be achieved with contact lenses or with Implantable Collamer Lens (ICL) surgery.
In contrast, PRESBYOND® Laser Blended Vision takes a milder approach to create a ‘blend zone’ in the person’s vision. This typically makes PRESBYOND® Laser Blended Vision more easily tolerated by more patients. Approximately 97% of people are suitable for PRESBYOND® Laser Blended Vision compared with just 60% of patients who tolerate monovision.
To learn more about PRESBYOND® Laser Blended Vision and monovision, click here.
What are Intraocular Lenses, or Lens Implants and when are they used?
Intraocular lenses – also referred to as IOLs, phakic IOls, implantable lenses, and intracorneal lens implants, or by brand names such as STAAR® ICL, Artisan® lenses, and Prelex® lenses – are artificial lenses that are surgically implanted into the eye.
Essentially IOLs work in the same way as contact lenses by directing light more efficiently into the eye. However, they are permanent (though they can be surgically removed) and require no maintenance. Depending on the type of treatment required, IOLs can be implanted in front of the natural lens of the eye (as is the case in ICL Surgery), or they can replace the eye’s natural lens (as is the case in Clear Lens Exchange and Cataract Surgery).
To implant the intra-ocular lens, the surgeon makes a small incision in the cornea and inserts a lens through this opening, positioned exactly in front of the pupil and fixed to the iris with two surgical clips. The incision is then closed.
The great advantage of using intraocular lenses is the ability to treat conditions that would otherwise be impossible to correct without glasses. This can include extremely high prescriptions that may make one unsuitable for Laser Eye Surgery.
To learn more about Intraocular Lenses, click here.
What is Keratoconus and how is it treated?
Keratoconus is a genetic eye condition that causes the cornea to become progressively thinner and bulge out into a cone shape over time. The condition also creates an inherent weakness within the stromal layer of the cornea and can cause severe astigmatism, distorted vision (such as straight lines looking wavy), increased sensitivity to light, and eye redness or swelling.
In the early stages of the condition, it is possible to treat the condition with glasses or contact lenses. However, over time, these aids may become ineffective.
In recent years, a treatment known as cross-linking has become increasingly available with around 90% of patients now suitable for treatment. Cross-linking is a non-invasive, once-off procedure which involves the application of custom-made riboflavin eye drops. Once activated, these drops encourage cross-linking, or bonding, between adjacent strands of collagen in the cornea, which become natural molecular anchors that strengthen the cornea, and help it maintain its normal shape.
Cross-linking may also be offered in combination with corneal inserts called Intacs® which are surgically applied to the cornea to help reshape it.
If you have any further questions regarding eye treatments at London Vision Clinic, don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of our friendly clinic coordinators. Alternatively, if you’re ready to start your journey to clear vision, Book a Consultation today.