Questions to ask when considering laser eye surgery
If you’re considering vision correction, it is important to address all your laser eye surgery questions before you commit to any particular surgeon or clinic. Below you will find a guide to the laser eye surgery FAQs you should be thinking about in preparation for your initial discussions with the eye care consultants.
Laser eye surgery FAQs
Checklist for evaluating a laser eye surgeon’s qualifications:
- A Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons / Ophthalmologists or equivalent
- Fellowship specialty training in corneal surgery
- Fellowship sub-specialty training in refractive (laser eye) surgery
- On the General Medical Council’s Specialist Register
No one wants to compromise on their vision. Ideally, you would like to find the eye surgeon who combines the right level of professional training using the most current technology combined with a wealth of experience in the specific procedure that you are undergoing.
One of the most important laser eye surgery questions should revolve around the surgeon. You are looking for an eye surgeon with experience in the specific procedure you seek. While laser eye surgery is a sub-speciality of ophthalmology, not all ophthalmologists are versed in all the different types of refractive surgery, including LASIK, LASEK/ PRK, and non-laser procedures such Intra-Ocular Lenses and Conductive Keratoplasty. Not all surgeons can treat all prescriptions; if you have a more unusual prescription some surgeons will; very appropriately, refuse to treat you, because they lack the experience or technology to treat the particular condition.
You are looking laser eye surgery answers from surgeons that will show you statistics that reflect their individual surgical outcomes. Examine quoted statistics carefully to determine if they are relevant to your particular prescription. For example, results for patients between -1.00D and -3.00D of short-sightedness will have little relevance to you if you have -6.00D of short-sightedness. Statistics for short-sighted patients are often better than statistics for long-sighted patients. Therefore, if you are long-sighted, you will want to ensure you are looking at the right group of patients to evaluate surgical results properly. For people who need reading glasses, bifocals or varifocals, surgical results rarely include reference to a patient’s near vision after laser eye surgery. If you are over 40, you will want to look at surgical results for near vision as well as distance vision.
Laser eye surgery questions you need to ask
Monitoring outcomes enables a surgeon to objectively measure their performance against an appropriate standard. It is a sign of a surgeon who is concerned about quality. Ideally, a surgeon should be able to provide you with a results table or statistics that are specific to your prescription. This is important as results vary significantly between prescriptions, between surgeons and between technologies.
Did the surgeon undergo formal refractive surgery training and for how long?
During the 1990s many surgeons began to do laser surgery after attending one or two weekend courses, with or without supervision on their first few cases. In 2007, the Royal College of Ophthalmologists introduced training and accreditation in laser eye surgery into the curriculum of trainee eye surgeons. A number of specific refractive surgery fellowships also exist. Fellowship training in refractive surgery prepares the surgeon for dealing with all the complications of refractive surgery, so that when they encounter them, they are prepared.
Will the clinic conduct all of the necessary pre-operative tests to ensure my suitability for laser eye surgery?
The pre-operative examination is an excellent opportunity to examine the eye fully, and should include some or all of the following tests that are not routinely carried out in laser eye surgery assessments:
- Corneal topography (including back surface)
- Dry eye
- Pupil size
- Corneal thickness
- Wavefront analysis
- Blended vision assessment (if you are presbyopic)
- Contrast sensitivity
- Very-High Frequency Ultrasound (if necessary)
- Dilated eye examination
- Night vision simulation
- Intra-ocular pressure
After conducting all of the necessary tests, the clinic should provide you with a clear assessment of your suitability for laser eye surgery. If it determines that you are not suitable for treatment, it should provide you with a comprehensive explanation for this. You may want to ask if there is another provider that may have technology or expertise to treat you safely, even if that may not be possible at their practice. (For example some lasers are much better at treating hyperopia than others; other practices will not treat patients over 40 years of age).
What aftercare regime is provided for my particular treatment plan?
The immediate aftercare will depend on the recommended treatment. Further aftercare should be provided until the one-year visit. Some surgeons offer ongoing ophthalmic care thereafter.
Generally, LASIK aftercare is performed in the following way:
- 1st day after surgery
- 1-3 weeks after surgery
- 3 months after surgery
- 12 months after surgery
Surface PRK / LASEK patients should be closely monitored during the first five days after surgery.
Will I have access to the surgeon post treatment?
This is important. You should have access to the surgeon if required. A surgeon is directly responsible for the care of patients; even if he or she has delegated some aspects of the aftercare to their optometrist.
Once all the laser eye surgery questions in this article have been answered, you will know which of the laser eye surgeons or clinics you have consulted you should select for your procedure.
The London Vision Clinic is leading laser eye surgery clinic in the UK, boasting world-class ophthalmic surgeons who expertly perform LASIK and LASEK eye surgery. Read our full list of laser eye surgery FAQs for all the answers to your questions on contact us via this website to book a consultation with one of our Patient Education Consultants who will determine your suitability for the procedure.