Questions To Ask When Choosing A Laser Eye Surgery Clinic
How experienced is my surgeon?
To become a laser eye surgeon, you must be registered as a doctor with the General Medical Council (GMC). There is also a recommendation that laser eye surgeons seek independent training from the Royal College of Ophthalmologists, but this is not a legal requirement.
This means that standards do, unfortunately, vary within the industry – so you should ensure that your surgeon has had formal refractive surgery training, and has experience in the specific procedure you are interested in (for example, LASIK, ReLEx SMILE, Laser Blended Vision, etc.). You should also check what range of prescriptions your chosen clinic can safely treat. Finally, be wary of basing your decision on advertised complication or re-treatment rates: the data may be skewed because surgeons who only treat simpler cases will generally have lower re-treatment rates – and what one surgeon or clinic officially classes as a ‘complication’ may be quite different to another.
How much time will you spend with me before and after my Laser Eye Surgery?
Pre-operative appointment lengths vary between clinics. At London Vision Clinic, we spend around 3.5 hours with each patient at their Initial Screening and Ophthalmic Exam appointments, followed by a 30 minute Surgeon Consultation appointment on a separate day. This is much longer than at many other clinics.
In terms of follow-up, we recommend that patients are followed for 1 year post-operatively. This is to give the patients’ eyes time to settle fully, and to check whether they have received the desired outcome, or whether more can be done for them.
When will I see my surgeon?
At some Laser Eye Surgery clinics, patients do not meet their surgeon until the day of surgery. At London Vision Clinic, we believe it is essential that the patient is allowed to get to know their surgeon – the person ultimately responsible for their outcome. We would recommend that you choose a clinic which offers a one-on-one appointment with your surgeon on a separate day to your surgery, so that you have an opportunity to have any remaining questions answered.
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Can I see your results for patients with a similar prescription to me?
A good Laser Eye Surgery clinic should publish their results in clearly labelled detail, so that you can examine the results that are most relevant to you. Ideally, the clinic would have published their results in a scientific journal (known as the peer-reviewed literature).
What percentage of patients are charged your advertised price? Are there any hidden ‘extras’?
In general, you should be cautious about choosing a Laser Eye Surgery clinic based on a cheap offer. It’s possible that you will be eligible for the advertised price, but some clinics are known to ‘up-sell’, advertising a very low price which is only applicable to a small percentage of patients. You should also check what is included in your treatment fee, and whether you will be asked to pay extra for eye-drops and aftercare (charges which can quickly add up!).
Above all, you should feel comfortable questioning why Laser Eye Surgery is being offered at a discount price. If Laser Eye Surgery costs less, you should ask why – what is being cut out to make it cheaper? None of the technology and expertise required for world-class Laser Eye Surgery comes cheaply and while we can’t speak for all clinics, it’s often not worth bargain hunting – your vision is too precious to risk.