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 and changes according to their needs, but in most cases, the fundamental process for all laser eye treatments is the same.
The links below set out the five basic steps of Laser Eye Surgery which show not only how easy and painless the process is, but also offer an insight into the extraordinary level of care we take at each and every stage.
No other clinics take as much time to examine your eyes in detail before Laser Eye Surgery, or offer the same degree of aftercare, as London Vision Clinic — you can call us anytime something’s bothering you, whether it’s a week after your surgery, or years later.
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, isn’t it best to take as much time as necessary? We certainly think so, and we never compromise.
The first step in the process is to get in touch. Call us on 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 one below:
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’ve ever had. Knowing your eyes in fine detail means lower risk and greater 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 let you know what you can expect. He or she will help you identify any concerns, answer any 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 are painful, and you’re encouraged to ask as many questions as you like. Our first priority is that you are fully 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 the Laser Eye Surgery procedure 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 much better.
We also test the size of your pupils. This helps ensure the surgery doesn’t interfere with the way your pupils adapt to different lighting conditions and is especially important for ensuring good and stable night vision.
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 laser treatment for ageing eyes.
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.
If you’re suitable for surgery, this is the point where you decide whether you want to proceed. If you do, your optometrist will conduct a complete ophthalmic exam, gathering ever 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.
In the short video below, Laser Eye Surgery patient Lucy contemplates her reasons for choosing the London Vision Clinic and reflects on her experience.
The big day!
You’re bound to feel a little anxious. Don’t worry: by this stage, we know your eyes like the back of our hands — the key to successful Laser Eye 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 patients have LASIK — fastest-healing form of Laser Eye Surgery.
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.
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 may 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 halos around lights for a while, but these gradually disappear. Most people can drive and return to work within 24 hours of Laser Eye Surgery.
We help ensure you a safe and successful recovery with our comprehensive, detailed aftercare regime. 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.
For glasses wearers, it’s a delight to see the world without a frame at the edge of your vision. You can come in from the cold without your spectacles steaming up, soon play sports or rough-and-tumble with your children, and simply never have to worry anymore about your spectacles.
If you’ve relied 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 from there on.
If at any time you want to visit us to check your progress, even years down the road, we’ll be sure to welcome you with open arms.
Want to take the first step towards years of spectacle-free vision? Make an appointment to speak to one of our friendly dedicated Patient Care Coordinators or send us an email and we’ll get back to you asap.