The importance of a rigorous screening program
Laser Eye Surgery uses cutting edge technology, is semi-automated, and can be performed in just a few minutes. It’s also one of the safest and most effective elective procedures around.
In this way, it’s easy to think of Laser Eye Surgery as something you could have done on the high street on your lunch break. And in some places, they’ll be more than happy to do that for you.
However, Laser Eye Surgery is not a one-off procedure but rather a multi-stage process; the outcome of which depends on each step just as much as the next, from the comprehensive consultation, right through to your one-year aftercare checkup.
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In fact, we can think of the Laser Eye Surgery process like a journey. The destination: greater vision. You can have all the right tools and equipment you need to get there, but if you don’t have an accurate compass, it’s extremely unlikely you’ll end up in the right place.
Your compass here is only as good as a clinic’s initial consultation and screening program. The measurements, readings, and data from your consultation calibrate your compass and set you on course to your destination.
Therefore, the last thing you want is a rushed consultation – much like the one-in-one-out model on the high street – that measures your eyes through limited testing and gathers only the most basic data necessary.
You can’t deny they’re quick and convenient – taking usually less than an hour – which is, of course, great for the company as time equals money. But time is not the most important factor for you, the patient. A thorough and comprehensive consultation that ensures you’re on the right track to your ideal destination should take several hours to complete.
But why exactly do you need such a rigorous screening program, which, for example here at London Vision Clinic, can take up to three hours?
To measure your eyes with certainty
To get a precise measurement of your eye takes specialist knowledge and cutting edge technology. Today, for instance, we’re able to 3D map the entire cornea – to visualise and pinpoint the exact cells that are going to be removed.
To minimise complications and side effects
Laser Eye Surgery can lead to problems in challenging lighting conditions, causing side effects like halos and starbursts.
Clinics can minimise this risk by using methods such as Procyon infrared pupillometry and measuring your eyes in complete darkness. This is the best way of detecting your maximum pupil size and therefore decreasing the chances of unstable night vision as treatment profiles can now days be customised to best suit individual eyes.
To ensure optimal safety
One of the most important safety factors to consider in Laser Eye Surgery is the thickness of the cornea. Clinics will ideally use ultrasound to detect the thickest and thinnest point in your cornea, as well as build a 3D thickness profile, to ensure the parameters are normal and safe for surgery.
To treat you for your unique imperfections
Beyond the general refractive errors, such as short-sightedness and long-sightedness, we all have unique imperfections on the surface of our eyes known as ‘higher order aberrations’. These can only be measured with a wavefront aberrometer, a machine which maps out the irregularities into a high-resolution image (at clinics which use a less powerful aberrometer this image can look pixelated so only high resolution abberometers should be used). The data is then fed into the laser to help the patient achieve higher quality results and a finer clarity of vision.
To ensure your best possible outcome
There are five technologies used by clinical staff in our clinic to measure your eyes. These are topography, pachymetry, Artemis, pupillometry, and wavefront analysis. Within these areas, you will find equipment used in other clinics of different types, brands, and performance metrics. A well-rounded screening program will consist of all five of the technologies and equipment of the highest and most up-to-date specifications. But as seen above in the example of the different capabilities of Wavefront aberrometers, some clinics don’t invest in this area and overlook the importance of an accurate reading.
Laser Eye Surgery is a five-minute procedure, but its effects are everlasting. And so, to achieve the desired result, the least we can do is spend a few hours in preparation to fully understand our eyes and find out how we can effectively, and safely, adjust them to our needs.
Ask us a question below to find out more about our screening program, or if you’d like to book a consultation with us, give us a call us on 020 7224 1005.