What to ask at your Laser Eye Surgery consultation
Traditionally, Laser Eye Surgery has only been a good option for certain patients. Today, the treatment is much more accessible. As much as 96 percent of people who contact us are suitable candidates for treatment.
With such promising figures, it would be easy to think Laser Eye Surgery is the solution for everyone – No matter if you’re a 20-year-old swimming athlete or a 70-year-old who reads insatiably.
This is the way most the ads and marketing campaigns of Laser Eye Surgery providers make it sound. But the reality is nothing is for everyone, and so although there’s a very good chance you’re eligible for treatment, it’s important to know when that might not be the case.
Many conditions that make you unsuitable for Laser Eye Surgery are temporary. However, there are others which provide more permanent barriers.
Thankfully, finding out if the treatment is right for you is one of the main purposes of the initial consultation. It is here, when you’re with an expert ophthalmic surgeon, that you can ask any questions you may have and undergo a plethora of eye exams and tests.
To help you prepare for your consultation, we’ve compiled a selection of questions you may want to consider and ask your surgeon that will help you decide if Laser Eye Surgery is right for you.
Am I a suitable candidate for Laser Eye Surgery?
Of course, this is what the initial consultation is designed to figure out. But before you go to the clinic, you can get an idea if you’re a good candidate by considering several matters, such as your age, current health, and family history of eye disease.
First things first, any Laser Eye Surgery provider that claims to have a high suitability rate and that you will certainly be a great candidate, without even testing you, should raise alarm bells. Laser Eye Surgery isn’t right for everyone all the time, and sometimes results can be based on a specific cohort of patients — so don’t accept bold and ungrounded claims.
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In terms of who can have Laser Eye Surgery, the treatment is typically recommended to those only over the age of 21. This is to ensure your vision is stable before it undergoes a permanent correction.
Similarly, any patient who is currently pregnant or breastfeeding is advised to wait until their body returns back to normal. This is because the gestation and lactation process is known to affect the body’s hormonal balance which can change your prescription or affect the ability to heal properly.
Other conditions that may influence your chance of suitability include glaucoma and diabetes. Glaucoma and diabetes can lead to higher chance of complications, but other options may be available and if your diabetes is controlled and you have healthy retinas.
Does the surgeon have the best training possible?
At the heart of the Laser Eye Surgery process is the surgeon. And thankfully, there are regulations in place that mean not just any Tom, Dick, or Harry will be performing your procedure.
However, some surgeons are more qualified than others, and therefore the standard of treatment offered varies from clinic to clinic.
Every laser eye surgeon must be a qualified doctor (General Medical Council (GMC) registered physician). There is also a certificate you can obtain from the Royal College of Ophthalmologists, but this is only through a one-day examination.
One way of spotting a good surgeon is by asking if they have specialist fellowship training in the procedure as this demonstrates they are skilled to the highest level. This training is limited in the UK, and so it is not uncommon for some surgeons to learn on the job.
How many procedures has the surgeon carried out?
Even the most skilled and qualified surgeons have to have an active practice. They can have all the knowledge in the world, but if they’ve only performed a few procedures in the last year, then it may not be current and based on real practice.
A typical surgeon will carry out about 300 or more laser eye surgery procedures a year. However, quantity isn’t everything. Especially as in some clinics surgeons are pushed to meet high quotas per day which can impact the care and quality of each treatment.
As well as finding out about how much they practice, ask for your laser eye surgeon’s personal surgical results, which will be distinct from that of the wider clinic.
What results can I expect from Laser Eye Surgery?
Following Laser Eye Surgery, most people achieve the average standard of quality vision: 20/20.
20/20 vision is a good marker of what you can expect from the treatment. However, the exact results you can achieve depends on different factors such as your prescription and your level of vision before treatment.
Pretty much all Laser Eye Surgery patients achieve a significant improvement so that they can see just as well — if not better — than they can with their glasses or contacts.
Will I need glasses or contacts after surgery?
Some clinics promise that if you have Laser Eye Surgery, you’ll never need to wear glasses ever again.
While this may be the case for some patients, it’s impossible to make such a generic statement when every patient and their circumstances are different. For instance, if you are experiencing worsening near vision that starts around your mid-40s, otherwise known as presbyopia, there is a chance you may need glasses or contacts in the future.
How long do the results of Laser Eye Surgery last?
The results of Laser Eye Surgery over the long term are very good. Many people are happy with their vision for five, ten, or even twenty years after treatment. But again, as everyone’s eyes are different, there is no one answer as to how long the results of Laser Eye Surgery will last. Presbyopia, for instance, can affect people at different times in their lives and to different degrees.
Do you offer chocolates and massage?
Okay, so this question maybe isn’t as important as, say, the training of your laser eye surgeon. But go to the right clinic, and you will get such personalised attention because aftercare is key to a successful Laser Eye Surgery process.
When receiving treatment on one of the most precious senses, you want to know you’re in safe hands from start to finish. This means having such features as a high patient to staff ratio and a series of aftercare checkups following treatment, being able to contact the clinic whenever you need to, and receiving a head massage and chocolate to help you relax before treatment.
To find out more about the initial consultation or to book your consultation, leave us a comment or get in touch with one of our friendly clinic coordinators today.