Laser eye surgery is one of the most commonly performed elective treatments in the world today. Here, we ask the experts to answer your most frequently asked questions.
What is Laser Eye Surgery?
Laser eye surgery is an operation which aims to reduce dependence on glasses or contact lenses by correcting vision using an excimer laser. During the ten minute surgery the laser reshapes the cornea of the eye in a predetermined manner to improve unaided vision. The two most common types of laser eye surgery are LASIK and LASEK, although there are several other types of refractive surgery that can improve your vision when laser surgery is not the most appropriate option.
We offer a range of different laser eye treatments including LASIK, LASEK and SMILE.
LASIK is the most well known form of laser eye surgery performed. A femtosecond laser creates a flap which is gently lifted so that the cornea can be reshaped using an excimer laser. This gives patients a rapid visual recovery.
LASEK is suitable for people with less serious eye focusing problems, thin corneas or dry eyes who may not be able to have LASIK. Instead of creating a flap, the fine surface of the cornea is loosened and folded back; the cornea is then reshaped using the excimer laser.
SMILE stands for Small Incision Lenticule Extraction. In this procedure, no flap is created; the cornea is reshaped through the removal of a piece of corneal tissue through a keyhole procedure. His procedure is suitable for higher prescriptions and ideal for patients with thin corneas.
Laser surgical procedures are very quick.
LASEK takes in the order of 4-5 minutes per eye, whilst LASIK can take up to 10 minutes per eye due to the extra time required for creating a flap. SMILE takes approximately ten minutes per eye.
This decision always rests with the patient after considering the pros and cons. LASIK and LASEK is performed bilaterally simultaneously in approximately 95% of the patients we treat (i.e. both eyes same day).
Most people start noticing an improvement in vision almost immediately. After LASIK you will normally be able to see without glasses or contact lenses within twenty four hours. With LASEK the visual recovery is slower but by day 5 most patients are seeing well.
The laser has an eye-tracker that will track each and every small movement that your eye makes. The laser only fires when the eye is perfectly in position so there is no chance of your looking around affecting the procedure. The good news is that most people find it very easy to keep the eye still by focusing on the target fixation light.
The procedure itself is painless. However, the eyes may feel a bit gritty after LASIK for a few hours, but there is no pain.
Technology and expertise have advanced a great deal in recent years, meaning vision correction is now available to a much wider range of people with even the most complex of refractive errors. Our consultation includes a number of tests which will determine both your suitability for treatment and help you decide on which is best suited to your personal needs and expectations.
There are various types of laser vision correction, and the right procedure is always determined based on a number of factors including your age, refractive error prescription and lifestyle.