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Q&A series: Am I suitable for laser eye surgery?

17th September 2014


In this post, we shall be answering questions directed at the suitability of laser eye surgery for patients and how this may affect their lifestyle and career.

How old do I have to be for refractive surgery?

Refractive surgery can be performed at any age above 18 years old, but the treatment of choice may vary depending on different factors. Beyond the age of 50 the refractive procedure of choice may be a lens exchange as opposed to laser correction.

What are the exclusion criteria for refractive surgery?

To be considered for laser eye surgery, one must be over the age of 18, not pregnant and have a stable prescription for 18 months.

In the past, I have been refused laser eye surgery owing to the strength of my prescription. Have techniques advanced?

Yes they have. 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.

Will I need to take time off work?


Your laser consultation can take up to two hours. You can return to work after this, but do not drive as we will have to use drops to dilate your pupils and this can make your vision blurry and light sensitive. We recommend you bring a pair of sunglasses.


The laser treatment, including immediate post-treatment time, will be around 2 hours. We would not recommend you returning to work on the day of treatment. Many return to work two days later but this will depend on the type of treatment you have and type of work you do.


Each aftercare appointment can take up to one hour. If you have LASIK treatment we will see you the following day. Your next aftercare appointment will be one week following treatment. You will be then be seen at intervals determined by your Consultant Ophthalmologic Surgeon. If you have LASEK treatment we will see you 3-7 days following your treatment. Your next aftercare appointment will then be arranged for the following week, then at intervals determined by your consultant ophthalmologist.

How soon after treatment can I resume sporting activities?

Please discuss with your Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon when you can resume sporting activities. Swimming is not recommended for 6 weeks after LASIK treatment and up to 4 weeks after LASEK treatment.

Can I fly after laser eye treatment?

We would recommend not flying for 2 to 3 days after laser eye surgery (this includes both long- haul and short-haul flights). This is due to the dry atmosphere inside an aeroplane. When you do fly please make sure you use plenty of artificial tears.

How soon can I use my PC?

This depends on your own recovery rate, but allow at least 24 to 48 hours, and it could be up to a week. If you must use your PC, then remember to blink frequently and use the drops provided.

I am a commercial pilot. Can I have laser vision correction?

We have treated pilots in the past and this has not been a problem. Often your employer may require a report after the treatment. You would need to clarify this with the Civil Aviation authority (CAA).

Do public services employers (fire, police, and armed forces) recognise laser eye treatment?

The police will generally accept applications from people who have undergone laser eye surgery after the elapse of 6-10 weeks, and provided there are no residual side-effects and other eyesight standards are met. Laser eye surgery treatments are generally acceptable for current employees, but check with your employer beforehand.

Some fire brigades will make allowances for those with laser vision correction. In most cases, you will have to wait 6 months after treatment before applying. Check with your local brigade. Laser eye surgery treatments are generally acceptable for current employees, but check with your superior beforehand.

Military police states that while laser eye procedures are not generally prohibited among serving recruits, there are rules covering its use. Please check with your superior.

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