Laser eye surgery is a common and popular vision correction procedure. There are several different types of laser eye surgery available, and the one most suitable for you will be determined by a number of factors including your age, vision correction needs, medical history and eye health. If you are considering laser eye surgery, continue reading for more information about the different procedures available at Centre for Sight.
At Centre for Sight LASIK eye surgery with the femtosecond laser is the preferred procedure. The ‘Intra’ component denotes the use of the revolutionary Intralase iFS Femtosecond laser (Lasik technology) which creates the highly precise and micro-thin flap of corneal tissue at the front of the eye.The ‘LASIK’ portion is an abbreviation of Laser Assisted in Situ Keratomileusis. This is the portion of the procedure where the prescription is delivered under the micro-thin flap. Using an individualised treatment plan prepared by the treating surgeon, the Excimer laser is used to accurately re-sculpt the cornea internally, treating the overall prescription as well as correcting fine abnormalities (high order aberrations) to enhance visual outcomes.
Alternatives to the LASIK procedure include LASEK, Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) and Epi-LASIK. At Centre for Sight, these are only performed in exceptional circumstances (e.g. if there is an abnormality of the corneal epithelium, thin cornea, low levels of correction and corneal scarring or surface irregularity).
Alternatives to IntraLASIK include LASEK, PRK and Epi-LASIK. At Centre for Sight, these are only performed in exceptional circumstances (e.g. if there is an abnormality of the corneal epithelium, scarring or surface irregularity).
What is laser eye surgery?
Laser eye surgery a sub-specialisation of eye surgery is a type of vision correction or refractive surgery, which eliminates the need for corrective eyewear. In place since 1987, it is a procedure that uses lasers to make microscopic alterations in the corneal tissue at surface of the eye to completely correct refractive error (nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism) and presbyopia (the need for reading glasses). In most cases, life-changing results are possible following laser vision correction and a person will either never need to wear glasses or lenses again, or will need them much less frequently than before the surgery*.
*Applies generally for distance vision. With age (40’s onwards) and hardening of the crystalline lens inside the eye, focus at near ranges can be difficult and reading glasses may be required. In some cases, hardening of the lens can change the overall power of the eye resulting in slight changes where glasses may again be required.
laser eye surgery
Choosing the laser surgery that’s best for you will depend on a number of factors, including your age, eye health, occupation, recreational activities and type of correction required. There are three main types of laser treatment for eyes, which will be discussed in detail later:
What is the best type of laser eye surgery?
Procedures at Centre for Sight are selected and customised specifically for each patient, taking into consideration specific characteristics including age, ocular condition, amount of correction required, corneal thickness, and mechanical strength of the cornea. LASIK surgery is the most popular laser eye surgery procedure worldwide with over 50 million people treated so far. Many patients consider this to be the best laser eye surgery option, because of benefits which include rapid visual recovery and healing (with a noticeable difference immediately) along with long term stability. At Centre for Sight all Lasik patients have been treated with a femtosecond laser (Intralase) introduced by us to the UK in 2004. This we believe is the gold standard in ensuring absolutely safe, reproducible and reliable procedures. Some organisations and Lasik surgeon still perform conventional Lasik using blades to perform this type of surgery. To differentiate ourselves from blade techniques we use the term IntraLASIK. We shall discuss the benefits of the IntraLASIK later.
Benefits of LASIK
at Centre For Sight
We enjoy transforming patients’ lives through vision correction, vision restoration and maintenance of good eye health. There are a number of superb benefits to be enjoyed when having your LASIK laser eye surgery procedure performed at Centre For Sight. Here are some:
Centre for Sight’s medical director and ophthalmologist Sheraz Daya is the medical monitor for Bausch and Lomb Technolas Lasers which are used at Centre for Sight. As a laser eye surgeon himself for over 30 years, he is actively involved in the development of the company’s laser platforms including their recent addition, “Transepithelial Photorefractive Keratectomy” (TransEpi PRK). The design, development and study of this refractive procedure on the eye’s cornea for the Bausch & Lomb Teneo excimer laser was performed at Centre for Sight.
Pioneers in surgical technology
Centre for Sight’s medical director Sheraz Daya has performed laser refractive surgery since 1990 and was the first UK surgeon to perform Lasik (1994) and also introduced the use of the femtosecond laser for Lasik surgery (Intralasik) to the country in 2004. He has pioneered the use of Bausch and Lomb’s Zyoptix wavefront Lasik and has trained numerous eye surgeons in the technique worldwide and is often asked to speak on laser vision correction surgery at international meetings. As a reference centre for Bausch and Lomb we are always at the forefront of Lasik technology.
Fellowship Surgeon Led
Our laser eye surgeons are all Fellowship-trained (super-specialised beyond basic eye surgery training) in Cornea and Refractive surgery. Preoperative assessment (Lasik consultation)and plans for surgery are carried out in advance directly by an eye surgeon, giving you added reassurance that your evaluation has been as thorough as possible.
All LASIK patients at Centre for Sight undergo laser eye surgery with the Intralase femtosecond laser, a much safer form of laser that we introduced to the UK ourselves and has now become the gold standard. Our infection rate is zero in over 20,000 cases.
ISO 9001, 14001 and 27001 accredited
Very few providers in the UK hold all this multiple certification which externally verifies the high standards of care provision at Centre for Sight.
for being Well Led by the Care Quality Commission, the regulator for Clinics and Hospitals.
Centre for Sight has an international reputation and is a reference centre to the ophthalmic industry with regular visited by eye surgeons who come to learn about our procedures and processes.
We regularly provide second opinions and treat corrective eye surgery complications that have resulted from procedures performed at other centres. Advanced eye surgeon expertise at all levels.
We understand the need for patients to be able to contact us in an emergency with surgeons available if needed.
In our pursuit of perfection in keeping a surgical procedure safe, we constantly review what we do and strive to do better often exceeding minimum standards, raising the bar when it comes to quality care.
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Laser eye surgery procedure
5 simple steps
We usually operate on both eyes on the same day. However, as a safety precaution Centre for Sight ensures that each eye is treated as a separate procedure with separately sterilised instruments and new disposable instruments.
Before your procedure numerous checks are performed and we always verify that your treatment plan matches correctly with your test results. The laser is calibrated and disposable instrumentation prepared.
Numbing eye drops are used along with strong antibiotics to prevent infection. The area around the eye is cleaned thoroughly with a disinfectant and to prevent the eye from closing during the procedure a special eyelid holder is used. During laser eye surgery you will be asked to look as steadily as you can at the centre of a flashing red light.
The Intralase femtosecond laser is initially used to create the corneal flaps at the exact dimensions and depth needed.
Next the laser bed will automatically move to the Excimer laser. The eye is recognised using iris recognition technology to ensure accurate eye tracking and precise delivery. After carefully lifting the flap, the laser will rapidly reshape the inner cornea according to your own unique prescription.
Once the laser reshaping is completed the flap is replaced and allowed to dry. Drops are used to prevent infection.
We usually operate on both eyes on the same day. However, as a safety precaution Centre for Sight ensures that each eye is treated as a separate procedure with separately sterilised instruments.
Common questions about laser eye surgery
To find out whether you’re a suitable candidate you can use the Am I Suitable questionnaire and our staff will respond with some specific treatment options. Although each case is assessed individually, generally speaking you will meet the criteria for laser eye surgery if you can say yes to the following:
- You’re aged 18 or over
- Your vision has remained the same over the past 12 months (less than 0.50D change in the last year)
- You have a healthy cornea and no major medical problems with your eyes
- You are not pregnant or nursing
Lastly, you’ll also need to have an extensive 2-3 hour period of investigation followed by a consultation with a surgeon to see whether your eyes are suitable for surgery. To save time, this may be divided into preliminary screening tests and if suitable you will see the surgeon for a lengthier visit at a later date.
Before your consultation: how to prepare
If you are a contact lens wearer, we ask you to stop wearing your contacts for at least one week if they’re soft lenses, and four weeks if they’re hard/gas permeable lenses. This helps us to accurately assess your eye and the degree of correction required.
During the evaluation, we shall test your vision with and without your glasses. You will also be checked on a machine called an autorefractor. Other tests include:
- Contrast sensitivity
- Corneal topography (the shape and curvature of your cornea) – using 4 different methods
- Corneal thickness
- Mechanical strength of the cornea
- Eye pressures
We'll also measure the way a wavefront of light passes through the cornea and the crystalline lens using a method known as aberrometry.
At the same time we capture details of your iris for our Advanced Controlled Eye Tracker, a tool that helps track the eye and provide accurate laser spot delivery during surgery, even with finest and fastest of eye movements.
In addition, we shall also evaluate you for dry eye. Lastly, we use special drops that dilate your pupils and paralyse your internal muscles and this allows us to both check the true power of the eye when in a relaxed state and examine the retina at the back of the eye to exclude any potential issues.
Once your surgeon has finished the assessment, they will recommend the best treatment option for you (if any) and talk you through the benefits, alternatives and risks as well as the post-operative and recovery phase.
Immediately after surgery: your eyes will be protected with dark glasses with an elastic band to prevent you from accidentally rubbing your eyes. You'll be seated in a reclining chair with your eyes closed. Your eyes will be examined a little while later to ensure you have had an improvement in vision and that the corneal flaps are fine. It may seem like you're looking through a fog at first, but this will clear over the next few hours. Before you leave, we'll give you something to eat and a well-earned cup of tea or coffee!
You'll need to arrange to have someone to take you home as you won't be able to drive and you may also feel drowsy from being sedated.
Aftercare: We shall provide you with drops and clear verbal and written instructions on how to use them, along with a list of Dos and Don'ts. A day or two later we shall examine your eyes again and after that you will have a number of follow up appointments to check how your eyes are healing.
What should I do / not do after laser eye surgery?
Firstly, it’s important to avoid dusty or smoky atmospheres for the first two weeks after your surgery. Here are some common questions about what you can and can’t do after surgery:
- Can I shower after laser eye surgery? You can shower the next day but you must make sure your eyes are closed.
- How long after laser surgery can I drive? When you are comfortable with your new vision, and it meets the level required to meet the driving standard.
- How soon after surgery can I go back to work? Typically the next day, if you are feeling up to it.
- Can I use a computer after laser eye surgery? You can use a computer the following day,but be sure to take plenty of breaks and blink more often. Follow the 20 20 20 rule
- When can I exercise at a moderate pace? After one week.
- What about exercising at an intense level? Please wait for two weeks and use a headband to absorb any perspiration to prevent this from entering your eyes.
- Can I go swimming after laser eye surgery? After three weeks you can go swimming again, but you must wear goggles. Wait four weeks to swim without goggles.
- When can I go Scuba Diving? After 4 weeks.
- When can I wear eye make up again? Please do not wear mascara or eyeliner for four weeks; all other make-up, please wait for two days.
We know you probably have lots of questions about having a laser treatment for your eyes. Here are some useful answers from our surgeons:
How long does LASIK/IntraLASIK take?
It usually takes less than 15 minutes for both eyes. However, in order to prepare you for the procedure and ensure recovery you will be at the centre for 2-3 hours.
Is laser eye surgery painful?
The treatment itself is painless, as we use strong anaesthetic numbing drops. You may feel a little pressure when the laser is being used. Afterwards, you might feel a little discomfort for a few hours – like soap in your eyes. We want you to sleep for four hours after surgery as this makes a huge difference in terms of recovery.
How dangerous is laser eye surgery and what are the disadvantages? The main danger or disadvantage is that, as with any technically complex eye surgery, rare problems with vision can occur. This is usually at the stage when the surgeon creates the flap, which can affect your permanent vision. The risk is greatly reduced by using femtosecond laser technology in the hands of an experienced surgeon and reputable provider like Centre for Sight.
What happens if you blink during laser eye surgery? It’s impossible to blink during the surgery as we use a special clip that gently holds your eyelid open.
How soon after laser surgery will I be able to see? Although every patient is different, the vast majority of InterLASIK patients achieve legal driving vision or better by the very next day. In a very small number of patient’s vision will take longer to recover, possibly up to 10 days.
What if I am not suitable for laser eye surgery? There’s a good chance we’ll be able to suggest other treatments based on your specific eye issue. Your surgeon will talk you through the options during your consultation.
Is the procedure covered by health insurance? Most health insurance companies do not cover laser eye surgery where the purposes for treatment are elective vision correction.
Where can I get laser eye surgery near me? We have three branches in the UK, located in London, Surrey and Sussex. To find your nearest Centre For Sight, see our Contact page.
At Centre for Sight, our prices are always transparent with no hidden extras. We also have finance options to make your surgery more affordable. To learn more, see our page on pricing.
Although LASIK produces superb results, there are some risks to be aware of. These include:
Dry eye: During the first few months of recovery after surgery patients will need to use artificial tear drops to avoid dry eye problems. Over time nerve endings will regrow and the problem will improve. Patients at risk of severe dry eye are identified at the consultation stage and either treated for dry eye beforehand or declined for laser surgery.
Overcorrection, undercorrection and regression: There is a slight risk of these occurring depending on how the eye responds to surgery and how it heals. At Centre For Sight this occurs rarely and less than 1% of our patients have needed an enhancement with IntraLASIK.
Note: If you do need extra care, you’ll be happy to know there’s no extra charge if it falls within the first year after surgery.
Night vision disturbances: It is normal to experience some initial disturbance after the procedure which rapidly decreases over a period of days to two weeks. Long term disturbances are rare with the correct treatment choice being tailor-made for each eye (i.e. with Aspheric and Wavefront Aspheric treatments).
- Pallikaris IG, Papatzanaki ME, Stathi EZ, Frenschock O, Georgiadis A. Laser in situ keratomileusis. Lasers Surg Med. 1990;10(5):463-8. PubMed PMID: 2233101. PubMed
- “Education Education Education” 14 November 2008. Archived from the original on 3 December 2013. Retrieved 3rd January 2019. OptometryToday
- Dry Eyes And LASIK. Marilyn Haddrill with contributions by Robert L. Epstein, M. All About Vision
Authored by Sheraz Daya MD FACP FACS FRCS(Ed) FRCOphth, Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon & Medical Director, January 2019.
As an authority and leader in refractive surgery he has served on the Royal College of Ophthalmologists Refractive Surgery Working Group which developed the Standards for Refractive surgery including Implantable Contact Lenses /Phakic IOL (https://www.rcophth.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/ToR-Refractive-Surgery-Standards-Working-Group-V1.4.pdf).
Next review due January 2020.
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