Worldwide, over 30 million treatments have been carried out on people that have wanted to improve their vision. In the UK, that figure now totals 50,000 people.
The procedure, which was considered somewhat controversial when it was first launched 25 years ago, is now a safe and proven method of helping people who have wished to have their vision improved.
Despite common belief, the procedure is a quick and painless affair, and one which really can alter one’s quality of life, getting rid of the need for glasses or contact lenses. Many people who have undergone the procedure have achieved perfect 20/20 vision.
There is already a wealth of information available regarding laser eye surgery, both online and offline, so we’ve spent the time to make sure that the information is presented here in a clear and concise format that is readily accessible.
There are hundreds of facilities across the UK that carry out the treatment. With the information you’ll find here, we’re sure you’ll be well equipped when deciding on the right clinic for you. Here, we have spent the time researching the procedure so that you will have the information you need to make the important decision about opting for this type of surgery.
Table of contents
What is laser eye surgery?
Laser eye surgery is the term used to describe a corrective procedure on the eye that are carried out to correct a person’s vision.
How does laser eye surgery work?
Laser eye surgery has a very high success rate, and according to the Royal College of Ophthalmologists, more than 95% of people who’ve had refractive surgery have stated that they’re happy with the results they’ve received. So, what makes it such an effective form of treatment to correct vision?
The surgery uses laser to reshape the cornea (front surface) of your eyes. This allows your eyes to focus better and works wonders for those suffering with astigmatism, short, and long-sightedness.
Who can have it?
So long as you’re over 18 years old, and generally in good health, then you should be fit to receive laser eye surgery. Professionals recommend that your prescription should have remained roughly the same for around two years. However, for elder patients, sometime lens surgery is recommended over laser eye surgery.
How much will it cost?
Depending on your condition and circumstances, you may be able to get your surgery paid for via the NHS. However, there may be a fee which, depending on the exact surgery you use, and the clinic you use, can cost anywhere up to around £5,000.
You can compare laser eye surgery costs further before making a decision whether you would like to proceed with the surgery.
Can you get in on the NHS?
Depending on your condition, you may be able to get laser eye treatment through the NHS. This is especially so if you are at any risk of losing your sight. For less serious conditions, such as long or short-sightedness, which can be treated in other ways, you may not be able to get the treatment via the NHS.
Conditions such as diabetic retinopathy; thickening of the lens capsule after cataract surgery; particular types of wet macular degeneration, and some specific diseases of the cornea will be treated on the NHS. Short-sightedness, long-sightedness, and astigmatism, however, cannot be treated on the NHS despite them being correctable by laser eye treatment. This is because other more cost-effective forms of treatment are available.
Note that some NHS trusts do run laser eye surgery clinics, but there is usually a fee.
What are the different types?
There are three primary forms of laser eye surgery. These are known as SMILE, LASIK and surface laser treatments.
SMILE is where the surgeon reshapes your cornea via a small, self-healing hole.
LASIK is completed with two lasers. One laser creates a thin flap in the surface of the cornea, and the second reshapes the cornea beneath. Stitches are then used to keep the protective flap.
Surface laser treatments are where the clear skin which covers the cornea is removed in order for the surgeon to reshape the cornea with a laser. Afterwards, the skin grows back on its own.
What are the risks?
As with all surgeries, large or small, there will always be a risk. Don’t let this put you off, however, as having laser eye surgery can be one of the best things that you can ever do. Many of those who have had the surgery say that it was a life changing event. Every surgery, or many day to day tasks, have some degree of risk. We’d never step foot in a car again if we were so risk averse.
Does it hurt?
Despite the thought of lasers and eyes being discussed in the same sentence, it isn’t usually a painful experience. A small percentage of those who have undergone the surgery have reported moderate levels of pain, but the majority may go without experiencing any pain, or feel a mild stinging sensation. Really, it’s a small price to pay for the potential reward.
Find out more: does laser eye surgery hurt?
Where can I get it done?
If you’re looking for somewhere to have the surgery carried out, then the next step should be to speak to your optician. They’re trained and able to talk you through the procedures, and will recommend clinics that are near to you.
There are large number of laser eye surgery clinics in the UK.
Finding the right place…
We hope you’ve found the information you’ve read here to be helpful. When deciding on choosing the right place, the next step will be to speak with your optician to find the best facility in an area that’s accessible for you. Conduct proper research on the clinics, and seek reviews to see what other patients have had to say. You may want to speak with a number of different laser eye surgeons before deciding. Remember that having laser eye surgery can be one of the most positive changes you can undergo, and can open up a new level of freedom without the need for medication, glasses or contact lenses.