Introduction of Laser Eye Surgery

Tired of wearing glasses? Laser eye surgery could be the answer to your problems. There are two forms of laser eye surgery, known as LASIK and LASEK, both of which permanently reshape the cornea. The cornea is the transparent portion at the front of the eye.

At The Stoneygate Eye Hospital, we offer both correction options using state of the art femtosecond laser technology to ensure the best possible vision outcome. Where the two procedures differ is that LASIK involves creating and replacing a corneal flap, where as LASEK, the top layer of the cornea is loosened, moved and then reattached.

Video: Mr. Savant explains Laser Eye Surgery

What is LASIK eye surgery?

LASIK (laser assisted in-situ keratomileusis) is the most popular and well-known type of laser eye Surgery and can be used to treat myopia (short sight), hyperopia (long sight), astigmatism, and wave front abnormalities.

At The Stoneygate Eye Hospital, our LASIK surgery uses the latest computer technology in a fast, efficient and completely blade-free procedure that can improve and sharpen vision. The treatment is usually carried out in as little as 15 minutes, but this is dependent on individual cases. Most patients can expect to see noticeable results within 24 hours.

What is LASEK eye surgery?

LASEK (laser assisted epithelial keratomileusis) is a type of laser eye surgery, often used as an alternative treatment for those who are not suitable for LASIK eye surgery.

This treatment involves the fine surface layer of the cornea being loosened and folded back, instead of a flap being created and removed, as is the case with LASIK treatment. An Excimer laser is then used to reshape the surface of the cornea, thus correcting the eye’s refractive error.

LASIK is the preferred laser eye treatment by most, as visual recovery with LASEK can be slower, and bandage lenses need to be worn for up to a week. The eye can also be uncomfortable for a few days after treatment. However, not everyone is suitable for LASIK, for instance if your corneas are too thin or flat for LASIK treatment, and, therefore, LASEK eye surgery may be able to offer a great alternative.

Benefits and Risks of LASIK Eye Surgery

Research indicates that approximately 96% of patients achieve their desired vision following LASIK treatment:

  • Quick procedure
  • Rapid results
  • Most patients no longer need glasses or contact lenses
  • Relatively painless treatment
  • No stitches required

 As with all types of surgery, there are always some risks involved, of which your consultant will make you aware of. These can be specific to each patient and their medical history.

If necessary, further adjustments can be made years down the line to correct vision.

 

Benefits and Risks of LASEK Eye Surgery

In LASEK eye surgery, various techniques are used to retain the very thin corneal surface layer of cells (epithelium) that is used to recover the cornea after the laser sculpting is performed.

With LASIK, a thicker flap is created using a laser or mechanical device (microkeratome) under which the laser sculpting is done. LASEK surgery is said to have several advantages, including:

  • Complications associated with creating and reattaching the flap in the cornea are avoided.

As with all types of surgery, there are always some risks involved, of which your consultant will make you aware of. These can be specific to each patient and their medical history.

The LASIK Procedure

The surgeon uses the femtosecond laser to send microscopic laser pulses onto the cornea and forms bubbles underneath.

This allows the outer layer of the cornea to be gently lifted back, forming a painless flap and exposing the deeper cornea tissue.

The surgeon is then able to reshape the cornea using an Excimer laser to correct the eye's refractive error.

Once complete, the flap is then replaced and smoothed back over to allow the healing process to begin.

The LASEK Procedure

An excimer laser is used to make surface ablations (removal of tissue) on the cornea instead of creating a corneal flap.

With LASEK, the outer layer of the cornea is loosened by using an ethanol, or diluted alcohol solution.

The tissue is then brushed away, and the laser is used to reshape the stroma underneath — similarly to LASIK. The same laser and technology are used in both procedures.

While the epithelial, or top layer, of the cornea is mostly removed, it is then replaced and repositioned after the ablation of the cornea during LASEK.

Initial Aftercare

After your treatment, you will be directed to recovery where you’ll be able to relax with refreshments. The consultant will then run through the post-operative instructions on how to properly care for your eye after surgery, along with drops to use and emergency contact information. We ask all patients following surgery to arrange suitable transport, such as having a family member/friend collect you from the Hospital, as your vision may not meet the criteria for driving straight after.

Aftercare During the First 2 Days

During the first few days of your aftercare, you may be required to attend a follow-up exam. At this appointment, the ophthalmic surgeon will review your eye recovery and give further guidance on how best to manage a healthy and quick recovery.

We advise avoiding showers immediately following your treatment, and during the first day of your recovery. Alongside this, it’s recommended to stay home from work for 1-2 days following surgery to allow your eyes to heal quickly without undue strain.

After Day 3

Your eyes should have recovered enough to allow you start doing some light exercises without causing aggravated strain. At this stage, intense and strenuous exercise is strongly advised against as this may delay recovery.

If you have any concerns or questions during this recovery process, we’re always on hand to answer any questions and arrange another appointment with your consultant if necessary.

What are the costs?

Initial no obligation consultation, including full diagnostics – Free of charge

                                                                                                    £3,000 – For both eyes, with LASIK or LASEK

2 Free post-operative check-up appointments

 NO VAT APPLICABLE ON ALL OUR COSTS

Interest free finance over 12 months available - subject to status

 

Laser Eye Surgery FAQs

How Long Does Laser Eye Surgery Take?

Short Answer: From a few seconds to 2 minutes.

You’ll be in the laser suite for approximately 15 – 20 minutes, although this can take longer depending on your circumstances. The actual laser is usually only used in short bursts of a few seconds at a time until the desired effect is achieved.

How Quickly Will I Notice The Results?

Short Answer: It varies, but you could notice the improvements immediately.

The majority of patients notice a significant improvement to their eyesight within 24 hours. By the end of your recovery period, which can last from around 2-7 days depending on the treatment type, you'll experience a vast improvement in your vision.

How Quickly Can I Return To Work After Laser Eye Surgery?

Short Answer: Normally within 48 Hours for LASIK, up to 7 days for LASEK.

Your recovery period depends on the type of laser eye surgery you’ve had and your recovery rate. Most LASIK surgery patients have normal vision and can return within 24-48 hours after surgery, while those who have LASEK treatments may take up to a week to recover. Your surgeon will tell you beforehand how much time you’ll need to take off.

What Does Laser Eye Surgery Feel Like?

Short Answer: It is painless but may get uncomfortable at some stages.

Strictly speaking, laser eye surgery is a painless procedure, but there are some stages which some patients might find uncomfortable. Let’s discuss these stages:

First, the surgeon will put anesthetic eye drops in the eye to be treated to make it numb. Once the anesthetic has taken effect, the surgeon will place a speculum on the eye to keep it open. Some patients have reported feeling a slight discomfort during this step.

Depending on the type of laser surgery, the surgeon will either scrape off the epithelial cells (for LASEK and LASIK ) or cut and peel back a flap over the cornea (LASEK and LASIK). Some patients experience a slight pressure on their eye while this is being done. Once the cornea is exposed, the surgeon will focus a laser beam on the cornea in order to reshape it. Some patients report feeling a slight painless pressure while the laser is being beamed onto their eye, but this takes less than a minute. The flap is then replaced for a LASEK or LASIK patient.

After the procedure, a LASIK patient will be given eye drops to prevent dryness and infection and possibly an eye patch for protection. A LASEK or a LASIK patient will have a soft contact lens put on their eye to protect it during the healing process.

The patient may feel dryness and a mild stinging sensation which can be managed with painkillers and goes away after a few days.

What are the Main Refractive Errors Treated by Laser Eye Surgery?

Short Answer: Presbyopia, Myopia, Hyperopia and Astigmatism.

Laser eye surgery, also known as vision correction or refractive surgery, refers to the handful of treatments used to correct refractive errors. In recent years, technology in this field has advanced dramatically meaning more severe prescriptions can be treated and the results are better than ever. The main refractive erros treated are Presbyopia, Myopia (also known as short sightedness), Hyperopia (also known as long sightedness) and Astigmatism. The majority of these surgeries involve reshaping the clear, front part of your eye (the cornea), as it’s this that’s responsible for letting light through and focusing it on the back of your eye (the retina).

Other procedures will replace the natural lens of your eye and this guide will hopefully answer some of the most frequently asked questions about the various types refractive laser eye surgery treatments available in the UK.  

What Are The Success Rates?

Short Answer: More than 95% of patients report being satisfied with the results.

Followup surveys across multiple clinics in the UK indicate that more than 95% of patients report being satisfied with the results they’ve had through their surgery, even going as far as deeming it ‘life-changing’.

There’s also very little pain (if any) associated with these types of procedures, and for the majority of laser eye surgery patients, vision returns to normal (and is noticeably improved) within a few days of the surgery.

In the UK, regression occurs among only 5% of laser eye surgery patients. People who are likely to have regression are those with high prescriptions and/or are longsighted.

Who Is Suitable For Laser Eye Surgery?

Laser eye surgery treats such a wide range of sight problems that most patients are suitable for it. There are some conditions, however, that a patient must meet to be considered eligible for laser eye surgery:

The patient must be 21 or above, with a prescription that has been stable for at least one year.

The patient must not be pregnant or breastfeeding, as hormonal changes are likely to affect eyesight.

Patients who are suffering from diabetes or glaucoma and other eye conditions will need to see an eye specialist first in order to see if they can undergo laser eye surgery.

If you are deemed unsuitable for laser eye surgery there are still alternative eye treatments that can cure longsightedness, shortsightedness, astigmatism, cataracts, presbyopia and keratoconus.

What Is The Age Limit?

Short Answer: You need to be at least 21 years old.

A patient needs to be at least 21 years old to undergo laser eye surgery. The eyes of anyone younger than this may still be developing and their prescription may change.

Laser eye clinics will normally require sight test results to show that a patient’s prescription hasn’t changed for at least one year before they consider that patient for laser eye surgery.

There is no upper age limit for laser eye surgery patients, although there are clinics that will not operate on those over 70.

Can Laser Eye Surgery Cure Astigmatism?

Short Answer: Yes

Astigmatism can be treated but it can be quite a challenge to fix as the irregular shape of the cornea requires more than a straightforward solution. One of the best (and most popular) laser eye treatments for astigmatism is LASIK using wavefront (or similar technology), as it can be more precise in correcting the irregularities on the cornea. Your surgeon will decide after consultation which procedure will be the best one for your astigmatism.