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What is the minimum age for laser eye surgery?
The legal minimum age limit for laser eye surgery is 18. However, at many VIP Providers their limit is 21 as prescriptions often do not stabilise until this age. Stability of prescription will be one of the many factors determined at your initial assessment.
Is there an upper age limit for laser eye surgery?
No, there is no upper age limit, as long as your eyes are healthy. Some older patients may experience a longer healing period after laser treatment and this would be discussed at your initial assessment if relevant. Some older patients are more suitable for alternative treatments and again, this can be determined at your consultation.
Can I have laser treatment if I am diabetic?
This depends on how well your diabetes is controlled. If you are a well-controlled insulin dependent diabetic with no associated retinal problems you will be able to have laser surgery. However, if you have uncontrolled diabetes (type 1 or 2) we may be unable to treat you as the corneal healing will be compromised and it would not be in your best interest to undergo surgery.
Can laser surgery treat amblyopia (lazy eye)?
A lazy eye usually develops during childhood and cannot be improved, no matter what prescription lens is put in front of the eye. This is because lazy eye development is on a cortical level and not just a prescription issue. In most cases laser surgery can only restore vision to the same level attainable with corrective lenses. However, in some cases patients do improve after surgery, especially in those who have a mild lazy eye. For further information please call your VIP Provider or VIP Optician to discuss your prescription over the phone. A final decision can only be made after your initial screening.
Can laser eye surgery treat strabismus (squint)?
A strabismus is a turn in one eye or sometimes both. Refractive surgery changes the refractive error (prescription) of each eye individually and will not solve a squint problem, unless the squint is the type that straightens with prescription. Following laser treatment, squint surgery is often required to straighten the eye. Squints are often associated with amblyopia and the visual outcome you should expect will be discussed at your initial assessment.
Can I have laser eye surgery if I am taking prescription drugs?
It is very important that you inform your VIP Clinical Team of all medication you are taking so that your surgeon is made aware of the exact details. However, prescription drugs are not a contraindication to surgery.
Do I have to stop any medication prior to surgery?
This will be discussed at your initial assessment as your surgeon will advise you which medications can continue as normal and which have to be temporarily stopped.
Can I have laser eye surgery if I have glaucoma?
Yes, in most cases. However your surgeon will make the final decision at your initial assessment. Please note that laser surgery is not a treatment for glaucoma.
Can I have laser eye surgery if I have thin corneas?
If you have been told you are unsuitable for laser treatment due to corneal thickness VIP's Partners can still help you. Treatment for patients with thinner corneas is highly dependent on the technology and surgical expertise of the clinic. If we find you to be unsuitable for laser we can offer you the highly successful alternatives of Implantable Contact Lens and Clear Lens Exchange treatments, in which our VIP Providers are the UK leaders.
Can I have laser eye surgery if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?
Hormonal activity during pregnancy and the breastfeeding period affects vision. Because of this VIP Providers will not treat patients during this time as it is not possible to obtain accurate prescription readings and measurements of the eye. In addition, medication may be required following treatment, making it an unsafe option. Our VIP Providers ask that you wait one month after stopping breastfeeding before you come to us for your initial assessment.
Can I have laser eye surgery if I have keratoconus?
Keratoconus is a bilateral, progressive and non-inflammatory disease of the cornea, affecting approximately one in 2,000 people. It is characterised by paraxial stromal thinning, which causes the normally round-shaped cornea to progressively become stretched, resulting in the development of a bulge in the cornea. This bulge changes the corneal refractive error to produce irregular astigmatism and myopia and consequently, visual distortion. Laser treatment is not possible due to the weak corneal tissue but certain VIP Providers are able to stabilise the progression of keratoconus with a new treatment called Cross-linking and/or INTACS.
Can I have laser eye surgery if I have macular degeneration?
Yes, although the visual outcome depends on the severity of your condition and suitability will be determined by the surgeon at your initial assessment. Laser eye surgery does not treat macular degeneration.
Can I have laser eye surgery if I have dry eyes?
This depends on the severity and cause of the dryness. An extensive tear film assessment will be part of your initial consultation and if treatment is required prior to surgery the appropriate medication will be prescribed.
Can I have laser eye surgery if I have large pupils?
This depends on the technology and expertise used. Some VIP Providers use the advanced Bausch and Lomb Zyoptix 100 system which allows bespoke Wavefront laser eye surgery that results in superior visual outcomes. The Advanced Nomogram that they use means we are proud to say we have never had to turn a patient away because of their pupil size alone.
I have read reports online about complications and side effects, can you reassure me?
Unfortunately, as useful as the internet is for information, it can lead to people being misinformed and left confused. When researching laser eye surgery it must be remembered that without knowing the patient’s prescription, circumstances, surgery method and clinic details, the information about the experience is meaningless.
Regrettably, there are a number of clinics where quantity takes priority over quality and this can lead to complications and unhappy patients. Be assured that at VIP our parameters are extremely strict and we will only treat you if we can make a positive difference. We want you to enjoy the experience and the outcome.
Why does the price of laser eye treatment vary so much?
VIP Providers adopt a strict transparent pricing policy. The price you are quoted is an inclusive one that includes the consultation, all surgery, aftercare for one year and medication for one month. There are no hidden extras. Your eyes are priceless and you should not make a decision based on price alone. The high street UK clinics tend to sell laser eye treatment as a commodity. At VIP Providers, everyone is treated as an individual, not as a number.
Some clinics advertise a cheap starting price that ends up much higher by the time your eyes have been assessed, but we do not believe this is fair on you. At the end of the day you get what you pay for and you are only going to undergo this life changing experience once. VIP Providers endeavour to make sure it is exactly what it should be – affordable, safe, easy and truly amazing.
I wear glasses for distance and reading – can you treat both with laser?
Presbyopia is the name for the inability of the eyes to focus on close objects gradually over time and is part of the natural ageing process. This results in the need for separate pairs of glasses for distance and reading or varifocals. Laser eye surgery corrects distance vision only and following this, reading glasses would be required. There is a form of laser treatment called monovision (also known as blended vision) where one eye is corrected for distance vision and the other eye for reading and the brain adapts to see both distance and near. However, this does need a trial in the form of glasses or contact lenses to confirm you are able to tolerate this.
Some VIP Providers they are able to treat you with the alternative method of Clear Lens Exchange with multifocal implants, which corrects distance and near vision without the need for monovision. This is a permanent solution and has the advantage that in the future you cannot develop a cataract, eliminating any need for further surgery.
Where does the laser treatment take place?
All laser procedures take place at a VIP Providers clinic, which you will become familiar with during your initial consultation with them.
Are there any do’s and don’ts for the day of surgery?
On the day of surgery we ask you to arrive wearing comfortable clothes, having had something to eat to keep your blood sugar levels stable. We ask that you wear no make-up, face creams, perfume or alcohol-based deodorant on the day of surgery.
What happens if I move my eyes during surgery?
When you have surgery with a VIP Provider you do not need to worry about this thanks to the highly sophisticated multi-dimensional eye tracker systems they use. During your initial consultation we will take pictures of your irises (iris fibre patterns are completely unique between individuals and each eye). This image is transported to the laser so when you are lying underneath it recognises and follows this. Any eye movements made are compensated for by the laser with a reaction time of 6.6milliseconds.
Will I meet my surgeon prior to the day of my treatment?
Yes, we believe it is essential that patients meet their surgeon before having a procedure as it is only the surgeon who can make the final decision about the treatment required. In most other clinics in UK patients are seen by an optometrist and the surgical decision is made by them. The patients are often seen by the surgeon only on the day of the surgery, which we believe is not best practice.We regularly hear of patients who have had a consultation at another clinic and on the day of surgery the surgeon makes a last minute change or, worse still, deems them unsuitable for treatment. Be assured that the clinical team at your VIP Provider is highly trained, but it always stands that only the surgeon can make the final decision.
How do I choose a surgeon?
This is a very important decision and sufficient research should be undertaken before making it. The following criteria are useful:
1. Is the surgeon accredited by the Royal College of Ophthalmology in the UK?
2. Does the surgeon have higher qualifications like FRCS or FRCO in the UK?
3. Does the surgeon perform laser eye treatment as a primary profession? Some surgeons do laser treatments as part of their general practice.
4. What is the experience of the surgeon in terms of years and the number of procedures performed?
5. Laser treatment is a corneal treatment and so to ensure the best possible result your surgeon should be a corneal specialist with the expertise to handle pre-operative and post-operative complications, should they arise.
What is the difference between a professor and a consultant surgeon?
Be aware of jargon when it comes to surgeons’ titles. ‘Professor’ is often misused as in the USA surgeons are able to call themselves this without any academic or research backing and is used as a general title. However, in the UK and in Europe Professors are true Professors as they are only able to use the title by working in UK academic institutes, such as Moorfields Eye Hospital, or attached to a university (accredited by UK institutions) and undertaking research. It is a legal title reserved for this limited group of experts.
How do I choose a laser eye clinic?
Your decision should be based on a number of factors and definitely not just be driven by price. Your first experience with a clinic will be your in-depth assessment and following this you should have a very good understanding of that particular clinic’s working standards, ethos and expertise. It is important you feel absolutely comfortable with the clinic and clinical team, the surgeon (his/her manner, qualifications and experience), the technology they will be using on your eyes and, of course, the money you are paying for these privileges.
It is important that you are able to ask all the questions you would like and that you do not feel pushed into making a decision. Be aware of clinics or surgeons using a mobile laser as the calibration and technology vary among the lasers.
Can I drink alcohol after treatment?
It is not advisable to drink alcohol the day before, the day of and the day after treatment as this can cause dryness of the eyes. Drinking will not damage your eyes but will affect tear film stability, resulting in dryness and the need for extra drops.
How long will the effects of laser treatment last?
Laser treatment will correct your distance refraction for the rest of your life, assuming there are no retinal or lens changes. The cornea is a very stable tissue and studies have proven that once treated by laser, the cornea is modified permanently. In the few cases of unexplained regression that occur the corneas can be treated a second time to treat any residual prescription. If the prescription is stable for one year after laser treatment then this regression is very rare.
However, in all of us when we reach our 40s the fine focusing mechanism of the lens within our eyes changes and our near vision deteriorates. This results in the need for reading glasses.
Can any surgeon guarantee 20/20 vision?
No honest surgeon can guarantee 20/20 vision. You can be given a percentage chance of achieving it but it cannot be guaranteed as natural corneal healing plays a role in your visual outcome. However, due to the advanced technology available a very high percentage of people can achieve 20/20 vision.
What are the long term effects of laser eye surgery?
It has been clinically proven that the behaviour of an eye that has undergone laser surgery parallels that of a normal eye that has not had surgery. Laser surgery does not make you immune to suffering from any other eye diseases such as glaucoma, cataracts or macular degeneration so it is important that you continue to see an optometrist for regular check-ups.
How many times do I need to have a check-up following treatment?
This depends on the treatment
How soon after treatment can I have a bath or shower?
You can bathe or shower the day after treatment but you must avoid the eye area as water cannot get in or near your eyes for 7 days after surgery. We provide goggles to be worn during showering and advice is given on cleaning the eye area safely.
When can I drive after treatment?
Usually 2-3 days after surgery but this will be confirmed by your surgeon or optometrist at your 1 day check-up.
How soon after treatment can I use eye makeup?
Seven days after surgery. We strongly recommend you purchase a new mascara to avoid any chance of infection.
How soon after treatment can I exercise?
Non-contact sports and exercise can be resumed after the first week. Your surgeon or optometrist can advise you on specific sports or your individual needs in this respect. Eye protection is always recommended for racquet sports or activities where there is a risk of being hit in the eye.
How soon after treatment can I swim?
Two weeks after treatment unless advised otherwise.
Can I see my surgery being performed?
You will be ‘awake’ but very relaxed. You will not be able to see the details of treatment taking place. You will see a number of lights but the images will be blurred.
Can I rub my eyes after treatment?
No, not for at least a week after treatment. We provide you with goggles to wear at night to prevent you from rubbing your eyes whilst sleeping.
Do I need to leave my contact lenses out prior to treatment?
Yes, because prolonged contact lens wear can change the corneal shape, affecting the accuracy of diagnostic measurements. Before your consultation contact lenses need to be left out for the following time:
- Soft lenses – 24 hours- Toric soft lenses – one week- Extended wear soft lenses – one week- Gas permeable lenses – four weeks (and if worn for over 10 years an extra week for every decade of wear)
Can I eat or drink prior to my surgery?
Yes, it is recommended that you eat a light meal before surgery. Alcohol should not be consumed the day before, on the day or the day after surgery.
How soon can I fly after treatment?
You can undertake short haul flights the day after surgery and long haul flights after one week.
How quickly will I see and what should I expect after LASIK surgery?
Most of our patients return to work and are driving within two days. In the first week or two many people feel as though they are looking through a dirty contact lens or fog and this is completely normal. Patients often report that during this time they can see well but feel the contrast, clarity and sharpness could be better. Again, this is completely normal and it usually takes a few weeks for vision to reach its peak. By three months almost all patients find their vision has stabilised.
Should I expect both eyes to heal at the same rate?
It is common for the eyes to heal at different rates and also for one to be more comfortable than the other. This is normal and usually does not interfere with driving or other activities. It is also common and normal for vision to fluctuate somewhat from day to day in the first few weeks after treatment.
If I am nervous will this be a problem?
Our eyes and vision are very precious. Of course it is perfectly natural to be nervous and that is why we spend a great deal of time with you at your consultation as well as on the day of surgery, describing exactly what is involved during and after the procedure. We also prescribe a mild sedative just before surgery to help you feel more relaxed. At AVC we strongly believe that it is not enough to just provide our patients with excellent vision; we also strive to make the experience as comfortable, reassuring and enjoyable as possible.
Can I go blind from the procedure?
No patient of our surgeons has ever become blind from any refractive procedure they have performed.