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Laser eye surgery to correct vision problems from refractive errors
A refractive error occurs when the shape of your cornea prevents light from focusing on your retina (the light-sensitive part at the back of your eye). This causes problems with vision like short-sightedness, long-sightedness, and astigmatism.
LASIK eye surgery uses lasers and microsurgery to reshape your cornea (the clear part at the front of your eye). It is a quick and painless procedure that is performed as a day case under local anaesthetic. Both eyes can normally be treated on the same day.
This page explains what LASIK eye surgery is, what conditions it can treat and what to expect during your surgery and recovery.
At Circle Health Group, we offer the latest technology in laser eye surgery using CustomVue™ to measure and correct individual imperfections in your vision. We are also one of the first healthcare providers in the UK to treat patients using the VISX excimer laser system, meaning laser eye surgery is safer and more accurate than ever before.
Call or book online today to arrange a consultation to discuss private LASIK eye surgery with a consultant of your choice at Circle Health Group.
LASIK eye surgery is suitable for people with refractive errors such as:
LASIK eye surgery may not be suitable for everyone. You may not be a good candidate for LASIK eye surgery if you:
At your first consultation, you will be seen by a consultant ophthalmologist, a doctor specialising in conditions affecting the eye.
Your consultant will ask you about your symptoms, general health, and medical history. They will perform a thorough eye examination and may arrange further tests. These may include:
These tests measure the shape (curvature) of your cornea. They are used to detect corneal diseases such as keratoconus.
During this test, you look through different strength lenses while reading from a chart.
Pachymetry is the measurement of the thickness of the thinnest part of your cornea. It is used to check that your corneal thickness is sufficient for LASIK eye surgery. The test is carried out using an optical coherence tomography (OCT) scanner or high-frequency digital ultrasound.
This test uses a beam of light and a microscope to examine the front of the eye including the eyelids, iris, lens, and conjunctiva for abnormalities.
During this test, eye drops are used to dilate your pupil so that your consultant can examine the back of the eye including the retina and optic nerve in more detail.
Pupillometry uses an infrared camera to measure your average pupil size, how much your pupils dilate and contract and the difference between the two.
In this test, an instrument called a tonometer is used to blow a small puff of air onto the eye to measure the pressure inside your eye.
This test measures your tear film (a thin film of tears that lubricates your eyes). The test involves placing a small piece of paper in your lower eyelid and measuring the amount of moisture it gathers over a few minutes.
This test measures your ability to differentiate between shades of grey stripes, letters, or shapes against a background. It is used to assess how well your eyes work when the contrast between objects and their background is reduced such as in low light, glare, or fog.
In this test, you are shown a computer simulation of night-time images to assess your night vision.
Light enters the eye as a travelling wave and the shape of the wave reflects the movement of light photons. Irregularities in the front of the wave (wavefront) can indicate defects in your vision. During wavefront analysis, a device called a wavefront aberrometer is used to create a 3D map of the wavefront of your eye. Your consultant can then check for normally undetectable irregularities in your vision.
At Circle Health Group, your first appointment is very important as it's where we get to know you, discuss your expectations for treatment and encourage you to ask any questions you may have. It is important to us that you are as well-informed and comfortable as possible during your LASIK eye surgery, so please ask your consultant any questions you may have.
At the end of your appointment, your consultant will decide if LASIK eye surgery is a good option for you based on your symptoms, diagnosis, and general health. If LASIK is not a suitable procedure for you, your consultant will discuss possible alternative treatments.
Before your surgery, tell your consultant about any medical conditions or allergies you have and any medication, including over-the-counter medicines you are taking.
You may eat a light meal and take your regular medications before your LASIK eye surgery.
Wear loose, comfortable clothing to your appointment and avoid wearing eye make-up, or bulky hair accessories that may make lying on the operating table uncomfortable.
You will be asked to lie on the operating table and your consultant will administer local anaesthetic eye drops to numb your eyes before the procedure. You will have a device placed around your eye to hold your eyelids open and prevent you from blinking during your surgery.
Once the anaesthetic has taken effect, your consultant will make a thin flap in your cornea using either a handheld blade called a microkeratome, or a blade-free technique using a Femtosecond laser.
The flap is peeled back, and another laser is used to remove tiny precalculated amounts of tissue from the deep layers of your cornea. This reshapes your cornea and corrects your refractive error.
Once the cornea has been reshaped, the flap is put back into position. It is left to heal naturally and doesn't require any stitches.
LASIK eye surgery normally takes less than half an hour for both eyes.
Your consultant will be able to give you an estimated recovery timeline based on your individual circumstances.
After your LASIK eye surgery, you'll need to stay in the department for a couple of hours. After that you can go home, and you should relax at home for the rest of the day.
Your eyes may feel uncomfortable and scratchy for a few hours after LASIK surgery. Your consultant will give you artificial tears to lubricate your eyes and eye drops to prevent infection and help them heal.
You may be given an eye shield to wear at night to protect your eyes for a few days after your surgery. Don't swim or use a hot tub for two weeks after your surgery.
LASIK eye surgery is performed as a day case procedure, meaning you'll go home the same day.
You will not be able to drive yourself home from hospital after your LASIK eye surgery. Please make arrangements for someone to collect you, or we can organise a taxi if you prefer.
When you can go back to work after your surgery depends on how you feel after your surgery, and the type of job you do. Recovery from LASIK eye surgery is usually quick, and most people can return to work the next day.
You should not drive yourself home from hospital or for at least twenty-four hours after your surgery. The day after your surgery, you will have your first post-operative appointment, where your consultant will check your vision.
Many people experience improved vision very quickly after LASIK eye surgery, and your consultant may give you the all-clear to drive after this appointment. In some cases, you may need to wait a little longer before driving after your surgery. Speak to your insurance company, too, in case they have specific rules about when you're OK to drive.
Recovery from LASIK eye surgery is normally quick, and you can usually return to most activities within a day or two. Your eyes will continue to heal over the next three to six months during which time your vision will continue to improve.
LASIK eye surgery is a generally safe procedure, but as with all types of surgery, there is a small risk of complications. Your consultant will explain all the possible risks and complications before your surgery and answer any questions you have about your procedure. Being as well-informed as possible about what to expect from your surgery will help put your mind at rest and allow you to make an informed decision so please ask any questions you may have.
Possible complications of LASIK eye surgery may include:
Like LASIK eye surgery, SMILE uses a laser to reshape your cornea. It is used to correct short-sightedness. One advantage of SMILE is that it requires a much smaller incision meaning less damage to the cornea. There may also be less risk of developing dry eyes than with LASIK surgery.
These treatments are carried out on the surface of the eye. Unlike LASIK and SMILE where the clear skin layer on the surface of the eye is left intact, during surface laser treatment, your consultant removes this layer from the front of your eye before reshaping the corneal tissue directly underneath. The skin layer grows back after about a week. Your eye is normally very sore for around a week as it heals. Laser Epithelial Keratomileusis (LASEK) can treat mild to moderate short and long-sightedness and astigmatism and may be an option for people who can't have LASIK eye surgery.
LASIK eye surgery corrects refractory errors like short-sightedness, long-sightedness, and astigmatism by changing the shape of your corneas using lasers.
You must be at least eighteen years of age to have LASIK eye surgery. The best age is normally between twenty-five and forty, as your refractory error has probably stabilised by the age of twenty-five and you are less likely to have developed age-related eye problems.
LASIK eye surgery is performed under local anaesthetic which means you'll be awake during the procedure but won't feel any pain. You may also be given medication to relax you before your surgery.
LASIK eye surgery is not suitable for everyone. Talk to your consultant about whether you may be a good candidate for LASIK eye surgery.
We recommend that you avoid alcohol for at least a week after your LASIK eye surgery. This is to prevent dehydration and allow your eyes to heal. Alcohol may also interact with some eye drops and medications you are taking after your surgery.
As with all surgical procedures, there is a small risk of complications when having LASIK eye surgery. Your consultant will discuss all the possible risks and complications with you before your procedure so that you can make an informed decision.
If you would like to see a consultant or learn more about LASIK eye surgery, book your appointment online today or call a member of our team directly.