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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

We're sure you will have many questions regarding laser eye surgery which you would like answers to prior to visiting our clinic for your consultation. We have put together a list of those questions that we are asked most frequently.

Hopefully you will find the answers to some of your questions here, however if not please call us on 01204 387467 during normal clinic hours and we will do our best to help.

You can either scroll through the questions below or use the search bar opposite.

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Eligibility for laser eye surgery

What conditions could prevent me from having laser eye surgery?

Our optometrist Angela Critchley explains what conditions could prevent you from having laser eye surgery.

I have thin corneas and won't qualify for LASIK - could I still get LASEK laser eye surgery?

Some candidates for laser eye surgery do have thin corneas which makes them unsuitable for LASIK. However, LASEK may be an alternative procedure. To know for certain, you will need to come along for a free assessment & consultation.

I have large pupils - will this effect whether I can have laser eye surgery?

Just because you have been diagnosed with large pupils doesn't necessarily mean you will not be suitable for laser eye correction.

 

I'm 61 years old - am I too old for laser eye surgery?

You're certainly not too old for laser eye surgery at 61, but we might have to reconsider if you have cataract. An assessment and consultation will determine your suitability.

Can I have laser eye surgery if I'm pregnant?

It is recommended that you do not have laser eye surgery whilst you are pregnant, or in the first few months post natal.

How old do I have to be to have laser eye surgery?

You must be over 18 and have a stable prescription to be considered for laser eye suregery. However, 21 may be more a realistic age.

Does it matter if I'm long or short sighted when it comes to laser eye surgery?

Laser eye treatment can correct both short sight (myopia), long sight (hyperopia) and astigmatism too. For short-sightedness we can treat up to -10.00D and for long-sightedness we can treat up to +6.00D.

How do I know if my prescription is within the treatable range?

We can treat up to -10.00D for short-sightedness and up to +6.00D for long-sightedness. It is always worth ringing the clinic with the details from your last eye test as one of our advisors will be able to confirm this for you.

Alternatively you can take our quick survey to find out if you could be suitable for laser eye surgery here.

I’ve been told my prescription is too high for laser. Is there any other treatment available?

Laser eye correction cannot treat every prescription as it does have limits to the amount of tissue than can be removed from the cornea. If you ring the clinic with the details from your last eye test as one of our advisors will be able to confirm if your prescription is outside the treatable range then there may be an alternative.

Can I have laser eye surgery even though I'm colour blind?

There is no problem in having eye laser surgery if you are colour blind as it does not affect the condition.

Can I have Eye Laser Surgery even though I've got nystagmus?

Technically it is possible to treat a patient who has nystagmus as modern laser have very fast tracker systems that can keep up with the movement of the eye.

However, patients with this condition generally have poor best corrected vision and as laser eye treatment can only get their vision as good as can be achieved with glasses, then treatment is generally not recommended.

Can I get laser eye surgery even though I have an astigmatism?

Yes you can have laser eye surgery if you have astigmatism, but it is all dependent upon the degree of the astigmatism. If you have a copy of your most recent eye test, call one of our patient advisors and they will be able to tell you if you are within the treatable range.

I am a sport enthusiast, should I consider laser eye surgery?

More and more sports enthusiasts are having laser eye surgery as a means of improving or helping them in their chosen sport. Most sports require a varying degree of hand to eye co-ordination and being free from the hassle of glasses and contact lenses can be very advantageous.

Dry eyes after LASIK Laser Eye Surgery - How long does it last and is there anything to take to ease this?

It is normal and expected that during the creation of the LASIK flap a certain number of the corneal nerves will be temporarily damaged. This means that for some period of time after your eye surgery, the regular nerve impulses that control the production of tears will be interrupted. This is a normal and an expected part of the healing process and your eyes in some cases can feel a bit dry, gritty and uncomfortable.

In order to avoid this, your surgeon will have carefully examined your tear film beforehand. But, more importantly, every patient will need to use lubricating and moisturizing drops after their procedure.

Can I have laser treatment if I have cataracts?

The simple answer is no. The eye is rather like a camera and like a camera there is a lens inside the eye. This lens sits just behind the pupil and should be transparent. As we get older, this natural lens inside the eye can become less transparent and ultimately can develop a cataract. If this is the case then there is no point in having laser eye surgery and the problem with your natural lens remains. Read more on our laser eye surgery & cataracts article.

In the video below Dr Stephen Doyle, Ophthalmologist, MBBS, BSc (Hons), MRCOphth explains what a cataract is in more detail.

Does glaucoma affect my chances of having laser eye surgery?

Having glaucoma is not an absolute contraindication against suitability for laser eye surgery but it must be carefully and thoroughly discussed with your treating ophthalmologist. Read more on Glaucoma & Laser eye surgery.

I suffer from dry eye syndrome. Will it stop me having laser eye treatment?

We always ask questions in relation to dry eyes / dry eye symptoms if you are considering laser eye correction. If you do and this is of concern to you, ensure that you raise this issue with your ophthalmologist at your consultation so he can perform the necessary test and advise you accordingly. Read more about Dry Eye Syndrome.

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Prior to having laser eye surgery

How should I prepare for my laser eye surgery assessment?

Our optometrist Angela Critchley explains in this video what you need to do to prepare for your laser eye surgery assessment.

What happens during the laser eye surgery assessment?

To find out what happens during your laser eye surgery assessment watch the following video by our optometrist Angela Critchley:

How long before laser eye surgery do I have to stop wearing contact lenses?

If you wear soft lenses, then you must not wear them for three full days prior to your treatment. If you wear hard, gas permeable lenses, then you must not wear them for at least four weeks prior to your treatment. In fact, you also need to refrain from wearing lenses to have your suitability determined at your consultation. The length of time you must not wear your contact lenses can vary based on the type of lenses that you use. If you are unsure then please ring the clinic for advice. Read more about contact lens & laser eye surgery

Our optometrist Angela Critchley explains here:

What happens following the laser eye surgery assessment?

Our optometrist Angela Critchley explains in our video what happens once you have had your laser eye surgery assessment:

Laser eye surgery Intralase versus Microkeratome - which is best?

There is much debate amongst eye surgeons about whether Intralase or Microkeratome is best for creating the corneal flap required in the LASIK procedure. In traditional LASIK, a Microkeratome is used to cut a thin hinged flap and in Intralase a femtosecond laser is used instead. Many times a surgeon simply prefers one method of surgery over the other. Read more about Laser eye surgery Intralase versus Microkeratome.

Is it worth travelling outside a main city to get laser eye surgery?

There are many factors to consider when thinking about having laser eye surgery. Everything from which clinic to how you are going to get there and how you are going to fund it.

One factor worth considering is that travelling outside a major city such as Manchester for laser eye surgery has numerous benefits, including access, parking, and generally a lower cost of treatment.

Can I have laser eye surgery abroad?

Some people consider having their laser eye surgery away from the UK. At Visualase we would always recommend looking for a clinic within the UK. There are excellent surgeons and technology available in the UK and it is always possible to find a clinic/surgeon you are happy with. You will also have to reassurance of being able to return to the clinic easily for your aftercare.

I'm thinking of going on holiday, how long before-hand do I need to have treatment?

We would recommend that you allow at least two weeks from having your treatment to go on holiday. You need to come back to the clinic the day after your treatment and then again within the next 10-14 days. After, that we don’t been to see you for a further four weeks, and by then, you should be able to do all the activities you may wish to do on holiday. Feel free to discuss any upcoming travel plans with your doctor and ask his advice at your consultation.

How far should the clinic be from where I live?

Our feedback shows that 80% of laser eye surgery patients come from within a 30 mile radius of our clinic. Choosing a clinic that is close to where you live is important as it means that you always have quick access to your surgeon and professional advice.

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During laser eye surgery

Can both eyes be done at once?

Yes, it is possible to have both eyes treated at the same time. This will be confirmed at your consultation by your doctor once a particular treatment method has been confirmed, as outlined in our video from Dr Stephen Doyle, Ophthalmologist, MBBS, BSc (Hons), MRCOphth below.

 

What if there is a power failure?

The clinic is equipped with an uninterrupted power supply as a safety feature. Watch video from clinic manager Hilary Smith for more information.

Will the treatment hurt?

No. We use anaesthetic eye drops to numb your eye and you will feel no pain. The procedure can be ever so slightly uncomfortable but most patients say it’s better than a visit to the dentist! Our ophthalmologist Mr Manoj Mathai, Ophthalmologist, CertLRS, MBBS, DO, MS, FRCS (Edinburgh) confirms this here:

What if I move my eye?

Our laser is fitted with an eye tracker to compensate for any movement your eye may make. For more information watch the video below from our opthalmologist Mr Manoj Mathai, Ophthalmologist, CertLRS, MBBS, DO, MS, FRCS (Edinburgh):

How long does the treatment take?

If you are having both eyes treated, you will be in the treatment room between 20 - 30 minutes. The actual ‘lasering’ part of the treatment only lasts a matter of seconds, as explained by our surgeon Dr Stephen Doyle, Ophthalmologist, MBBS, BSc (Hons), MRCOphth in the video below:

Can I wear make-up?

Make up cannot be worn on the day of your treatment and must not be worn on or around the eyes for at least one week thereafter.

What laser do you use for laser eye surgery?

Our laser is a state of the art Wavelight Allegretto Eye Q which is recognised as one of the most advanced laser systems for refractive surgery. 

Is laser eye surgery painful?

The actual procedure itself is painless and only takes between 20-30 minutes to treat both eyes and anaesthetic eye drops are used to numb your eyes. The procedure can feel a little odd and a bit uncomfortable, but there is definitely no pain. Read more on why this is on our article on laser eye surgery & why it's not painful.

Do I need someone to accompany me to my laser eye surgery?

On the day of your laser eye correction, we recommend that you have someone with you. You obviously won’t be able to drive yourself home afterwards and as your eyes can be sensitive to the light and can sometimes be a bit watery, it’s reassuring to have someone with you to help you get home. If however, you can’t have someone to accompany you then we can arrange a taxi for you. Please let us know in advance if this is the case and we can let you know what to expect post-operatively so you will be prepared.

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After laser eye surgery

Will I need glasses after having laser eye surgery?

Laser eye correction is very stable post operatively with very few patients requiring an enhancement years later. However, we (or any other clinic) can never give a guarantee that your prescription will not change over time, although this is highly unlikely. It is worth stating that everybody, from the approximate age of 45 and onwards will develop the need for wearing reading glasses and this is due to the natural aging of your eyes and will happen regardless of whether you have undergone laser eye surgery or not.

When can I drive after laser eye surgery?

The vast majority of patients are at driving standard or better when we examine them at their day one post op appointment following LASIK laser eye surgery, but it might be up to a week for patients who have undergone LASEK surgery.

If I have any worries after surgery, who do I need to contact?

You will have a very thorough aftercare regime following your treatment. We routinely see all our patients at day one, two week, six weeks, three months, six months and 12 months post operatively. However, we have an open door policy were you are free to arrange additional appointments if necessary. The clinic is open six days a week (Monday – Saturday) and we can be contacted directly during that time. Outside of normal clinic opening hours, we have an emergency contact phone number which is manned by one of our optometrists. In addition to that, each patient will also have the contact details for their own surgeon – though this is very, very rarely called upon, it is tremendously reassuring for the patient.

How soon after laser eye surgery can I return to work?

This is a question we get asked a lot. The most popular treatment is LASIK as it affords the patient the quickest visual recovery and the least amount of “down time”. We always recommend that you take the first 24 hours off your normal routine after your treatment as you need to rest your eyes for the first few hours immediately after your procedure and come back to see us the next day.

It is very reasonable to assume that normal activities or resuming work thereafter will be very probable. If you are having LASEK (which is a surface treatment) then your visual recovery will be longer. As your consultation here at Visualase is performed by your treating doctor, you will have the opportunity to discuss your treatment and recovery rate with him directly.

Is it ok to wear make up after laser eye surgery?

You can wear make-up following your treatment, but you must not wear any make-up on or around your eye area including mascara, eye liner & eye shadow, for one week.

Why do you advise to wear sunglasses after laser eye surgery?

Your eyes will certainly feel very sensitive to the light in the hours immediately after your laser eye treatment, though a lot of patients say they feel better for wearing sunglasses for the first few days.

Can I wear coloured contacts after laser eye surgery?

You would probably want to refrain from wearing them for two to three months after undergoing LASIK (sooner after LASEK) just to make sure that your eyes have healed and have settled. Read more about colour contact lens & laser eye surgery.

I’m over 45 years old, will I still need reading glasses?

Although laser treatment cannot correct the need for reading glasses, it is possible to compensate for it by focusing one eye for distance vision and your other eye for near vision, known as monovision or blended vision. Please discuss this with your doctor in your consultation.

Will I be completely free from glasses?

Laser eye correction is very stable post operatively. However, we (or any other clinic) can never give a guarantee that your prescription will not change over time, although this is highly unlikely. It is worth stating that everybody, from the approximate age of 45 and onwards will develop the need for wearing reading glasses and this is due to the natural aging of your eyes and will happen regardless of whether you have undergone laser eye surgery or not.

Could my eyes go worse again?

During the initial healing following your treatment there can often be slight fluctuations in your vision. A very small percentage of patients do require an enhancement which normally presents itself within the first couple of months. If this happens to you, an enhancement is free of charge. It is highly unlikely that your eyesight will deteriorate years down the line however, we (or any other clinic) can never give a guarantee that your prescription will not change over time. It is worth stating that everybody, from the approximate age of 45 and onwards will develop the need for wearing reading glasses and this is due to the natural aging of your eyes and will happen regardless of whether you have undergone laser eye surgery or not.

Will I need to leave my contact lenses out?

Yes. You will need to refrain from wearing soft lenses for three full days and gas permeable lenses for four weeks. This is the same for both your suitability assessment & consultation and also for treatment.

Will I be able to drive myself home after treatment?

No, you cannot drive immediately after your laser eye correction procedure. We advise that you arrange for someone to accompany you and drive you home. If however, you can’t have someone to accompany you then we can arrange a taxi for you. Please let us know in advance if this is the case and we can let you know what to expect post-operatively so you will be prepared.

When can I start playing sport again?

The video below from our opthalmologist Dr Stephen Doyle, Ophthalmologist, MBBS, BSc (Hons), MRCOphth explains:

Usually after a week. However, swimming and contact sports should be avoided for two to four weeks. Please check with your doctor.

Does Laser Eye Surgery affect your Night Vision?

Night vision problems that may be encountered include reduced contrast vision, glare and halos. However, these symptoms tend to reduce as the cornea heals and improvements in surgical technique and technology over recent years mean that night vision problems are less prevalent.

How long before I can go swimming after laser eye surgery?

A lot of patients do ask us how long they do they have to wait following laser eye surgery before they can start swimming again. It does depend to some degree on the type of procedure the patient has, whether it is LASIK or LASEK. In LASIK where a corneal flap is created, swimming is best avoided for the first two weeks post treatment and thereafter you ought to wear goggles for at least another six weeks thereafter. You may be able to resume swimming a little sooner if you have had LASEK as there is no corneal flap created, but it is always best to discuss this with your treating surgeon as he can offer you the best advice and recommendation.

It is the chlorine in the water that can irritate your eyes and make them itchy and that in turn can make you more inclined to want to rub them and it is really important, whether you have had LASIK or LASEK, that you do not rub your eyes following your treatment.

If you are unsure, speak to either your treating doctor or seek advice from the clinic.

Will I have 20/20 vision straight after the procedure?

It does take a little while for your eyes to settle down after your laser eye surgery and achieve 20/20 vision. Most patients notice an overwhelming, immediate improvement whilst still in the treatment room itself. The vast majority of LASIK patients are at least driving standard or better at the day one post-op check up appointment. Read more on 20/20 vision & laser eye surgery.

I am planning a holiday shortly after my surgery - is that ok?

Once you've had your treatment, you do need to avoid chlorinated water (and the sea) for a good couple of weeks, though you should always check the specifics with your treating doctor. Ensure you inform your consultant at your free consultation of your holiday plans. Read further about holiday plans and flying.

Boxing & Laser eye surgery - how soon after surgery can I got back to the sport?

Boxing is obviously a physical contact sport and serious discussion needs to take place between the patient and their doctor about the length of time required post laser eye correction before returning to this sport. Read further about boxing & surgery.

Will I still need regular eye tests following laser eye surgery?

Yes, we highly recommend that you continue to have eye tests at regular intervals (usually every two years) as you did prior to having laser eye surgery. If you have your laser eye surgery with us, you will receive 25% off the price of eye tests for life.

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Laser eye surgery costs

Are there any extra costs involved?

No. All costs are accounted for in one fee, even enhancements and medications until you are discharged.

 

Can I pay in instalments?

At Visualase we try to make Laser Eye Treatment affordable to every patient. We offer a wide range of payment plans including 12 months 0% interest free credit. See the Payment Options page for more information.

 

If the VAT rate changes, does this effect the cost of laser eye surgery?

Don't worry, laser eye surgery is VAT exempt so any changes in the VAT rate will not effect the cost of laser eye surgery.

How much does laser eye surgery cost?

For LASIK laser eye treatment the cost is £1195 per eye.

For LASEK laser eye treatment the cost is £995 per eye.

To find out more about the costs of laser eye surgery and our payment plans click here.

To find out the difference between LASIK and LASEK laser eye surgery click here.