Having laser eye surgery is a big decision, so researching the procedures and providers available is extremely important. However, just as important is finding out about the experiences of other people who once were in your situation now and how they feel about their treatment and its outcome.
To help with this we have gathered together in one place many of our patient testimonials and annual patient questionnaire summaries. Also, four patients Lucy, Jane, Christine and David very kindly wrote diaries of their entire laser eye correction journey at Visualase. Please read them as they provide a great insight from their individual perspectives.
I can now read perfectly without the need for glasses and all aspects of my care have been first class.
Robert Hutchinson, Bolton
I chose Visualase as the clinic had been recommended to be by a number of people.
Francesca Simpson, Bolton
Referral and simplicity of the process made it all feel easy and comfortable.
Jon Paul Howarth, Bolton
The feedback we consistently receive from our patients is that they find it very reassuring to meet their doctor in advance and ask any questions they have directly. It also means that if you are suitable and decide to proceed, you have already met and established a relationship with your doctor, something which is praised very highly.
In our most recent annual patient survey, 100% of all our patients said that they would recommend Visualase for laser eye surgery, which is a fabulous acknowledgement for our clinic.
I’ve booked a consultation for laser eye surgery!! I’m really excited. I’ve thought about it for ages but been too worried by the risks to do anything about it. I tell a lie… I actually booked a consultation a couple of years ago at one of the clinics that advertise on TV, but was put off by the hard sell tactic, so cancelled it. Surgery is too important for it to be a BOGOF deal!
How can I possibly be nervous about going for a consultation? But I am… I’ve nearly backed out this morning but my husband Stuart encouraged me – reminding me of all the reasons I want the surgery… I HATE wearing my glasses – they’re uncomfortable, give me headaches, fall off when I’m working out, steam up in the rain… So much so that I never (ever) wear them and have ridiculously sore red eyes from my permanent contact lens wear! Attractive! Not. Having to wear glasses for the last few days in readiness for my appointment has been just awful… I’ve been in hibernation! So let’s get this consultation out of the way then I can put my lenses back in!
Ok. So… I’m booked in for laser eye surgery on 4th March!!! From the moment I walked through the door and met Elaine, I was put at ease and given the confidence I know I’m going to need come just under a month’s time to go ahead with the LASIK. The consultation was so thorough – I still can’t get over that they didn’t charge anything for it – or even ask for a deposit to secure the booking for treatment. First the lovely optician, Angela, carried out the most in-depth eye test I think I’ve ever had – and having worn glasses since I was aged 10 I’ve had a few! She checked my prescription (luckily I remembered to bring it with me) and took photos of the surface of the eye (clever!) mapping out exactly where my poor eyes have been going wrong. I then spent a good half an hour with Dr. Stephen Doyle - the consultant who will make the magic happen. He explained everything and showed me the machines in the operating theatre – which was a little bit scary! But… Dr. Doyle is clearly so enthusiastic about what he does, and so experienced – over 20,000 procedures! – that I’m absolutely certain I want to go ahead.
I seem to have developed gritty sore eyes while not wearing contact lenses and am worried I’ve got conjunctivitis and won’t be able to go ahead… But maybe it’s just my overactive imagination playing with my nerves! When I go to the chemist they say it’s simply dry eyes and to use some synthetic tears – the chemist also said she had laser eye treatment three years ago and it’s the best thing she ever did!
Stuart and I have taken the day off work and wake up to nearly 6 inches of snow! Panic!! Get the kids to school and get to Bolton with minutes to spare… Let’s do this!
Walking through the door and seeing the friendly face of Elaine settles the butterflies immediately. It’s brilliant to have such consistency throughout, and knowing that I’ve already met the surgeon who will carry out the procedure is one of the main things that has got me here this morning. If I were turning up to ‘Lasik4U’ with no idea who I would be seeing I would definitely have bottled it!
Elaine offers me a Valium (sedative) for my nerves and I’m feeling pretty confident so I politely decline – just a coffee for me please! I sign my life away with the consent forms and am soon taken through and ‘prepared for theatre’ – yes, you get to wear a sexy blue gown and overshoes! Just pretend you’re on ER with George Clooney… As I hand over my glasses to Elaine (I’ll never wear them again – weird) she tells me that if I get nervous the nurse will hold my hand – yeah right I’ll be fine!
I lay down on the bed and Dr. Doyle and his co-pilot (that’s what they call them in theatre, right?) and the nurse get everything ready. At almost minus seven in one eye, Dr. Doyle explains that I’m probably the patient with the worst sight to be treated that day – and that my surgery will take quite a long time for each eye – as long as 20 seconds!
The tape and clamp on your eye are nowhere near as uncomfortable as I was expecting; and all you have to do is lie back and focus on a green light. The machine will stop automatically if your eye moves so I’m not too worried. Anaesthetic drops are next and then the whole procedure begins. The buzzing of the machine that makes the flap made me jump (even though I had been warned!) and that’s when the anxiety kicked in… the poor nurse… I grabbed her hand so hard!! Now I have a seriously low pain threshold – honestly, it’s embarrassing – but it doesn’t hurt. At all. But… it’s not comfortable, I won’t lie to you. However, it’s over and done with so quickly that you barely have time to think about it. Clear plastic eye shields are taped on and then as you sit up, the moment of truth… There’s a clock on the wall in front of the bed – I wouldn’t have been able to see the clock previously. Now I can tell the time! It’s 11:25!!!
Two top tips at this point; (1) take the Valium – if nothing else it will help you to sleep when you get home… and (2) please try to look at the clock as you lie down for the comparison after – I wish I had done both of these!
20 minutes in the recovery room after and I actually feel quite sorry for myself… but I’m known as a bit of a drama queen and a few more anaesthetic eye drops when Dr Doyle comes to check on me have me smiling again. A quick sight test proves that I can already see to driving standard and I’m reassured that this will just get better and better over the next 24 hours! Home to bed now in my sunglasses – I feel like a right poser!
I slept for a good few hours when I got home and woke early evening with slightly dry eyes – soon sorted with the eye drops I left Visualase with – and absolutely perfect vision! I swear it’s better than even with my contact lenses before! I’m back in for a quick check this morning to make sure everything is as it should be following treatment - sure enough it is!
At night I have to wear the plastic eye shields stuck on with paper tape for a week following surgery to stop me rubbing my eyes in my sleep. My husband thinks it’s hilarious going to bed with a Bluebottle Fly every night – I have to admit it’s wearing a bit thin now! I thought there was no way I’d rub my eyes – but woke myself up in the night trying to take the shields off! Think I’ll leave them on for the rest of the week…
I’m not showing off (honestly!) but I’m writing from Lanzarote… yes it’s raining at home and a balmy 24 degrees here! But… this holiday has been a complete revelation for me. This is when the miracle of sight has really kicked in – and it’s been pretty emotional!
No contact lenses. No solutions. No cases. No glasses. No prescription sunglasses. No worrying about water splashing in my eyes when I’m swimming. I actually felt like I had forgotten something when I packed!
It hit home for me when I was snoozing on a sun lounger earlier (without worrying about falling asleep with my lenses in – I love a good nap!) and my littlest son woke me up. And I could see his beautiful face. And the palm trees. And my elder boy playing on the sand. Yep… I’ll admit it… I cried. It was brilliant, just brilliant.
I’ve asked myself a million times why I waited to so long to get the surgery done. Yes, it’s not cheap – but I would honestly say it’s the best money I have ever spent. The real reason was that I didn’t know where I could go to have it done. Where I could feel confident that the people cared and I wasn’t just another number, where I would know that the outcome would be exactly what I was promised, nothing more – nothing less. Well – you’re reading this on Visualase’ website – you’ve found that place. What are you waiting for?!
I arrived at Visualase for my consultation and was a little nervous, however Elaine, the receptionist, put me at ease immediately.
The eye test was simple and easy, then I was introduced to Dr Doyle who was lovely and very professional. He explained all the procedures that were available to me, showed me around the theatre and discussed the procedure fully.
This made me feel very comfortable, and I was encouraged to ask questions. Dr Doyle said I was suitable for the LASIK method and was offered an appointment this Friday! Cannot wait to throw away the contacts!
Well D Day is here, I can't believe how quick it's gone since my consultation. I am really excited and nervous about my laser eye surgery later today.
It's now evening and all went to plan. I cannot believe how easy and simple everything was, it's only three hours after my laser eye treatment and I can sit and type this without my glasses and contacts - AMAZING!!
I was expecting it to be painful but all it feels like is that you have got a bit of grit in your eyes, they feel a little dry but the drops soon sort that out. The nurses and Dr Doyle were fabulous, they put me at ease and supported me through the whole process. Dr Doyle discussed how things were going throughout, I even got a cup of tea after - great service! I can't wait to see what tomorrow brings.
I woke up this morning and as usual my hand started to feel on my bedside table for my glasses, then I realised my vision was a bit blurred - I'd still got the plastic shields on! I removed them and it was amazing - I could see!
I was so excited that I could read the time on the clock, it felt and still does feel amazing. I haven't required any painkillers today, the gritty feeling I had in the first couple of hours following surgery has disappeared, and I can't believe it's only 14 hours later! I'm off now for my check-up later this morning, hopefully I'll get the all clear for driving and a new start without glasses and contacts begins!
I have just been for my post op check-up, once again Elaine and Angela were there to greet me with reassuring smiles. Angela did me a full check and I was amazed at how well I could see on the chart. Until my op I could hardly see the chart itself on the wall!
I left feeling confident that all had gone well and already my eyes were beginning to heal, I was also given the ok to drive again. I can't believe how quickly you can go back to doing regular things. I have been keeping up with my drops and look forward to my further check-up to make sure things are still going well.
I just want to say a HUGE thank you to all the team at Visualase, you have all been so professional, helped to put me at ease and supported me throughout my experience. I cannot express my gratitude to you all as being without glasses and contacts is amazing!!
I went for my one month check up after my laser eye surgery, on Friday 26th August, and as always I was met by Elaine with a warm and friendly smile. I was so pleased to hear that my eyes are healing nicely and my vision is great, so I left feeling extremely happy.
The following day I went on holiday to Egypt. It felt really strange not packing the never ending list of equipment I needed to be able to see!! I no longer needed my glasses, contact lenses, solutions, pots etc.
The holiday was great but I could not believe the difference this laser treatment has made - waking up after a nod by the pool and realising my contact lenses were not stuck to my eyes or really dry in the heat or going swimming in the pool without fear of them being washed out.
I can only say thank you very much to the Visualase team for a new lease of life after my laser eye surgery.
I have been thinking about having laser eye treatment for the last five years or so and have finally plucked up the courage to go and see if I'm suitable. I'm short sighted and have worn glasses and contact lenses for 25 years. Because of my age, I know that I will also need reading glasses soon too and hate the thought of bifocal or varifocal glasses or wearing reading glasses over the top of my contact lenses so I need to find out if laser eye surgery is an option. A friend had laser surgery and said the results were instant and the discomfort afterwards didn't last for more than six hours, which is much better than I thought. I did some research and rang Visualase Laser Eye Clinic in Bolton for an appointment having read the positive testimonials from previous patients.
My consultation is soon and I can't wear my contact lenses for three days prior to my appointment so I have to wear my glasses. I usually just wear my glasses in the evenings and on a Sunday so it feels strange wearing them all day. I'm really missing the convenience of my contact lenses. I'm not comfortable wearing my glasses as they make me feel less confident.
Consultation Day!! After these last three days without my contact lenses, I'm really hoping that I'm suitable for laser eye surgery as this has made me realise that I would hate to wear glasses permanently.
When I arrived I was greeted by the receptionist Elaine who offered me a coffee and asked me to complete a questionnaire. A thorough test was then carried out by the optician and measurements taken to check that my eyes are suitable for laser eye surgery. Next I see Dr Stephen Doyle, who will be my treating surgeon if I'm suitable, and he studies the results and examines my eyes and tells me that I am suitable for laser eye surgery! He explains my options and the procedure thoroughly, even showing me the theatre so I could see where the treatment itself would take place.
Dr Doyle answers all of my questions and gives me a card with his details so that I can contact him if I have any more questions which I find very reassuring. He suggests that I have monovision, which means that one of my eyes will be treated to fully correct my distance vision and to purposely leave my other eye ever so slightly short sighted for reading vision. He explained that this won't keep me out of reading glasses forever, as the need for reading glasses is due to the ageing process of the eyes themselves, but will certainly buy me some time and I will probably always be able to see certain things close to dependent on the light etc. The optician fits me with contact lenses to simulate this so that I can make sure I will be happy with the outcome.
It's a relief to finally put contact lenses back in and feel myself again! I have booked the date for the treatment - 20th May, so plenty of time to think about whether I'm brave enough!
A month has passed since I first decided to make that initial call to Visualase and I've thought about my upcoming laser eye surgery every day. I can't imagine what it will be like not putting my contact lenses in and changing to my glasses every evening. I'm feeling a bit nervous now though. I have to wear my glasses for a week before the treatment, so I've booked a few days off work as some people have never seen me in my glasses. I'm so used to wearing contact lenses for work that the glasses are annoying me and I can see the frames all of the time and am pushing them back onto my nose all day.
This week I have told everyone I'm having laser eye surgery on Friday, it's becoming more of a reality now - I can't wait to see if it works for me! Everyone I tell knows someone who has had their eyes lasered and they all say it's the best thing they've ever done and it changed their life! I'm a bit apprehensive as I think there will be some pain after the surgery.
Surgery day has arrived! Now I feel a bit nervous. I arrive at Visualase and Hilary the clinic manager and Elaine are in the reception area and I'm offered a drink. They really make me feel at ease and check through all my details before I'm taken through to the theatre by Zoe, one of the nurses. As I lie on the bed having my first eye prepared, everything is explained to me by the nurses, Julie and Zoe, and Dr Doyle tells me how the laser will work and what I need to do. I have anaesthetic drops put into my eyes and one eye is covered. I can't feel anything at all, Dr Doyle is telling me what is happening and Zoe is next to me reassuring me. In less than 3 minutes one eye is finished and the team move onto the next eye with the same reassuring efficiency.
Clear protective covers are on my eyes as the equipment is moved away and I can't believe that I can see the ceiling - everything in the room is clear! It's so strange! I sit in the recovery room with my eyes closed for 20 minutes. Dr Doyle then takes me to the assessment room for a quick chart test. I am amazed that I can read the chart clearly. I wear my sunglasses to go through to reception, where I site with my eyes closed as the bright daylight is too much for my eyes.
As I go outside I can't believe how clear the buildings are. On the way home I keep my eyes closed as it's so bright even with my sunglasses on. When I arrive home I take an ibuprofen just in case there's any pain when the anaesthetic wears off and lie in a dark room as instructed. I sleep for an hour and as I wake up I feel a sharp pain in each eyeball and a feeling like an eyelash is in my eye. After the first sharp pain there are just a few twinges, then nothing. After a couple of hours I go downstairs and can't believe that it is all over and so simple a procedure! I wish I had been brave enough when I first thought about having this done years ago!
It's now a month since I had my laser eye surgery and the results are unbelievable. I can see everything so clearly, even better than with my contact lenses! I'd recommend Visualase to anyone who is considering laser eye surgery, the care before, during and afterwards is so professional. I decided to write up my experience as I found it really helpful reading other people's stories when I was doing my research into having it done and I hope it helps you too.
The day the clock was turned back, I regained some of my younger years and was able to see again!
It was Friday 19th August, the day I underwent Laser Eye Surgery at Bolton’s Visualase, Laser Eye Surgery Clinic on Newport Street. It’d been less than a month since I first looked in to having the treatment, but then I’ve always been one to act quickly if I thought something was worth doing.
To be honest I’d dismissed the idea of corrective surgery for my eyes after being wrongly informed that long sightedness was unable to be corrected by any form of laser surgery and although I found wearing glasses a real faff, after having near perfect eyesight for the first forty years of my life, I’d become resigned to the fact that age has a price and now at 56 years old I couldn’t expect everything to work as it used to!
But then Gaynor, my wife, read about a procedure which created ‘monovision’, which means that each eye individually has responsibility for either near vision or distance vision and that the procedure was practiced at Visualase in Bolton and they provide a consultation to assess viability and suitability for individuals to undergo the treatment. So what was there to lose, I called them up and had an appointment with a week.
The initial appointment was with the surgeon who would be carrying out the procedure, Dr Stephen Doyle, a very well qualified and experienced eye surgeon, who explained the procedure in detail and carried out a thorough examination of my eyes before giving me the great news that it would be possible to treat me and as my right eye was near perfect for distance vision, I only required surgery on my left eye, which would then become the eye responsible for near vision and reading. The obvious benefit there was that it would only cost me half the price as each eye is charged separately and at £1195 per eye, it was less than I had imagined anyway.
Apparently not everyone is able to make the adjustment necessary to cope with monovision as the brain has to adapt to switching from one eye to the other as we move from close to distant vision and some find that process uncomfortable, so I was offered a trial using a single contact lens in my left eye which would simulate the effects of the surgery and give me the opportunity to test drive what would be my new eyesight.
I was amazed and delighted that all this initial consultation and trial period was being offered without any charge or obligation to have to go through with the ultimate surgery but served to give me confidence that the final results would be the outcome I had hoped for.
The results of the trial were, honestly life changing, I reverted to my glasses only a couple of times during the two week trial period and that was late in the evening at times I wanted to read and my eyes were clearly getting tired and this is something I will still continue to do even after surgery when reading with tired eyes or in low light, as Visualase were great at managing my expectations and I was advised that while the procedure is not a perfect solution, for daily life and working I do not have to wear my glasses.
In simple terms, the benefits I’ve experienced so far are the difference it makes in shops, looking at prices or descriptions and reading menus, etc. I just don’t have to wear my glasses anymore, where previously I did!
Benefits experienced with VISUALASE, Bolton:
Immediately before the procedure I was strangely apprehensive, I’m not given to nervousness in general and take most things in my stride but I think it was the reaction of others who asked if was nervous or said they couldn’t do it themselves that made me wonder if I was missing something but the fact was there was absolutely nothing to worry about, everything went smoothly and painlessly.
Clearly, as with any medical procedure there are risks and these are all explained beforehand and you take a judgement based on personal beliefs and expectations and for me there was no question. I wanted it done!
The procedure takes just a few minutes, less than 15 minutes from entering to leaving the surgery and after a 20-30 minute rest with eyes closed Dr Doyle examined the results and at that point, I read the appointment letter I’d received previously, without glasses and without any difficulty. I was amazed how quickly things had changed and I can honestly say without any pain or discomfort.
I was advised to keep my eyes closed for the next couple of hours to aid the healing process and even after that, there was no sensation of discomfort of any kind, I had at least expected to feel some discomfort, as if there was something in my eye for instance, for a period but there was nothing and I went out later that day with total comfort and confidence.
It’s been several days since the operation now and I haven’t worn my glasses at all but I am still adjusting. Both my near and long vision are less than crystal clear, that is they’re a little blurry but not unexpectedly and not something I can’t cope with, as I know it can take several weeks for the brain to adapt fully and while I’m not expecting perfection, I know things will improve.
In conclusion and on reflection, I’m so glad Gaynor found this treatment and that I went ahead and had the procedure. Wearing glasses wasn’t something I enjoyed and if I ever found myself without them I was totally incapacitated. Not any more, I’ve been liberated and looking forward to a far greater quality of life, free from the shackles of glasses!