Do you need to join a waiting list for laser eye and cataract surgery?

16 November 2021

Author: Kate Green

when can i have treatment

What’s the gap between first consultation and laser eye surgery?


For patients who have been considering vision correction treatment for months or years, one of their first questions is usually “how quickly can you fit me in?!” Often, they’re looking forward to new 20/20 vision so much that they come in practically ready to have treatment at their first consultation! Unfortunately, for a number of reasons, this isn’t how it works as we wouldn’t want anyone to rush into a decision as big and life-changing as vision correction treatment. It is a surgery and, like with all elective surgeries, you need to have time to process information about the treatment.


The General Medical Council (GMC) advises that patients are given sufficient time following their consultation to truly consider what the surgery would mean for them. We impose a minimum time limit of a week in between your surgeon assessment appointment and the day of your surgery. At your surgeon assessment, you will meet your surgeon (either in person or via video call, which is becoming more common in the age of COVID-19). This gives you the opportunity to ask them any questions you may have. Your surgeon will also review your scans and medical notes to ensure they believe vision correction surgery is the right choice for you. If you would like to take longer than the standard week-long ‘cooling-off period’ before you opt for surgery after meeting your surgeon, we are more than happy to accommodate it.


How soon can I have laser eye surgery?


At your first consultation for laser eye surgery, we will perform scans on your eyes to check your prescription and eye health, and these will ultimately tell us whether you are suitable for laser eye surgery or not. If you’re suitable and eager to proceed, the good news is there’s no waiting list as such. The Optimax clinic in which you’re treated will depend on where you live as most patients, for obvious reasons, prefer to be treated as close to home as possible. We have specific treatment days for each clinic, and how soon you can be booked in for treatment depends on the availability of surgery slots in your chosen clinic.


You will also need to attend a surgeon assessment appointment, as discussed above, at least a week before your treatment day. For most patients, from first appointment until the day of their surgery, the process takes around a month. However, depending on the availability of treatment slots, it can be as soon as 2-3 weeks after the first consultation.


When can I have lens surgery?


The lens surgery journey from consultation to treatment day usually takes longer than that of laser eye surgery. This is because all we need for a laser treatment is our laser machine, while for lens surgeries we also need to order a lens to insert into your eyes. The type of lens you have fitted depends on whether you opt for a multifocal or monofocal lens. Multifocal lenses give you good vision for both near and far distances and are not available on the NHS.


We have some types of lenses in our lens bank and, if they are a suitable match for your prescription, we can have you booked in for a lens surgery date just a couple of weeks after your consultation. However, if you require a toric lens, it will need to be custom-made for your prescription. In these cases, it can take up to six weeks for the lens to be made and for it to arrive in our clinic. For context, the NHS cataract surgery waiting list is over 6 months long in some parts of the country. At Optimax, we work with a variety of lens suppliers and pride ourselves on the standard of the lenses that we provide to our patients. You can read more about the different types of lenses available here.


How can I book surgery?


First things first, you’ll need a consultation to ensure that you are suitable for treatment. This also helps us to determine the best treatment path for you. You can give us a call on 0800 093 1110, email, or book online here. Once you’ve attended a consultation and are sure you’d like to proceed to treatment, we can help you find a convenient surgery slot that suits you.


Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions about the process, or if you’d like further advice regarding treatment.

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