Laser Eye Surgery FAQs

Laser eye surgery is the most popular elective surgery in the UK, and over 30 million procedures have been carried out worldwide. Even though it’s one of the safest operations, with over 99% of Optimax patients achieving driving standard vision or better, it’s normal to have some questions before going into the treatment room. Here are some of the questions that people ask most often.

The surgeon administers anaesthetic eye drops prior to the procedure so you should feel no discomfort during the surgery. Some patients report feeling slight pressure during the procedure, but many people say they feel nothing at all.
You should avoid swimming for one month after undergoing laser eye surgery. This is because water carries bacteria so refraining from swimming and submerging your head in water minimises the risk of infection while the eye is still healing.
The laser will only be on each eye for a matter of seconds, but you should prepare to be in the treatment room for around 20 minutes. You are also likely to be in the clinic on treatment day for up to 4 hours, as you will speak with optometrists, patient advisors, and have post-surgery medication talks.
Laser eye surgery is one of the safest and most commonly performed surgeries in the UK. Over 99% of Optimax laser patients achieve driving standard vision or better.
Laser eye surgery is, in most cases, a permanent correction, however it will not eliminate age-related changes. Most people will need reading glasses from their early forties onwards and cataract formation in later life.
You won’t be able to blink as the surgeon places an eyelid holder on your eye for the duration of the procedure. Our laser machines only apply the laser to a still eye, so if you look away, the laser shuts off automatically. This guarantees absolute precision. Most people actually find it much easier than expected to keep their eyes still throughout the procedure.
We often treat patients with astigmatism, although it does depend on the degree of it. We only treat patients if we’re sure that the treatment will be a success and that they’ll be pleased with the long-term results. Ultimately, your suitability can only be determined upon consultation, so book yours for free to find out.
Yes, the surgeon will treat both eyes on the same day, unless there’s an important medical reason not to. We offer two types of laser eye surgery, LASIK and LASEK. For LASIK, both eyes have the corneal flap created in succession, and then the laser is applied to each eye in succession. For LASEK, the surgeon removes the epithelium, applies the laser and then repeats the process for the other eye.
You are likely to be more suitable for LASEK treatment if you play a lot of contact sports. This is because with LASIK treatment, a flap is created and lifted before the laser is applied. With LASEK, however, the cells in the eye are removed before applying the laser. This means that they grow back themselves, rather than leaving the flap to heal, therefore creating a stronger join. This is the better option for someone at risk of a blow to the eye, as the flap then cannot lift.
Wavefront guided treatment replaces the “one treatment fits all” outlook with a procedure that is tailored to the precise optics of the eye. The surface of your cornea is measured to detect tiny imperfections which result in distortions to the visual path. Glasses lenses are standard shapes and their optical performance is made to fit the average population as a whole, whilst the laser improves individual physical and optical characteristics precisely for each eye. Patients who are suitable for Wavefront treatment can achieve better results than wearing glasses or contact lenses can, as the process corrects individual aberrations.
The minimum age for treatment is 18 but, depending on your prescription and treatment, may actually be older. Our eyes change all the time as we grow and any permanent correction will only work as long as you have a stable prescription. Younger eyes carry higher risk of future prescription change, as they may still be developing.
Yes, if a patient chooses, or a surgeon recommends, only one eye can be treated.
Our Lifetime Aftercare Guarantee provides patients with one free laser retreatment for distance-only correction. However this was only introduced in 2010 and is not given retrospectively. For patients treated prior to 2010, a laser retreatment for distance-only correction is offered at a reduced price of £395 per eye.
We do not treat patients who are either breastfeeding or pregnant. This is because of fluctuating hormone levels which can affect your vision. Once you have finished breastfeeding, we recommend waiting three months before consultation to allow your hormones to settle, and then provide accurate eye scans.
Soft/daily lenses must be taken out 48 hours prior to the procedure, sleep in/toric lenses must be removed one week before, and hard/gas permeable lenses must be removed three weeks before undergoing treatment.


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