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Laser eye surgery

How does laser eye surgery work?

Laser eye surgery (laser sight correction) involves precise reshaping of the cornea to very accurately correct short sight (myopia), long sight (hyperopia), and astigmatism. At Moorfields Private we offer LASIK and surface laser treatments (PRK, LASEK, and TransPRK).

  • All modern laser eye surgery procedures produce similar visual results. The main difference between the categories outlined below is speed of recovery and time off work.

    Your specialist consultant surgeon will discuss each of the procedures in more detail with you at your first consultation, when they will advise which will best suit your individual needs.

    LASIK

    This is the most commonly performed laser eye treatment. For LASIK, two different types of laser are used. First, a femtosecond laser creates a thin protective layer by tracing a 3D pattern of tiny gas bubbles through the corneal tissue. This hinged layer is lifted back by the surgeon before an excimer laser reshapes the cornea to correct focus. The protective flap is then replaced to complete the procedure.

    After approximately 3-6 hours, the surface cell layer heals around the edge of the flap and sight begins to improve. By the day after surgery, most people are able to see well enough to work and drive a car.

    Surface laser treatment (LASEK and TransPRK)

    Surface laser treatments are performed directly beneath the clear skin layer of the cornea (the corneal epithelium), which is removed by the laser (TransPRK) or the surgeon (LASEK) before laser reshaping to correct vision. Visual recovery is slower than for LASIK because it takes the skin layer a few days to grow back and a few weeks to smooth off optically. Surface laser treatments are often the best option for patients with thinner corneas.

    Once the surface cell layer has healed, the vision starts to improve and typically reaches the driving standard in 1-4 weeks after surgery, depending on the prescription treated. Most patients require a week off work after surgery.

  • At your first appointment, your specialist consultant surgeon will discuss the most appropriate treatment for your individual needs. However, the following is a useful guide to general suitability:

    • You should be at least 21 years old and your eyes must be healthy and your prescription stable.
    • You should not be pregnant or nursing, as these conditions might change the measured refraction of the eye. You should wait for three months after breastfeeding to come for a consultation.
    • You should not be taking certain prescription drugs, such as Accutane or oral Prednisolone.
    • You should be in good general health. Laser eye surgery may not be recommended for patients with diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, glaucoma, herpes infections of the eye, or cataracts. You should discuss this with your surgeon.
    • If you’re long-sighted (can’t see things close up), your prescription should be up to +3 to +4.
    • If you’re short-sighted (can’t see things in the distance), your prescription should be up to -10 to -11.
    • If you have astigmatism (poor near and distance vision), your prescription should be up to -6D.
  • Serious complications following laser eye surgery are rare and Moorfields Private has an excellent safety record. Less than 1 in 5000 patients require further surgery to replace damaged tissue in the cornea - the clear window at the front of the eye.

    Despite these advances, all surgery carries a small risk of complications. Most problems can be fixed and it is important to note that wearing contact lenses – the main alternative to laser vision correction for most patients – is also not free of risk, with approximately 1 in 3000 contact lens wearers developing a serious corneal infection every year.

    Your surgeon will discuss any risks with you before you decide to go ahead with the surgery.

  • Normally, laser eye surgery will leave you with life-long freedom from glasses and contact lenses. However, natural changes in your prescription can occur throughout your lifetime. There are a number of repeat treatment options for patients in any age group who experience changes in their vision following laser eye surgery. Your surgeon will discuss these with you during your consultation.

  • For all types of laser eye surgery, local anaesthetic drops are used to completely numb the patient’s eye. Patients may experience around 30-40 seconds of pressure on their eye during LASIK or SMILE surgery, when the LASIK flap or SMILE lenticule is being created. They may also experience around 4-6 hours of mild discomfort following the surgery.

    If you are nervous about the procedure, you can request to take a sedative tablet.

  • Laser eye surgery is typically a quick procedure, taking around 10-15 minutes for both eyes.

  • It takes around 3-6 hours for the surface cell layer on the eye to start healing and for sight to begin improving following LASIK eye surgery. Most people are able to drive and return to work the day after their surgery.

    LASEK and TransPRK surgeries have a longer recovery time, with patients taking around 1-4 weeks for their vision to return to driving standard after the procedure. Most people require a week to recover before returning to work from this type of surgery.

  • Laser eye surgery at Moorfields Private is more affordable than you might think. The fee for your first consultation will be from £150.

    The full cost of any onward treatment will be confirmed once you have agreed your personalised plan with your consultant. As a guide, this will be from £4,300 for both eyes, inclusive of your consultant’s professional fees.

    Find out more about laser eye surgery.

  • Moorfields Private has a worldwide reputation for providing the highest quality treatment and care for private patients seeking laser eye surgery.

    All of our surgeons hold accredited consultant positions at Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, working at the very top of their profession.

    They use the most advanced refractive laser equipment available, which is renewed every three years to provide supreme accuracy.

    Above all, we pride ourselves on offering a service with complete continuity. At each visit, you will see the surgeon of your choice who will supervise every aspect of your care from start to finish.

  • The only way to know which vision correction treatment is the right option for you is by booking an appointment with one of our specialist consultant eye surgeons. Here are the next steps to take towards better vision:

    1. Contact our new patient enquiry team on freephone: 0800 328 3421 to book an initial consultation with one of our consultants.
    2. The first appointment will take around 1-2 hours. In that time, you will have scans, an eye test and eye drops. You will then spend some time with your chosen consultant eye surgeon to discuss the results of your tests and the type of procedure that suits you best.
    3. After you’ve met with your consultant and been assessed, we will book the surgery.
    4. Surgery takes around 10-15 minutes for both eyes.
    5. One to three days later, you will have a follow-up appointment to check how your eyes are recovering.
    6. You will return three months later for a final check-up.
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Laser eye surgery consultants

A picture of Professor David Gartry

Professor David Gartry


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

A picture of Mr Daniel Gore

Mr Daniel Gore


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

A picture of Miss Linda Ficker

Miss Linda Ficker


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

A picture of Mr Bruce Allan

Mr Bruce Allan


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

A picture of Mr Martin Watson

Mr Martin Watson


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

A picture of Mr Vincenzo Maurino

Mr Vincenzo Maurino


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

A picture of Ms Laura de Benito-Llopis

Ms Laura de Benito-Llopis


Consultant Ophthalmologist

A picture of Mr Julian Stevens

Mr Julian Stevens


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

A picture of Mr Romesh Angunawela

Mr Romesh Angunawela


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

A picture of Mr Alexander Ionides

Mr Alexander Ionides


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

A picture of Mr Mark Wilkins

Mr Mark Wilkins


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

22.03.2019

Six Moorfields Private consultants make The Ophthalmologist Power List 2019
The most influential people in the world of eye care feature on the list
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12.03.2019

Moorfields Private rated outstanding for surgery services by the Care Quality Commission
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01.10.2019

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Moorfields Private is now recruiting for nursing roles in outpatient, ward & theatre
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Paying for treatment

Private Medical Insurance

If you are covered by private medical insurance, please verify the details with your insurer prior to arrival and if possible, obtain a pre-authorisation number.

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Self pay

You don’t have to be insured to come to Moorfields Private. Many of our patients pay for their own treatment.

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Third party sponsorship

​If a company, employer or other third party agrees to settle your account, they will be required to provide a letter of guarantee along with a deposit.

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