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Thinking of having laser eye surgery – Your questions answered

Written in association with Daniel Gore, Director of Refractive Surgery

19 April 2021

Whether you’re considering laser eye surgery or already have an appointment date booked, understanding as much as you can about the process will help to put your mind at ease. This helpful blog will answer some of the most common questions about laser eye treatment, aftercare and recovery. However, it is important to note that this information does not replace the individualised information that would be provided by a specialist Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon.

Can I have both eyes treated on the same day?

Yes, you can have both eyes treated at the same time.

What does laser eye surgery involve?

Laser eye surgery involves precise reshaping of the cornea to correct focus. This is done with an excimer laser which is guided by information from pre-operative tests.

What are the different types of surgery?

LASEK - Laser Assisted Epithelial Keratomileusis – treats long and short-sightedness as well as astigmatism and is recommended for patients who like extreme and contact sports or for military personnel. This procedure creates a very thin flap in the front part of the cornea using an IntraLase femtosecond laser. This is followed by excimer laser treatment under the protective flap.

LASIK - Laser Assisted In-Situ Keratomileusis – the most common procedure in the UK, treats long and short-sightedness as well as astigmatism. This procedure uses an excimer laser to reshape the surface stromal layer of the cornea. It involves moving aside the corneal epithelium and then replacing it.

PRK – Photorefractive Keratoctomy – this procedure is similar to LASEK, but removes the corneal epithelium (the most outer layer of the cornea).

How long will I take to recover?

This will depend on the individual and type of procedure carried out, but generally

  • With LASIK vision can start to recover within a few hours or days
  • With LASEK and PRK vision improves over a week or so and takes 4-6 weeks to settle in some higher corrections. Patients have good functional vision during this time.

When can I start playing sports and other activities?

Playing sports (apart from contact sports) is safe after one week, and patients can fly within a few days. Most contact sports are safe after 1 month.

What are the side effects?

Common temporary side effects include dry eyes, sensitivity to light, variable vision and glare/light scatter when driving in the dark.

  • Artificial tears can help with dry eyes
  • Most minor side effects settle within a few days to a few weeks
  • Serious complications such as infection are rare

Can I drive home after the surgery?

Vision is typically at driving standard a day after LASIK and a week after other types of laser vision correction surgery. Driving home on the day of surgery is not recommended.

How quickly can I go back to work?

This depends on your job and the environment you work in. Office work is usually possible a day or 2 after your surgery with LASIK and a week after LASEK or PRK

The benefits of choosing Moorfields Private Eye Hospital

You can trust in Moorfields Private for laser eye surgery excellence. We deliver the best quality of care, with the most experienced surgeons and state-of the art equipment that is frequently upgraded to deliver the best results. All our consultants hold accredited consultant positions at Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. You can choose your preferred consultant surgeon for your laser eye surgery, who will oversee every step of your treatment plan, from you initial consultation to your follow-appointments, for complete continuity.

Moorfields Private Eye Hospital and Covid-19: Keeping our patients and staff safe

We know some patients are feeling anxious about coming in for their appointments at the moment, but we want to reassure you with the measures we have put in place to help protect you. Moorfields Private is in a unique position as Moorfields Eye Hospital has been open for emergencies and sight saving eye care throughout the entire covid-19 pandemic. This experience has given Moorfields Private a wealth of knowledge around how best to protect patients and staff in these challenging times, while continuing to deliver world-leading eye care.

Further information about our safety measures can be found here.

If you are considering having laser eye surgery but have some questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Our enquiry team will be happy to help with any concerns and your consultant will advise on the right procedure based on your needs.

To find out more visit our laser treatment & vision correction page or contact Moorfields Private’s New Patient Enquiry Line Freephone: 0800 328 3421 Email: moorfieldsprivate.enquiries@nhs.net

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