What is the difference between LASIK and PRK?

LASIK eye surgery involves raising a thin protective flap of epithelium and stroma from the cornea and applying the laser treatment beneath this. The flap is then re-positioned. PRK is a form of surface laser (as is LASEK or epi-LASIK). In surface laser the epithelium only is removed and this has to grow back after the laser has been applied. LASIK and surface laser are equally effective, but surface laser takes longer to settle down.

Is laser eye surgery safe?

Laser eye surgery is one of the safest surgical treatments around. There are possible risks with any technique and we encourage you to discuss these with us. The risk of complications is less than one percent. In the rare circumstance that a complication occurs there will be a treatment to correct that complication. It is worth knowing that patients who have a complication at other laser clinics are referred to Mr Ball to have the complication treated. It is also worth knowing that there is a higher risk of infection from contact lens wear than there is from laser eye surgery.

Does laser eye surgery hurt?

There is no pain during laser eye surgery, although some patients may experience mild discomfort or a pressure sensation during their procedure. After LASIK you might experience mild grittiness and watering for the first 12 hours or so after your procedure. Surface laser patients experience more post-operative discomfort for three to five days while the epithelium heals.

What is wavefront?

Wavefront measures the unique imperfections of the optics of your eye - the higher order aberrations. These irregularities affect the quality of your vision, beyond the normal refractive errors of shortsightedness, longsightedness, and astigmatism. A wavefront aberrometer measures the higher order aberrations and feeds the information to the laser to improve the treatment which it provides. Different analysers measure different numbers of spots, ranging from as low as 60 to as high as 650. The Zeiss WASCA aberrometer used by Custom Vision Clinics has a resolution of 650. The laser used is able to use that information to refine the treatment if necessary.

What size prescription can be treated?

There are limits to the size of prescription which can be treated with laser eye surgery. However, depending on the age of the patient and other factors in their eyes, phakic IOL's, PRELEX, or combination surgery can be used to treat almost any prescription.

Are the effects of treatment permanent?

The reshaping of the cornea which takes place during laser eye surgery is permanent. Over time, the prescription may change due to ageing of the lens inside the eye. This may be treated with further laser eye surgery or lens surgery. The results of PRELEX surgery and cataract surgery should be permanent since there is no longer a natural lens in the eye. After PRELEX or cataract surgery the capsule behind the lens implant can thicken. This is very easily removed with a YAG laser in the clinic.

Are there any after-effects?

It is quite common for patients to experience mild dry eye after laser eye surgery. This settles within a few months of treatment. Very occasional laser patients notice slight halos around lights at night. With modern lasers this is rare, and again it settles after a few months.

How old and how young do you have to be for treatment?

The lower age limit for laser eye surgery at Custom Vision Clinics is 21. There is no upper limit for treatment, but lens surgery may be a better option for some people after the age of 45.

Do you treat both eyes at the same time?

We never perform intra-ocular surgery at the same time (PRELEX, phakic IOL, or cataract surgery). Patients for laser eye surgery are given the choice. Most patients opt for treatment in one sitting to avoid the inconvenience of walking around for a week with one eye treated and the other eye still needing glasses.

Has James Ball had laser eye surgery?

No, I'm lucky enough to have perfect vision for both distance and near. I would have it though!

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