Sunday, November 13, 2011

Laser Eye Surgery – What to Expect by Kathryn Dawson

Laser eye surgery is increasingly becoming the preferred method to treat a number of vision impairments. According to the ASCRS (American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery), 93% of the people undergoing this operation are satisfied with the outcome. While 95% said their vision had improved, 85% claimed that the quality of their life had improved after the surgery. The leading causes of visual impairment in the UK are cataract and AMD, or age-related macular degeneration.

Laser Eye Surgery: Procedure

The procedure for laser eye surgery is fast and virtually painless. You can choose to have one eye operated at a time or both eyes at the same time. Before the surgery commences, you will be given three eye drops. One of these would be to anesthetise your eye, the second would be to prevent infection and there would be one to control inflammation following the surgery. The operation would be performed while you lie back comfortably in a special chair underneath the laser microscope. An eyelid speculum or eyelid clip may be used to prevent you from blinking during the surgery. Although this sounds harsh, it is not painful.

With the eye drops taking effect, you will not be able to see the surgery being performed. This prevents you from involuntarily blinking on seeing an instrument coming close to your eye. You would be looking into the laser microscope and will be able to see a red or green light. You will need to focus on this light through the surgery. While the surgeon controls the laser, the computer makes precise calculations based on the condition of your eye or type of treatment, like cataract treatment.

The surgery begins with the doctor using an eximer laser to shape your cornea. You may hear a continuous popping or clicking sound. This is from the laser and is quite normal. The actual laser eye surgery may take anywhere between 30 and 60 seconds, depending on your eye condition.

The laser used to reshape your cornea will contain two wavefront platforms: 'wavefront optimised' and 'wavefront corrected'. Your surgeon will choose the most suitable for your eyes and will adjust the laser as necessary.

There is no requirement for stitches in this procedure.

Laser Eye Surgery: What to Expect After the Procedure

Your eye may be covered with a pad for up to 24 hours. You will be in no condition to drive. So, it is advisable to make appropriate arrangements to get home. While your eye pad is on, you may feel some discomfort. If there is any pain following your laser eye surgery, you may ask your doctor to prescribe you appropriate painkillers. After the pad is removed, your vision may remain blurry for a few hours. This is normal and nothing to be concerned about. Your vision will gradually improve and in some cases your vision could continue to become clearer over a month. However, typically it takes about a week to ten days to realise the complete benefits of the laser eye surgery.

You may be given eye drops to prevent infection and aid the healing process. The eye drops should be applied diligently. It is a good idea to wear sunglasses whenever you step out, since your eyes may be very sensitive for at least a month after the surgery.

When looking for a private eye hospital in the UK, search the internet for specialist providers of ophthalmic services. Make sure that they have state-of-the-art surgical equipment (they should have this information on their website). Also, you will want to review the bios of their doctors and surgeons to make sure that they have leading ophthalmic surgeons to carry out the laser eye surgery procedures. There should be a list of the treatments available too, such as cataract treatment and guidance on the different methods of dealing with macular degeneration.