There was a time when the degeneration of your vision was a permanent sentence. Glasses and contact lenses offered a reprieve in all but the worst cases, but there was no prospect of seeing unassisted.
Nowadays laser eye surgery offers a way out, and it’s no surprise that its popularity has exploded in recent years. Tens of thousands of people undergo the procedure every year in the UK, with a huge majority able to ditch their specs with no adverse effects.
It is fair to say, however, that there can be drawbacks, and that some people stand to benefit far less from the procedure. So before you make a booking, read on to see whether laser eye surgery will work for you.
What does it cost?
If you’re addressing whether eye surgery is worth is, it’s essential to look at how much money you will be shelling out.
Some eye surgery is available on the NHS, but most treatments are paid for. The good news, however, is that surgery is affordable and getting more so every year. A leading eye surgery provider like Optimax will charge £995-£1885 per eye and offer finance arrangements spread over 24 months.
How does that stack up against the opposition? Well, with contact lenses costing around 90p a day and many glasses costing hundreds of pounds even before your lenses are made, it doesn’t take long for surgery to work out as the most economical option.
What are the risks?
Eye surgery is a very common procedure. Over 350,000 people have undergone Optimax laser eye surgery alone. That means that the process and technique has been refined, with risks reducing all the time.
An estimated 99.5% of people with minor to moderate sight impairment do not need glasses or contacts following surgery, and 97% of people recover 20:20 vision. In short, if your sight loss is not significant, it is likely that you will experience a radical improvement in your vision.
The nature of the surgery means that it is unlikely you will contract any eye infections, while Lasek and Lasik procedures – the most common forms of surgery – are almost entirely pain free. The biggest discomfort comes from the anaesthetising eye drops used to numb the eyes, which may sting for 30 seconds or so.
In terms of long-term effects post-surgery, people can experience dry eyes, poor night vision and cloudiness. While these issues generally wear off in time or can be remedied by further surgery, a very small minority of people may suffer these effects permanently.
Who doesn’t it work for?
According to Optimax, 85% of people with glasses are suitable candidates for laser eye surgery. About the same number of hard lens wearers can explore surgery, and 95% of soft lens wearers.
Patients over 50 are more likely to need reading glasses, and laser surgery may cause problems. In these instances, monovision – where one eye is used for distance and one for close-up vision – is a standard solution.
The bigger issue is extreme long- or short-sightedness. If you have a high prescription, laser eye surgery may not be appropriate, but it is possible to look into permanent lens implants.
Whether or not you are concerned about your suitability, it is always essential to speak to a qualified, reputable expert about surgery before getting any procedure done.