Laser Eye Surgery- What you need to know

Posted by admin on Mar 29, 2012 in beauty, opinion, technology

I have wanted to have laser eye surgery for the last 20 years. I first started wearing glasses when I was 8 years old, and have hated them ever since. I progressed onto contact lenses as soon as my Mum gave me permission, but though they’re great I do have some issues. They’re costly, my eyes get dry and I can’t wear them 24/7 or swim with them. I dabbled with day/night lenses (you take them out once a month) but didn’t agree with them, and thought longingly about laser eye surgery.

I had my first consultation four years ago (you should wait till you are in your twenties and your eyes have stabilized) and was told that I wasn’t suitable.  I have a high prescription (-7.5 Dioptres) but this alone wasn’t the main factor, as I also have thin corneas, and combined this simply wasn’t a safe option. I sadly gave up on my dream, but recently I decided to go for a new opinion- techniques have progressed and I might be candidate now. I wanted to be prepared so I researched all the types of laser eye surgery that are now on offer, and though I would share this with you. There’s a lot of information out there and some of it can be quite confusing, so I’ll try and decode the laser eye surgery process in this piece.

There are currently THREE types of laser eye surgery performed in the UK, as well as contact less implantation (called ICL)  for those who aren’t suitable for any of these options.


PRK stands for photorefractive keratectomy. This used to be the most common laser technique till newer ones were introduced, and this generally is the one offered by those clinics when you see those ‘£200 per eye’ deals. It involves the DR removing some of the cells on the epithelium (this covers the surface of the cornea. It’s very thin and is quick to heal when the cornea is injured).  It involves no cutting of the cornea, but creating a ‘scratch’ along the surface, which is then treated with the excimer laser to help reshape the eye. The fact that you don’t need to create a flap means the eye will heal more cleanly, but the recovery time will be around a week, so you should prepare for a week off normal activities. Complications include infection, scarring, over correction and devloping astigmatism. Issues with light such as sensitivity and halos can be a concern. Corneal haze is the most common, where you’d experience some objects with a light haze around them. Post surgery bandage contact lenses are placed in the eye, which are taken out around 4 days later. Vision is blurry while they are in but tends to improve quickly when they are out. PRK is not performed at many places nowadays as most clinics offer LASIK and LASEK instead. Read more…

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