You are unique, and so are your eyes. Variations in genetic make-up, upbringing, nutrition, occupation, and eye prescription mean that no two people’s eyes are the same. Therefore it is critical that you make an individual choice from the full range of vision correction surgical procedures, as the ’one size fits all’ approach practised in many clinics can lead to serious problems.
Your lifestyle, your occupation, your personal need to wear glasses for distance and/or near vision, and a comprehensive assessment of your eye health by a specialist consultant eye surgeon are essential in choosing the safest and most effective option for you. It is essential that you know the answers to the following questions before you decide whether any vision correction surgery is right for you.
What is the level of vision I can realistically expect after treatment?
The minimum standard of vision required to drive a car is generally the level of vision you should expect. Most patients get better vision than that, but some don’t. This variation depends on your individual prescription, eye and health examination findings. You should know before deciding to have surgery what level of vision you can expect with a 95% probability. In other words, you should not rely on luck or the ‘best case’ scenario to estimate the level of sight after treatment.
Will the level of vision I can reasonably hope to achieve improve my quality of life to the extent I am hoping for?
You may be disappointed if you are expecting 20/20 vision but only achieve the driving standard of vision. If you feel that only 20/20 vision can give you the desired improvement in your quality of life, then you may be setting yourself up for disappointment.
Do the benefits outweigh the risks of treatment in my individual case?
All treatments come with a small risk of complications. These are very rare in experienced hands but no surgeon can guarantee a zero complication rate. You have to weigh up the small risk of complications against the benefits of being able to live your life without glasses. In the vast majority of cases this is straightforward, however the risks may vary from procedure to procedure, and it is imperative to choose the procedure with the highest chance of success and safety. Choosing an experienced surgeon with a good reputation can improve your chances of success.
What are the pros and cons of the full range of laser and non-laser treatments?
You should be aware of all the vision correction surgery procedures, not just the heavily advertised ones like laser eye surgery. For example, if you have a significant dry eye condition it might be better to have a Phakic lens procedure rather than a laser procedure. Similarly, if you need reading and distance glasses laser treatment might not be the best for you, and a lens exchange procedure might be a better choice. A reputable centre where all these treatments are expertly practised and a bespoke treatment plan is designed for the unique person you are provides your best chance of success.
Do I know enough about my surgeon?
There are surgeons, and then there are expert surgeons; professional leaders who have a high academic standing, carry out pioneering research, and are continuously improving their skills and techniques, monitoring and refining their results, as well as training other surgeons. You have to choose whether you want a surgeon or an expert surgeon to treat you.
Many clinics have travelling surgeons who see their patients only on the day of surgery, while the rest of the care is delivered by counsellors and opticians. Patients are allocated to a surgeon depending on a rota, and they are allocated very little time to talk to or ask questions of the surgeon before the surgery. Successful surgery requires absolute trust between the patient and the surgeon. Can you as a patient place your trust in a surgeon you meet for a few minutes on the day of surgery and then never see or hear from again?
What am I getting for my money, and why do prices vary so much?
You must have seen the advertisements: ‘from £395’, eBay sales, BOGOFs etc. Think you’re getting a good deal? Think again. The ‘from £395’ is for patients with the lowest prescriptions, and for the most basic procedures which are generally completely outdated. What these clinics are doing are luring in patients with this heavily advertised ‘discount pricing’ and then using sales counsellors to convince patients to have the better, higher-priced treatments.
This is a common sales technique known as ‘selling up’, and is similar to that used in selling discounted flights. Ask the counsellor who is talking to you about surgery if they get bonuses or incentives based on how many patients they sign-up to have treatment. Ask them if they are Ophthalmic trained doctors or nurses, or optometrists. You will be surprised at what you find. There have been a number of television stings that have exposed these sharp practices, and it is very clear that if you compare the prices of the equivalent procedures there is not much difference across clinics.
You have to decide whether you are happy to take on discounted surgery for your eyes. A few pounds here and there should not be the deciding factor. We offer finance packages through our private hospital partner to make our high quality services more affordable.
Nothing Dispels Fear
The key to having successful vision correction surgery is to get high quality information and make a fully informed decision.
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