Despite not being available on the NHS, laser eye surgery is nevertheless enjoying a rapid growth, with more and more people opting for the treatment in an attempt to discard their spectacles.
The procedure has been around for about 20 years, but it is only in the last couple that patients have realised its value. Whether the reason is because we are becoming more cosmetically conscious is hard to say. However, whatever the reason, it is fast becoming a serious option for those fed up with wearing spectacles.
Certainly cosmetic considerations could be high on the list for many people, given the fact that a number of celebrities such as film stars, Nicole Kidman and Brad Pitt, and TV presenter, Jackie Brambles have all opted to have laser eye surgery.
The cost, however, is not cheap and it can range from £395 to about £2500 per eye, depending on the condition of the eye and what is required.
What is required?
Laser eye surgery works by changing the shape of the cornea, to resolves errors found in the eye. There are a number of methods that can do this, but the most popular is Lasik surgery.
Lasik surgery requires the patient to have their eyes numbed with anaesthetic drops, which is followed by a flap being cut into the surface of the eye, created by a fine laser beam or an automated surgical blade. Microscopic portions of the cornea are then removed in order to reshape it.
While blades and lasers do conjure up ideas of pain, in reality the procedure is painless. Patients, however, do say they experience a mild feeling of pressure.
Both eyes are usually treated at the same time, and experts say the risk of retinal detachment or infection is minimal. The only possible side effect is dry eye, but this is easily treated with drops.
Improved vision is also said to be immediate.
Although there are many adverts on TV nowadays, laser eye practitioners must be provided by licensed doctors. However, they don’t have to be specialist ophthalmologists, although this obviously helps.
So, if you are thinking of having the procedure done it is vital that you ensure the person carrying it out is qualified. Professor Harminder Dua, president of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists told reporters: “It’s all about risk management. If you go somewhere on the high street, the majority will do a good job because it’s an equipment driven procedure. But if it goes wrong, they might not be in a position to handle things.”