Would you consider having laser eye surgery?
Once upon a time, laser eye surgery was the stuff of imagination.
Even if you would willingly consider having someone attempt to correct your poor vision, could it ever be worth the risk?
With the advancements in technology since the procedure was first available in the UK back in 1989, and the costs coming down, more and more people are saying yes.
What is it?
The surgery usually involves re-shaping the cornea, a transparent layer that lives at the front of your eye. Various techniques are used to correct differing eye problems whether it’s long-sightedness, short-sightedness or astigmatism, which is blurred or distorted vision
Why do it?
If you’re sick and tired of wearing glasses (all that embarrassing steaming up when you walk into a warm room from being out in the cold) or can’t get on with the hassles of contact lenses (that’s if you’re not forever losing them), then laser eye surgery might be the way ahead. You usually have to be over the age of 21 to be considered for the treatment.
Not for everyone
While proponents will be able to wheel out endless stories of people’s lives being transformed for the better after corrective surgery, the procedure is simply not for everyone. The satisfaction you experience afterwards may be connected to whatever expectations you have in the first place. For instance, laser surgery can’t fully treat difficulties you have with close-up work (presbyopia) and although improvements will certainly be made, you may still need to wear glasses for certain tasks. To some people, this all sounds like a failure.
Laser eye surgery has plenty in common with many delicate medical procedures: there are risks and side effects involved. Here, surgery may lead to infection which could result in further complications. Once you have the procedure, there really is no going back, though further treatments might be possible. There are also some types of laser eye surgery which could leave you with poor vision at night where you might experience halo effects around brighter lights.
Does eye surgery cost an arm and a leg?
As the treatment is considered non-essential, it’s very rarely available on the NHS. Costs vary, but the general price range is £1000-£1500 per eye. In the main, one eye will be done at a time as it reduces the prospects of cross-contamination should any problems arise. The Royal College of Ophthalmologists estimates that complications only occur in around 5% of cases.
If you’ve undergone laser eye surgery, how was it for you?
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Rachel - Silversurfers Assistant Editor
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