Laser eye surgery2019-11-18T16:21:04+00:00

LASER EYE SURGERY
CHOOSE THE RIGHT LASER EYE SURGERY FOR YOU

What is laser eye surgery?

Laser eye surgery is the variety of surgical procedures that involve an eye surgeon (ophthalmologist) using a laser to reshape the front surface of the eye (cornea) to correct a refractive error.

Laser eye surgery has a long and successful track record

Scientists developed the excimer laser in the early 1970s and modified it for ophthalmic (eye surgery) use in the early 1980s. Since medical device companies introduced the excimer laser into commercial use, eye surgeons have performed over 40 million procedures worldwide.

Laser eye surgery is a safe and effective treatment

Studies, governmental bodies like NICE, and millions of happy patients have demonstrated that laser eye surgery is both safe and effective. The aim of laser eye surgery is to reduce your dependency on spectacles and/or contact lenses.

There are different types of laser eye surgery

Laser eye surgery is a fast moving field with new developments arising frequently. Over the past few decades we’ve seen laser eye surgery move through three generations.

Laser eye surgery stages of development

  • 1st generation
  • 2nd generation
    • Femtosecond laser eye surgery (also known as all-laser LASIK and by trade names such as VisuMax or IntraLase)
  • 3rd generation
    • ReLEx SMILE ™ laser eye surgery (also known as keyhole laser eye surgery)

Now, laser eye surgery can correct the need for reading glasses

Laser eye surgery to correct presbyopia (ageing eyes) has been commercially available in the UK since 2004. Since then, laser eye surgeons have successfully treated thousands of patients with a technique called laser blended vision. The German medical device company, Zeiss, has commercialised this technique as PRESBYOND.

The Custom Vision Clinic and laser eye surgery

James Ball has been at the forefront of laser eye surgery over the last decade. He was one of the first laser eye surgeons to use the femtosecond laser (at St. James’ Laser Vision) north of London.

He is now the first laser eye surgeon to offer both ReLEx SMILE ™ and PRESBYOND ™ laser blended vision in Yorkshire.

What conditions does laser eye surgery treat?

Laser eye surgery treats refractive errors. Refractive errors are abnormalities in the anatomy of the eye that results in what we call

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Who is suitable for laser eye surgery?

Nearly everyone (98%) is now suitable for laser eye surgery. Ideal candidates are in good general health and specifically have healthy eyes (apart from having a refractive error).

Laser eye surgery myths

There is plenty of misinformation out there, and laser eye surgery is no exception. Here are the top 5 things that many people don’t know about laser eye surgery:

  • Laser eye surgery can treat astigmatism
  • Laser eye surgery can treat very high prescriptions
  • Laser eye surgery can treat ageing eyes
  • Laser eye surgery is relatively painless
  • Laser eye surgery is permanent

Laser eye surgery requirements

There are some laser eye surgery requirements that might make laser eye surgery unsuitable for you. If you have specific questions about suitability, we can share general laser eye surgery requirements with you over the phone. For a more specific recommendation, we can examine your eyes and give you a medical recommendation at your first visit.

How does laser eye surgery work?

You don’t need to understand how laser eye surgery works to benefit from it. However, many people are fascinated by a technology that sometimes feels like magic.

First of all, it’s important to think about the eye as a camera. When light enters the eye, your front lens (your cornea) bends the light so that it focuses on your retina. The light travels through an internal lens and then onto the retina. The retina (the film at the back of the eye) then interprets the light as an image and sends the signal to your brain so that you can see.

Just like some people are tall or short, some people have longer eyes and some people have shorter eyes. While many people’s eyes are round, some are more oblong, like a rugby ball. In normal eyes, the light passes through the cornea to a point on the retina.

In a Short-sighted, Long-sighted or astigmatic eye, the cornea bends the light and it incorrectly meets your retina so that the image you see is blurry and/or distorted.

In a nutshell, a laser eye surgery can fix this blurriness and distortion by applying a laser to the surface of your eye (the cornea) to change its shape and alter the curvature that causes the incorrect bending of light.

As a result, the reshaped cornea can then bend the light in such a way that it meets the retina in a correct way, which enables you to see as if your eye was a normal shape and length.

What are some advantages and disadvantages of laser eye surgery over glasses and contact lenses?

The main alternative to laser eye surgery is spectacles and contact lenses.

Is laser eye surgery better than spectacles?

Many patients agree that being spectacle-free

  • Enhances their lifestyle
  • Improves their appearance
  • Increases their convenience
  • Costs less than long-term spectacle use
  • Increases their personal safety
  • Improves their performance in sports and at work

Is laser eye surgery better than contact lenses?

Some patients choose to wear contact lenses as an alternative to spectacles. Many of these patients agree that being contact-lens free

  • Increases their lifestyle flexibility
  • Saves time and ongoing costs
  • Reduces the incidence of sight-threatening contact lens infections
  • Eliminates discomfort associated with contact lenses

Results at a glance

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Laser procedures
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Cataract procedures
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Better than the national average of complication rates
My eyesight following the operation is brilliant and better than I thought possible, and this is all down to your excellent surgeon Mr James Ball and not to forget all the very dedicated people around him who make these operations possible.
Keith Garlick
Two of the best decisions I ever made in my life were firstly to have lens exchange and secondly to have Mr James Ball carry out my operation.
Patricia Walton
Within minutes I could tell there was a difference. But now, only a couple of months later, my sight is better than it was seven years ago! I can even read the really tiny print on the car sales ads! If you want that confidence you probably felt when you were younger, this is the ideal solution.  Thanks to the treatment, I feel rejuvenated, independent and much younger!
John Hazelgrave
Many thanks for all your care and kindness. To me it appears a miracle that I can see so well. I feel very grateful. It is impossible to fully express my thanks.
Grace C.
May I offer grateful thanks for your expertise in operating on my eyes. It was intimated to me that you were the best, and from the results I am now enjoying, I am convinced that this is correct.
Jean D.
You are truly innovative. Thank you very much for curing the problems I have been having with my reading and near vision.
Sala M.
My work was becoming almost impossible. I had refractive lens exchange to both eyes with multifocal lens implants last July. I can now see better than 20/20 for distance and can read the tiniest print in newspapers - all without glasses! I have started reading for pleasure again, and I feel that my performance both at work and on the golf course has improved.
John

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Does laser eye surgery have any disadvantages?

Laser eye surgery risks

Laser eye surgery is surgery and all surgery carries an element of risk. With that said, the risk associated with laser eye surgery is minimal (and lower than the risk associated with prolonged contact lens use).

Laser eye surgery costs

Some people worry about the fees associated with laser eye surgery. While it’s true that laser eye surgery costs more in the short-term, when compared the prolonged spectacle and/or contact lens use, laser eye surgery can be less expensive in the long run.

Laser eye surgery fears

Finally, many people fear the prospect of laser eye surgery. Certainly, there is little one can do about the fear apart from join the millions of others that have faced their fears and lived through the experience to enjoy a life free of spectacles and contact lenses. Fear isn’t new to us, and we’ll do what we can to help dispel your fear with objective facts and information, so you can make an informed choice.

What are some laser eye surgery options and alternatives?

Laser eye surgery has advanced greatly over the last couple of decades. In the past there was a choice between surface laser eye surgery and LASIK. Patients tended to prefer LASIK because it was more comfortable than surface laser eye surgery and because the recovery time was so much faster.

Today, very few advanced laser eye surgeons perform surface laser eye surgery, because newer procedures offer similar benefits (like being able to treat those with thinner corneas or those who engage in contact sports and work). Keyhole laser eye surgery, where the laser reshapes the cornea without the need to make a flap, is called ReLEx SMILE ™ .

This procedure has all the great benefits of LASIK (fast visual improvement and short recovery time) with the associated benefits of not cutting a flap in the cornea (no flap complications, less dry eye, improved comfort during the operation) and none of the downsides of surface laser eye surgery (more discomfort and shorter recovery time).

Another procedure that is supposedly new is PRESBYOND ™ blended vision laser eye surgery. We say supposedly new because many people aren’t aware of it, despite it being available commercially in the UK for over 10 years.

The research is in: You can safely reduce your dependency on reading spectacles or varifocals with laser eye surgery.

Request a Call Back

The best way to figure out your treatment options is to request a call back by filling in the form below:

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Get a free copy of the 40+ Guide to Ageing Eyes

Request a callback

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

My eyesight following the operation is brilliant and better than I thought possible, and this is all down to your excellent surgeon Mr James Ball and not to forget all the very dedicated people around him who make these operations possible.

Keith Garlick

Two of the best decisions I ever made in my life were firstly to have lens exchange and secondly to have Mr James Ball carry out my operation.

Patricia Walton

Within minutes I could tell there was a difference. But now, only a couple of months later, my sight is better than it was seven years ago! I can even read the really tiny print on the car sales ads! If you want that confidence you probably felt when you were younger, this is the ideal solution.  Thanks to the treatment, I feel rejuvenated, independent and much younger!

John Hazelgrave

My work was becoming almost impossible. I had refractive lens exchange to both eyes with multifocal lens implants last July. I can now see better than 20/20 for distance and can read the tiniest print in newspapers – all without glasses! I have started reading for pleasure again, and I feel that my performance both at work and on the golf course has improved.

John

Laser eye surgery has changed my life. Now, having had laser, I wake up in the morning and I can see and it’s unbelievable.

Claire Varley

Laser eye surgery has greatly improved my quality of life. I’ve been able to discard my glasses after thirty years!

Arthur Brown

If you are thinking of having Laser Eye Surgery, try these guys – they really are the best in their field.

Mr CE Poulter

I felt I was treated as an individual and all my questions were answered. From my experiences – I can highly recommend Mr Ball.

Janet Howden

Wonderful, Wonderful, Wonderful! I am so grateful to you and your team. Thank you very much indeed.

Dorothy S.

Thank you for your skilled interventions which have given me my sight back.

Doreen G.

To me it appears a miracle that I can see so well. I feel very grateful. It is impossible to fully express my thanks.

Grace C.

Thank you very much for the treatment you gave me –  I can see so well now, and reading has once again become a real pleasure.

Charles S.

It was intimated to me that you were the best, and from the results I am now enjoying, I am convinced that this is correct.

Jean D.

You are truly innovative. Thank you very much for curing the problems I have been having with my reading and near vision.

Sala M.

I had LASIK on both eyes at Custom Vision Clinics, and can now see better than 20/20, without my glasses or contact lenses. More importantly, I now feel that I can get more out of my busy life.

Karen

At the consultation, Mr Ball found that I had early cataracts. Following cataract surgery at Custom Vision Clinics, I am almost completely independent from glasses.

Anne

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DISCOVER YOUR EYE TREATMENT OPTIONS

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MORE USEFUL INFORMATION

Read more about laser eye surgery

New refractive surgery guidelines from The Royal College of Ophthalmologists, together with patient information on Laser Vision Correction, Phakic Intraocular Lens Implantation, Refractive Lens Exchange and a Checklist for patients will be published in April 2017. Click here for more information

Take this checklist to your consultation with your refractive surgeon performing the procedure. Discuss each item with your surgeon to help you make the decision that is right for you before having
refractive surgery. Click here for more information

The Royal College of Ophthalmologists’ Laser Vision Correction Patient Information booklet (PDF). Click here for more information

Tips for patients interested in laser eye surgery. The road to laser eye surgery can sometimes be confusing. Thinking of the journey as a step-by-step process, from an early interest in laser eye surgery all the way to post-operative care, might make it easier. The following supporting materials will help you learn more about what happens during the process, and answer questions along the way. However, it is recommended to consult with an eye care provider to get more knowledgable of the procedure and to find out whether laser eye surgery might be an option. Click here for more information
Discover how laser eye surgeries differ and compare. The following chart provides an overview of all key facts and figures when it comes to laser eye surgery. While all three Laser Vision Correction procedures have a high success rate, they differ slightly in the refractive errors treated, the treatment method used, and the clinical specifics of each procedure. A doctor or clinic representative can help you understand which procedure is best for your individual eye condition. Click here for more information

SMILE corrects myopia and astigmatism, or a combination of both refractive errors with only a very small incision at the corneal surface. This high-precision procedure is the latest development in the refractive laser treatments. Includes videos, treatment steps, and questions and answers.
Click here for more information

LASIK treats refractive errors by folding away the top layer of the eye and re-shaping tissue underneath. If a femtosecond laser is used, this type of procedure is called Femto-LASIK. Includes videos, treatment steps and questions and answers. Click here for more information

PRK/LASEK procedures remove a thin cell layer from the top of the eye so the laser can reshape the underlying cornea. This surgery may be an option for those who are not eligible for LASIK or those who look for the most economic option for refractive laser surgery. Includes videos, treatment steps, and questions and answers. Click here for more information

Laser eye surgery treatments are clinically proven and established procedures. Like all surgeries, however, laser eye surgery is not free of risks and side effects. Only your ophthalmologist can explain the individual risks and decide whether laser eye treatment is an option. Some complications that can occur are… Click here for more information
Photorefractive (laser) surgery for the correction of refractive errors. Understanding NICE guidance – information for people considering the procedure, and for the public. Click here for more information
Custom Vision Clinic’s YouTube Channel features James Ball answering hundreds of eye-related questions on video – ranging from laser refractive surgery, lens exchange and keratoconus treatment. Click here for more information
Laser eye surgery reviews of Custom Vision Clinic on Trustpilot. Click here for more information

About the author

Mr James Ball | Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

MA (Cantab) MB BChir FRCOphth CertLRS

I am a Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon at Custom Vision Clinic, St James’s University Hospital, and Nuffield Hospital. My major interest is in refractive surgery and finding the best treatment suitable for each patient.