LASIK2019-11-18T16:23:53+00:00

LASIK
THE MAINSTAY LASER EYE SURGERY FOR REFRACTIVE ERRORS

What is LASIK?

LASIK is the acronym for Laser-Assisted in Situ Keratomileusis, a type of refractive laser eye surgery performed by ophthalmologists for correcting myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism, and most recently, presbyopia.

What eye conditions does LASIK treat?

Most people know that LASIK laser eye surgery can help them to get rid of their glasses. Now, however, laser eye surgery is not the only option for people who are frustrated by their glasses.

Two structures focus light onto the back of the eye and create a clear image – the cornea and the lens. The cornea is the rigid window at the very front of the eye, and it is the cornea, which is sculpted in laser eye surgery. The lens is suspended inside the eye. For those patients that might have early signs of cataract, we might recommend lens replacement surgery to exchange the refractive lens in the cornea with an artificial lens.

Who is suitable for LASIK?

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How does LASIK work?

Today, most advanced laser eye surgeons perform blade-free LASIK using a femtosecond laser.

Conventional LASIK

The LASIK eye correction surgery begins with anaesthetic drops applied to numb your eye and prevent pain during the procedure. A lid speculum is placed in the eye to hold the lids apart for the procedure, eliminating possibility of blinking. The cornea is marked with water-soluble ink to guide replacement of the flap.

The suction ring is placed on the eye and your vision will go dark for about 20 seconds. A precise flap-making instrument, the microkeratome is used to create a thin flap of the corneal tissue. The eye surgeon raises the epithelium layer of the cornea to expose the portion beneath and is lifted and reflected to the side.

Blade-free femtosecond LASIK or ‘all-laser LASIK’

While conventional LASIK is a safe and effective procedure, many patients prefer the idea of blade-free LASIK. Many clinics market blade-free LASIK as ‘IntraLASIK’. With that said, femtosecond laser manufacturers often claim that femtosecond lasers can reduce complications and improve accuracy of treatments.

At The Custom Vision Clinic, blade-free femtosecond LASIK is the standard of care.

Is laser eye surgery safer than contact lens wear?

Advantages and disadvantages of LASIK

Advantages of LASIK over other procedures

  • Quick healing (driving vision the next day in most cases)
  • Little chance of haze
  • Enhancements can be easier
  • Generally back to work or school within 48 hours
  • Generally able to drive a car within 24 hours

Benefits of LASIK to the laser eye surgery patient

  • Vision correction
  • Minimal healing time
  • Maximum convenience

With LASIK eye surgery the healing process is significantly reduced, in comparison to surface laser eye surgery, patients can typically return to routine work and leisure activities within a couple of days of treatment. In addition, vision correction is virtually instantaneous (the so-called “wow effect”) and both eyes can usually be treated on the same day.

Disadvantages of LASIK against other procedures

LASIK is one of the most successful surgical procedures invented. With that said, it’s not right for everyone. Here are some examples:

  • Patients with thin corneas
  • Patients with chronic dry eyes
  • Patients who engage in contact sports or dangerous work

In the past we might have recommended surface laser eye surgery to people with thin corneas because these procedures are less invasive and leave more corneal tissue intact. Today, however, we offer ReLEx SMILE to these patients, which enables us to perform keyhole laser eye surgery.

For these patients we may recommend lens replacement surgery to remove their natural crystalline lens to exchange it for an artificial lens. This lens can be specifically chosen to correct your refractive error (including astigmatism) or conditions associated with ageing eyes (presbyopia and/or cataract).

Patients with keratoconus or other contra-indicated conditions

For some patients, certain pre-existing eye or other conditions make any type of laser eye surgery an unsafe option. For patients with keratoconus, we might recommend corneal cross-linking or Kerarings  to halt the progression of keratoconus.

Options and alternatives to LASIK

The most common alternative to LASIK is to remain wearing spectacles or contact lenses. Surgical options of laser eye surgery include:

Frequently asked questions about LASIK

LASIK eye surgery involves raising a thin protective flap of epithelium and stroma from the cornea and applying the laser treatment beneath this. The flap is then repositioned. PRK is a form of surface laser (as is LASEK or epi-LASIK). In surface laser, the epithelium only is removed and this has to grow back after the laser has been applied. LASIK and surface laser are equally effective, but surface laser takes longer to settle down.

Laser eye surgery is one of the safest surgical treatments around. There are possible risks with any technique and we encourage you to discuss these with us. The risk of complications is less than one percent. In the rare circumstance that a complication occurs there will be a treatment to correct that complication. It is worth knowing that patients who have a complication at other laser clinics are referred to Mr Ball to have the complication treated. It is also worth knowing that there is a higher risk of infection from contact lens wear than there is from laser eye surgery.

There is no pain during laser eye surgery, although some patients may experience mild discomfort or a pressure sensation during their procedure. After LASIK you might experience mild grittiness and watering for the first 12 hours or so after your procedure. Surface laser patients experience more post-operative discomfort for three to five days while the epithelium heals.

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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  • 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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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.