If you are considering having laser eye surgery then the first thing you will need to do is book in for a laser eye surgery consultation. The aim of a consultation is to check that you are suitable for the procedure and also to find out exactly which type of treatment you require.
Most clinics will carry out the consultation for free and there is no obligation to have the surgery. The following is information that you need to know about your consultation:
- If you wear soft contact lenses you will need to remove them for a minimum of 24 hours prior to the consultation. If you wear hard (gas permeable) contact lenses then you may have to have them out for up to 2 weeks prior to the consultation. These time scales may vary so you will need to check with the clinic before attending for your appointment. The reason your contact lenses have to be removed for a period of time is because they can slightly alter the shape of your cornea which in turn can affect your prescription.
- You will not be able to drive after your consultation: Eye drops are used to maximise the accuracy of the tests during your consultation. These eye drops blur your vision slightly which means you will be unable to drive for a minimum of 4 hours following the consultation. Some people will also find that their vision is too blurred for them to work after these eye drops so it is probably best to have the day off. It is advisable that you bring someone with you on the day of your consultation.
- You will need to bring sunglasses as your eyes will be very light sensitive after the consultation. This is particularly important if it is a bright sunny day.
The actual laser eye surgery consultation will typically be as follows:
- Depending on which clinic you choose your consultation will either be carried out by a laser trained optician or by the actual surgeon who will be carrying out your treatment.
- The first part of your consultation will involve your practitioner taking a detailed history of your vision and eye health. Your expectations for surgery will also be discussed along with the different surgical options that are available to you. The treatment options that you will need to choose from will be whether to have Lasik or Lasek and whether you would like to upgrade to Intralase and Wavefront laser eye surgery.
- The health of your eyes will then be thoroughly checked as will your prescription.
- The exact shape of your cornea will also be measured using a corneal topographer. This will ensure that it is safe to carry out the surgery.
- The thickness of your cornea will also be assessed. Laser eye surgery cannot be carried out if your corneas are too thin. People with thin corneas may have to have either Intralase Lasik or Lasek eye surgery.
- A machine called a wavescan is used to measure the tiny imperfections of the focusing ability of your eyes. These imperfections can greatly affect your night vision and the information can be used by the surgeon to give you the best chance of achieving 20:20 vision. You can read about this at the following Wavefront guide.
- None of the tests that are carried out will result in any discomfort at all.
- Once all of the tests have been carried out your optician/surgeon will then inform you whether or not you are suitable for laser eye surgery. The different options will then be discussed with you so that you can decide which treatment you would like to go for. To find out what happens during the laser eye surgery procedure you can read the following related article: What does laser eye surgery involve?