Laser Eye Surgery - Seeing clearly can make all the difference
Friday 16 September 2016

Laser eye surgery is an umbrella term for several types of eye surgeries used to correct refractive errors (i.e. how your eye focuses light). One of the most common types of laser eye surgery is LASIK and is available at Duchy Hospital. The operation is performed by Mr S Kumaravel, who is a Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon. He has been working as a consultant at Duchy Hospital and Treliske Hospital since 1995. This is a consultant-led service from the beginning to the end.

What does Lasik stand for?

LASIK is an abbreviated term for ‘Laser Assisted in situ Keratomileusis’.

Why choose Lasik?

LASIK is now the most commonly performed refractive eye surgery in the world.

The procedure is done with topical anaesthetic drops to numb the eye. Patients may be given a small amount of oral sedative like Valium to help them relax. It is done as an out-patient procedure – you come and go home within a few hours. LASIK is a method of reducing your dependency on glasses and contact lenses. It differs from regular laser surgery – Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK) in the following aspects:-

Rapid restoration of vision (within hours of surgery) Highly predictable Both eyes can be treated on the same day Minimal discomfort Minimal requirement for eye drops Early stabilisation of vision (less than 6 weeks) Earlier enhancement (fine tuning) if necessary No haze Wider range of correctable prescriptions Treatment of Astigmatism – up to 5 Diopters

How long has Lasik been performed?

LASIK has been performed internationally for about 15 years. It is important to know that the major components of the procedure have a long history. Ophthalmologists have been re-shaping the cornea for over 50 years and using the Excimer Laser since the 1980s.

How does Lasik work?

The cornea, the transparent front window of the eye, contributes two thirds of the total focusing power of the eye. Altering its shape changes the focusing power of the eye.

LASIK flattens the cornea to correct short sightedness or steepens the cornea for far sightedness. This re-shaping process can also be used to correct astigmatism.

The surgeon creates a very thin corneal flap with an instrument called a microkeratome.

The laser is used to re-shape the bed of the cornea under the flap. The flap is then replaced which sticks like cling fi lm without the need for stitches. Vision recovers rapidly with minimal discomfort.

Am I a candidate for Lasik?

Yes! If you:

Have realistic expectations Have healthy eyes with no disease

(ie cataracts, glaucoma, etc)

Are in good general health Are within the range of correction Are over 21 years old and have a stable prescription

Your eyes need to be examined thoroughly with computers to make sure the eyes are healthy before LASIK treatment is recommended.

How successful is Lasik?

The goal of treatment is to reduce dependency on glasses and contact lenses.

LASIK has a proven track record of achieving this and is now the most commonly performed procedure for correction of refractive error. About 90% of patients with low to moderate myopia will achieve 6/12 vision, which is enough to function without glasses for day to day activities. The success rate depends upon the degree of refractive error and your consultant will discuss this with you at the time of consultation.

What about the long term effects?

Based on scientific research and follow-up of patients treated in the late 1980s, experts around the world are confident that there is no long term effect of the treatment. If any change does take place it is usually within the 6 weeks of stabilisation period after surgery.

What happens when I get older, will I need glasses?

Most patients who have LASIK do not need to wear glasses for their daily activities. However, they may need to wear reading glasses if they are over the age of 40. This is caused by the normal ageing of the eye known as presbyopia. This condition occurs with or without LASIK. Those patients who currently have glasses for reading like bifocals will still need reading glasses after the surgery unless they opt for a treatment plan called monovision. In monovision, one eye is corrected for distance vision and the other for near vision.

Are there risks in having the procedure?

According to several large studies, there is approximately a 2% intra-operative and 3 to 5% post-operative complication rate. Most of these complications do not result in loss of two or more lines of best corrected visual acuity. The rate of severe complications that will permanently reduce vision is less than 1%.

If you are considering having laser eye surgery you may wish to book an appointment with Mr Kumaravel either by contacting us online or by calling 0800 917 0022.