Here we have answered some of your most frequently asked questions about laser eye surgery. However, the best way to find out about the treatment is to book in for a consultation, where our team will be more than happy to help.

Do I have to be from Sheffield to get treatment?

No, our customers come from across the region of South Yorkshire, Derbyshire and the East Midlands which includes Sheffield, Derby, Chesterfield, Doncaster, Worksop, Barnsley, Rotherham, Mexborough and Retford. We also welcome a few patients from much farther afield but remember you will need to attend periodic follow ups to ensure your total satisfaction.

How long does the laser eye treatment take?

Laser eye treatment takes less than a minute per eye – but you may spend up to 20-30 minutes in the treatment room as we prepare for the procedure. You will also spend a similar length of time at the clinic after your eye treatment, preparing to be discharged.

Will the laser eye surgery hurt?

No. During laser eye treatment your eye will be anaesthetised with local anaesthetic so it will not hurt. However, you may experience some eye pressure during the procedure and a mild discomfort immediately afterwards.

Discomfort following the procedure depends on the method of laser eye treatment and to some degree the complexity of your treatment. After LASIK eye surgery, you may experience some mild to moderate discomfort for 24 hours. ReLEx SmILE has a more variable or unpredictable response from patients but most would consider the discomfort moderate. With LASEK the discomfort is often more marked and recovery may be more protracted. The medications provided in your aftercare package will allow you to manage any post-surgery discomfort.

What will my eye look like after surgery?

The vast majority of patients that attend a few days after surgery have eyes that look white and bright. Occasionally you may have a little redness that will soon settle. Very rarely a patient may have a small conjunctival haemorrhage on the white part of their eye and these are of no concern but can take a few weeks to re absorb if they do occur.

How long will the affect of Laser treatment last for?

The stability of your laser treatment will depend very much on your age. Once your eye has stabilised after surgery, younger patients can usually enjoy very long periods of stability. With older patients, particularly those in late 50's, the stability will be less and certainly over 60, lens surgery options may be advised. Laser eye surgery treats the front surface of the eye, so natural ageing inside the eye will continue in spite of the surgery’s effects. Clear lens replacement surgery removes the natural lens within the eye which is responsible for most of these changes and therefore is the treatment of choice usually for older patients.

Approximately 10% of patients experience some degree of regression or a drift in their refractive result. Under such circumstances Sheffield Vision Centre may be able to offer an enhancement procedure at no additional cost if this drift is significant and has occurred within five years of the initial treatment.

How soon after laser eye treatment can I get back to normal activity?

After LASIK eye surgery, patients usually experience functional vision within 24-48 hours. We normally recommend that the patients take the following day off work at an absolute minimum. Most patients take three or four days off work. Lasik has a more predictable and generally quicker physical and visual recovery. ReLExSmILE is less predictable and LASEK eye surgery does take longer for functional vision to return. We normally recommend that these patients at least pencil in additional time off work to allow their eyes to settle. We recommend that you do not drive until you have had your first post-operative check-up. For LASIK and SmILE eye surgery this will be the following day, for LASEK it will be around four to five days later.

How do I know if I am suitable for laser vision correction?

The short answer is that you cannot diagnose yourself as suitable for laser eye treatment. Factors such as your age, your eye measurements, your expectations and your health can affect the procedure, so it is best to book a consultation with us. However, you can use your eye-test prescriptions as a guide to whether you are suitable. Look at the chart under "are you suitable?" for further guidance.

What are the main risks with Laser Eye Surgery?

There is an excellent document written by the College of Ophthalmologists that outlines the risks involved and we strongly recommend that you read it. It presents a balanced view on laser refractive surgery.

One visual risk is simply not achieving the desired and expected target. Despite the care we take in our pre operative measurements, the skill of our surgeon and the accuracy of our very expensive lasers, it is never possible to guarantee perfect results. Approximately 10% of patients will choose to fine tune their results with further laser eye surgery. There is no cost to this, if required within 5 years of the initial treatment.

The main serious visual risks are scarring from infection, or abnormal healing, or very rarely by destabilising the corneal shape through reducing the thickness of the cornea. The risk is low and the very worse case scenario is often considered as a loss of vision visual that is so reduced as to require a corneal transplant. This risk is given as 1 in 5000.

Dryness or discomfort following surgery is quite common. We would recommend the use of artificial tears for up to 2 months post op and occasionally for 1 or even 2 years post op. Very rarely patients do report dryness or altered sensitivity of their eyes years after surgery. We examine all patients for dry eye symptoms before surgery and this risk should be discussed case by case with your surgeon.

Should I have LASIK or LASEK or SmILE eye surgery?

Your consultant will discuss these techniques with you, giving guidance on any factors affecting your choice. All techniques can have quite excellent visual results.

Lasik was the most popular treatment since there is less post operative discomfort and quicker visual recovery. It can treat both long and short-sighted patients, with or without astigmatism. Lasik can be wavefront guided to optimise acuity for some patients and Lasik has the option of Laser Blended Vision for older patients. Enhancement proceedures (if required) are generally easier.

SmILE offers some distinct advantages. It is a flapless procedure and offers patients a result with greater corneal structural integrity with a reduced incidence of post operative dry eye. It has now become the treatment of choice for most short sighted patients that want a balanced distance vision result.

Lasek is a cheaper and less invasive option but visual recovery is slower and post operative discomfort is more significant. It remains the treatment of choice sometimes for lower prescriptions or when the corneal thickness is such that it becomes the safest treatment for that individual. Patients with significant risk of physical trauma to the eye may also opt for this procedure (i.e. Kick-Boxer).

What is the success rate of laser eye surgery?

Research shows that results of laser eye treatment are generally excellent. However, they do depend on several factors including your age and your eye’s health. At your Refractive Surgery Consultation we will test your eyes and provide you with an explanation of the results you can realistically expect.

Will it matter if I am wearing contact lenses at the moment?

Yes. Contact lenses can temporarily change the shape of your cornea. It is very important that the front of your eye has resumed its normal shape by the time of your surgical consultation as it could reduce the accuracy of your final result. The likelihood of retreatment is reduced if you have ensured that you have had your contact lens out for the desired time prior to your Refractive Surgery Consultation.

This length of time depends on the type of contact lenses you wear:
• Soft/disposable lenses: One week
• Gas permeable/hard lenses: Four weeks

Are there upper and lower age limits for laser eye treatment?

Yes. Your eyes continue to grow during your teenage years and are often not fully stabilized until you reach the age of 21, sometimes we have to wait for stability well beyond that age. We do not offer laser eye surgery to under 21's and even if above this age we would want to ensure your eyes have reached stable maturity before we consider any treatment.

Older patients can have laser eye surgery, but normal age changes within the eye will often mean that the results will be less stable. Under 50 is quite often considered as most suitable for laser, over 65 possibly more suited to lens surgery and then the grey area between needs discussion and informed decision making. Obviously this is just a general guide and there will be many exceptions.

When can I resume sport after laser eye surgery?

For the first two weeks you should only undertake gentle physical activity - after this, you can normally go back to doing most sports but we do recommend that you do not swim for the first month. Your consultant will discuss your lifestyle and sporting pursuits with you during your consultations to ensure you get the best treatment for you.