Laser Eye Surgery: Top tips for choosing a laser eye surgery provider
I had perfect 20 / 20 vision up until the age of 15 when a friend of mine thought it would be quite amusing to keep flashing a camera in my eye which eventually led to my retinas being permanently damaged. Yes we are still friends, but that day left me with one perfectly good eye and another which was practically useless for anything other than reading.
I have never been a fan of glasses, my head just doesn't suit them so I decided to look into Laser Eye Surgery after my mother had it done a few years back with great success.
Advanced Eye Treatment
Not so long ago you couldn't turn on the TV without seeing one of those laser eye surgery advertisements but now days you don't see them as often. In the old days, laser eye surgery could take up to 10 days to recover from but with todays upgraded technologies, you can go have a laser eye surgery during your lunch break and be back at work within a few hours. But what is this new technology, how does it differ and what am I expected to pay these days for a single eye treatment. All these things and more I hope to find out before making my decision.
Where To Get It?
The first brands that comes to mind while thinking about Laser Eye Surgery is Optmax, Optical Express and Ultralase. These companies have been offering laser eye treatments for many years now and have a proven track record of safety and quality of service.
Optimax has a fresh looking website with quick and easy web forms to receive information packs while will explain everything you need to know about the treatment. If you have your glasses prescription handy you can enter in your fractions and the web form will tell you if you are suitable for the treatment. Their site tells us that 95% of soft lens wears and 85% of both hard lens and glasses wears will be suitable for the treatment however you will not know for sure until you check with their web form. It turns out that my problem eye can be operated on so lets see what they will charge me. From what I can tell, Optimax offers one treatment which is their premium IntraLaseWavefront LASIK treatment and costs '1,885 per eye. Whatever happened to those £499 deals that were advertised so heavily on telly, why am I now paying twice as much? Well apparently the IntraLase LASIK surgery is the gold standard of eye surgery and was first made available back in 1998. The difference between this and the cheaper methods is that it doesn't use blades to make any incisions, instead they use bladeless technology which makes the eye heal quicker, produces better results in both the short and long term and ensures a safer treatment. People often have better than 20/20 vision when they are finished with this surgery and able to start seeing the world properly within just a few hours after the treatment.
Optical Express has a great presence online and you will also find them from time to time on your TV screen. Like Optimax, Optical Express offers a simple web form to find out if you are eligible for the treatment and I find that the information they presentedwas a lot easier to understand. Optical Express offers up to 4 different treatments which vary in price and recovery times. The cheapest Lasik treatment will see you get back to work within 2-3 days while the expensive IntraLase treatment will have you back within hours. The main difference in pricing is the different ways in which they can operate. The cheaper treatments use blades instead of lasers which leaves it open to infection and takes considerably longer to heal before you start seeing things in 20/20 vision. The cheaper options will also need to be done one eye at a time while the more expensive options can do both at the same time. The cheapest price from Optical Express is £395 per eye while the most expensive option is £795 with the most up to date bladeless technology will cost you an extra £300 per eye on top of that. Optical Express may seem cheap in comparison to Optimax but if you want the best service it will still cost you £1,095 per eye.
Finally we come to Ultralase whose prices are astronomical but luxury. The cheapest option they have is £1,000 per eye but can go up to a wooping £3,400. To be honest, I cannot tell what you are paying the extra money for unless they use gold plated machinery and give you a 5* meal after your treatment! After doing a bit of research into why they are so expensive, I have found that they have positioned themselves as the VERY BEST in laser eye treatments and correct even the minutestof imperfections producing better results than any of its competitors, now where have I read that before, oh yeah, on the other two websites. All three laser eye companies have expressed that they are the best at what they do, but does the higher price tag prove that, maybe.
After the surgery your eye(s) may burn or feel itchy but avoid rubbing your eyes. Any discomfort in the eyes in the hours after the surgery is totally normal and nothing to worry about. You should contact your doctor immediately though if you experience pain, or your vision gets worse.
If all is ok you should visit your doctor 24-48 hours after the surgery and then meet him at regular intervals for the next 6 months.
For the first month after the surgery is best to avoid sports and putting any detergents or creams around the eye.
All in all this has been an interesting project. I have learnt about the subtle differences between treatments and how they will affect me in the short and long term. As I don't have £1,000's to spend on laser eye treatments I would be most interested in the offerings from Optical Express however if money was no objective I might consider going with Ultralase simply because you get what you pay for and even if the difference is only marginal, it would be well worth the extra investment as you are stuck with your eyes for the rest of your life, might as well make them perfect!