The eye-opening truth of laser eye surgery

Published date: 18 January 2013 |
Published by: Reporter
Read more articles by Reporter


For a glasses-wearer, there can be nothing more appealing than the thought of never wearing your glasses again. On the high street, laser eye surgeries are becoming increasingly popular – and competitive. Eye-catching deals from as low as £395 per eye, the surgery to correct your eyes can be even lower than a designer pair of glasses –who wouldn’t find this offer attractive?

 

An investigation into companies offering laser eye surgery by Which? found that more than 50% of eye specialist staff got even the basics wrong when giving advice and testing.  Investigations showed that NONE of the consultations given by the companies involved were deemed to be ‘ideal’. The researchers uncovered that the Clinics played down the risks involved with laser eye surgery and complications as a result of having the surgery. A member of staff in one Optical Express told an undercover researcher, “As long as you’re under my control, you won’t get even an infection or any inflammation”. Another staff member there told the researcher, “Things cannot go wrong”. Beware of this kind of advice; this is alarming practice – no professional can give this sort of guarantee.
If you wish to find out which companies were involved in the investigation follow the link below.

http://www.which.co.uk/documents/pdf/laser-eye-surgery-195167.pdf

 

So, what are the risks of laser eye surgery?

According to NHS.UK, complications occur in less than 5% of cases. Despite this low percentage complication do still occur that can last a lifetime.

  • Dry Eyes – This is the most common after-surgery symptom and will generally clear up. Some cases will result in a condition known as dry eyes. In this instance artificial tear solutions may be required as a long-term solution.
  • Infection - Infection is rare (1 in 500) and can usually be treated. Some very extreme cases cannot be cured by medication and can result in a reduction or even loss of sight.
  • Night glare – According to Nhs.uk, many patients experience glare or halo effects round lights when driving at night. This is more common when a high level of correction is necessary.
  • Thinning of the eye wall – Although rare, too much thinning of the eye during surgery can alter the shape of the eye and could require corneal surgery.
  • Severe loss of vision – Severe loss of vision is extremely rare. The process of correcting such a side effect involves surgery and may require hard contact lenses to restore vision.

What do I need to know?

  • 75% of people who have the surgery should end up with 20/20 vision.
  • 1 in 3 people who have the surgery may still need glasses at some point.
  • The surgery is not a lifetime fix. Retired optometrist Dominic Devlin says as we get older the vast majority will need glasses for nighttime and reading.
  • The risk of losing your sight is under 0.2%.
  • The cost is more than likely to go up than the advertised price. Don’t be tempted by the cheapest option - we all know that quality and price can be linked.
  • Do your research and ask questions during consultations to and decide if the staff members are open, honest and well informed.
  • If you have been injured due to medical negligence, you may be entitled to claim for compensation. An expert solicitor could help you build a case.

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