If you have read my Growing up with Glasses blog, you will know getting laser eye surgery is something I have always considered. My rationale behind getting laser is made very clear in that post. However, I had not always been completely sure if I would actually take the leap to get laser eye surgery. I did not want to be that horror story where laser eyes surgery went wrong and that is exactly why I wanted to write this blog. I want to share everything I learnt along the way and what led me to choose Optical Express for laser eye surgery.
Disclaimer: This is definitely not a sponsored blog (I am only a small-time blogger) and I am not promoting Optical Express either. What I am doing is hopefully giving you an insight into my research to choose the right company for you.
Table of Contents
- Market Research for Choosing Optical Express for Laser Eye Surgery
- Optegra Laser Eye Surgery Consultation
- Optical Express Consultation for Laser Eye Surgery
In all honesty, the process happened extremely quickly. Given the on and off lockdown, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to get laser eye surgery. At the age of 25 my eyesight had now settled and I wanted to get laser before big lifetime events; the timing felt just right. The seed entered into my head in October 2020 and I had the surgery on 19th December 2020. Like I said, extremely quickly!
If you are looking for £300 off your treatment with Optical Express, click on the cost section.
Market Research for Choosing Optical Express for Laser Eye Surgery
When I started to consider actually getting laser eye surgery the only place I really knew of was Optical Express. There are many reviews on their website and of course great success stories including those of celebrities. However, I felt that only reading reviews online can leave you very torn and confused. Many positive reviews can be tarnished by just one negative review.
The next step I took was to post an Instagram story and ask those I know for their insights. I felt this would lead to honest, real life experiences that could help me choose. I asked for recommendations, personal experiences and for regrets or any negative reviews.
To my surprise, I actually received a lot of responses. Many responses were from people I know but I was unaware at the time that they had already had laser eye surgery. I guess they don’t all overly post/share about it like I do! The main consensus was to go for either Optical Express, Optegra or Optimax.
That being said, I was also told to “avoid Optical Express like the plague” by an optician who had heard horror stories from his patients. There clearly are mixed reviews about Optical Express and it mainly stems down to their poor customer service. I can say at times I did experience this and I will be writing more posts about this shortly.
You may be wondering why after all this I still went for Optical Express. This is to do with the types of laser eye surgery, the treatment plans, the costs and the aftercare. I will discuss each of these in more detail below.
Here’s where it gets technical. The first mention I heard of these laser eye surgery variations was when an optician told me LASEK is better for dry eyes. I will let you know my experience shortly but I have also read this online. I will be writing blog posts about my recovery where you can find out more so join my journey!
If you’re hearing about LASEK for the first time do not worry, I had no clue either. It was only until an Optical Express optician, Kavneet who I went to school with messaged me when I found out much more about this. Kavneet was extremely helpful and knowledgeable as a specialist refractive optometrist. She was also going for her laser eye surgery in November 2020 with Optical Express – always a good sign when the opticians choose their own company!
To jump right in, LASIK is the most common type of laser eye surgery. It is actually the most invasive type of treatment as it involves a keyhole/flap creating procedure. LASEK (a PRK variation) on the other hand is less invasive where the cells on the surface are moved. Either way, the aim is to open the cornea for the laser to get through. For a more detailed technical explanation of the procedures, click here. To make matters more complicated, Optegra have a variation called Smile but I do not know much about this. Optical Express only offer LASIK and LASEK.
Where you have any scarring or previous history of eye issues, LASEK is the most recommended procedure. The decision is also based on other factors such as cornea thickness, overall eye health and ultimately, it is up to the surgeon. The main difference between the two is the recovery and how quickly you see results (pardon the pun).
My Prescription and Suitability for Laser Eye Surgery
Based on my prescription which is quite high, see below, I was told I was suitable for LASEK. This is mainly due to having some scarring on my left eye from and eye infection as mentioned in my previous blog. Although my prescription is fairly high, I was told I would still be able to achieve 20/20 with surgery. The higher it gets from 5, it becomes more difficult to achieve this but I would say it is definitely worth a consultation to find out.
Back to the point of LASEK, I was severely underprepared for the recovery. I sound like I did my research but nothing prepared me for what I experienced. Like I said, I will be writing posts about this so join my journey.
iDesign Technology with Optical Express
After the decision of how to get the laser through the cornea (LASIK/LASEK) the next choice is how much laser is used. iDesign is essentially a customised treatment plan that is tailored to your eyes. The way this was explained to me is that your eye will have a different prescription at different points. It will not be a flat -5 prescription all over for example. The iDesign treatment involves taking a scan of your eyes and noting 1,200 prescription points to make your treatment 25 times more precise. There are standard laser treatments that would do this flat prescription and then there are more expensive variations, see costs below.
The first mention of iDesign I heard was when it was recommend to me by an optician called Rahul. Rahul was extremely helpful throughout the process too. At first I thought he was only promoting this as he also works at Optical Express. However, I looked into this more and found the claims about this treatment to be true. Even the optician who stated to avoid Optical Express like the plague acknowledged there is research to support this technology. It is also not as new as I thought and has been around for 20+ years apparently.
iDesign is a treatment plan only offered by Optical Express and is probably the main reason I chose Optical Express for my laser eye surgery. Apparently this is because the technology itself is extremely expensive and it is only affordable for Optical Express. I was willing to let a few instances of poor customer experience slide for this. However, Optical Express is not the only company to have advanced treatment plans and I will discuss this below.
Optical Express Laser Eye Surgery Cost (£300 off)
Laser eye surgery whether LASIK or LASEK on average seems to be £1,495 per eye. I think the cost does depend on the strength of your prescription so it may vary from this. My view was that the cost was essentially an investment as I would no longer need to pay monthly for contact lenses. I also did not want to skimp out on my eyes and so I went for the iDesign laser treatment. This was more expensive totalling £4,590 for my whole treatment. However, my sister’s friend who previously had laser eye surgery at Optical Express gave me a voucher for £300 off. My total treatment cost with a LASEK prescription of around -5 per eye for iDesign was therefore £4,290 in total.
If you do not have a friend who can provide you with the £300 off voucher, I am happy to be that friend! Please send me your full name to email@example.com and I will send you a voucher or drop your full name and email in the comments below. It is that easy.
Understandably, this cost is not easily affordable but most companies do offer finance plans so again, this is worth looking into. If you also need any help saving, check out my very helpful blog with all sorts of useful tips.
Another important consideration is the aftercare offered. I was told of instances where people had laser eye surgery and then found their eyesight deteriorated a few years after. It is therefore very important to look into this. That being said, most companies seem to offer only one year of aftercare treatment.
Optical Express’ aftercare consists of all eye drops, several check ups at different points in time (which I will blog about) and a potential top up treatment. If the treatment was not successful it is good to know that this is offered free of charge. As LASEK is quite a slow healer it can take months to know whether this will be needed. Optical Express is not the only company to offer this but ensure to ask about this.
Optegra Laser Eye Surgery Consultation
From the outcome of my Instagram post, I did say I would be going for consultations with three companies. One of these were Optegra who are highly recommended and seem to have a great reputation. I did have an online consultation with Optegra and the optician was very pleasant and helpful. When asking about these technologies I found Optegra offered their own advanced treatment plan called wavefront. My plan was to then go for the Optical Express consultation and back to Optegra after. I was then also planning to go to Optimax to find out more. This did not end up happening.
Optical Express Consultation for Laser Eye Surgery
After hearing negative reviews about Optical Express, I did not have high hopes for this consultation. However, I actually had a very pleasant experience from the onset. The receptionist was very helpful as this clinic was very hard to find. My optician who I saw was honestly just lovely, very informative and definitely knew what she was talking about. I felt as though I was in good hands. I went through with my notepad and pen and all staff were patient with me and my many questions. Lucky for us as my next blog will talk all about what to expect at the consultation in detail.
You may be confused but my negative customer service experience came after and I will share about this too. Join my journey to stay updated.
I was told the iDesign rectifies 1,200 points of the eye whereas wavefront only around 200-250 points. This solidified my decision. As I was so pleased with Optical Express at this point, especially the iDesign, I no longer considered the others. I did not want to waste time so put the £500 deposit down and got booked in for my treatment.
Here’s a video I took the evening of my consultation – enjoy!
If you found this post helpful or have any questions, comment below!