Below are a list of frequently asked questions (FAQ) I have been asked, some through the Facebook group or directly.
Disclaimer: Please note, I am not an optometrist. I have however recently undergone LASEK iDesign laser eye surgery and have researched a lot around this. These answers have therefore come from my own experiences and research as well as other’s input through responses on Facebook groups.
FAQ – Laser Eye Surgery
This is a quick FAQ post to hopefully answer any questions you may have.
How much does laser eye surgery cost in the UK?
The cost of laser eye surgery can vary from person to person, depending on the type of laser eye surgery, the type of procedure, the technology used, the provider and the customer’s prescription.
That being said, laser eye surgery on average seems to be £1,495 per eye but most I have seen have paid above this. The Optical Express iDesign treatment 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.
Understandably, this cost is not easily affordable but most companies do offer finance plans so again, this is worth looking into.
Is laser eye surgery painful?
No, I did not find the surgery to be painful. However, I did have the LASEK treatment which is less invasive than LASIK.
From reading online, for the majority of patients laser eye surgery is not painful due to the anaesthetic eye drops used during surgery.
What happens if you blink during laser eye surgery?
During the treatment, your eyes will essentially be clipped open at your eyelids. It is therefore very difficult/not possible to blink. Initially I did really try to blink as it was quite uncomfortable. However, after 30 seconds or so your eyes get used to it and the feeling does fade.
That being said, my eyes did actually roll back a couple of times during the laser eye surgery. I really do not know why this was but this did not cause any issues.
How long does laser eye surgery take?
The procedure in total is between 10-15 minutes. The time goes extremely quickly. It felt as though it was around 5 minutes per eye including eye drops and getting it ready for the laser. The actual laser itself was around 30 seconds per eye.
This seems to be the general consensus for the different types of procedures too.
Are you awake during laser eye surgery?
Yes! You are awake during laser eye surgery. It was crazy because I could see my vision getting clearer, more blurry and then there was a point my eyesight went completely black. This was VERY scary but only lasted a couple of seconds. Do not let this put you off though as it was worth it in the end for me.
Note: Wise words I was told is that this treatment is a surgery after all. This means it will come with risks and you should definitely weigh up whether it is worth it for you.
Is it normal to have a longer visual recovery time?
Short answer: yes.
I would say my total LASEK laser eye surgery recovery time was three months. In this time, I did a lot of reading on others’ experiences desperately trying to find similarities to mine. From this research, I have found recovery time really does vary from person to person. The general consensus is that this is normal for LASEK.
LASIK on the other hand is meant to give 20/20 vision after a day or two. However, I have read many cases where this has been much longer.
In order to aid slower recovery, the answer is probably lubricating eye drops. For me, Hyco San Extra was my saviour even though my eyes did not actually feel dry.
Is dry eyes a true concern for laser eye surgery?
Dry eyes is typically a common side effect of the treatment. Therefore, those who already experience dry eyes have valid reasons for questioning this. The best response I could give you is to go to a consultation and the optician will inform you of what is best for you. If you eyes are too dry, you will be told you are not suitable at all. However, if you are recommended LASIK, it is likely your dry eyes are not a true concern.
If I have been told I suitable for LASEK but not LASIK, should I wait six months to heal my dry eyes and try again?
Find out the exact reason why you have been deemed suitable for LASEK. If it is purely down to dry eyes, ask your optician if waiting six months would help. However, chances are there are other factors involved. In this case there was scarring involved so waiting six months would not make a difference.
Should I be worried if one of my eyes are sharper than the other?
Short answer: no.
I experienced this and was quite worried. However, my optician put me at ease following my one month aftercare appointment. She explained it is normal for eyes to heal at different rates and to give it time. I was told my left eye should catch up and I should avoid focusing on this too much. It is tempting to cover one eye and compare but you should really avoid this.
Three months on and my left eye did catch up. My left eye went to one line above 20/20 but my right eye stayed sharper and improved to two lines above 20/20. I will take that!
Is it possible to have surgery on only one eye and then the other at a later date?
I myself did not look into this but have heard of this being possible. Between surgery dates you would most likely need to wear a contact lens in the untreated eye and of course go through recovery twice.
What do you wish you knew before surgery?
I really wish I had had a more accurate idea of what the LASEK recovery process would have been like. I honestly did not think too much into this and was oblivious to the amount of pain I was to experience. This truly caught my family and I off guard. It was not ideal!
That brings us to the end of my laser eye journey. There really is not much more information I can give you other than: