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Questions & Answers

FAQ

frequently-asked-questions

Considering Optimax Eye Surgery to enhance your vision?

This Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page is designed to provide you with comprehensive information about the procedure, addressing common queries and concerns. Whether you're curious about the technology used, the recovery process, or the expected outcomes, we've compiled answers to help you make an informed decision. If you don't find what you're looking for, feel free to reach out to our dedicated team for personalized assistance. Explore the FAQs below and embark on your journey to clearer, sharper vision with Optimax.

Laser Eye Surgery FAQs

The surgeon administers anaesthetic eye drops prior to the procedure so you should feel no discomfort during the surgery. Some patients report feeling slight pressure, but many people say they feel nothing at all.

As one of the most commonly performed medical procedures in the UK, the surgery has also become one of the safest. It is understandable that you may be worried about laser eye surgery risks, but a recent study carried out by the Royal College of Ophthalmologists revealed that 95% of people were satisfied with the results of their treatment. Furthermore, 99% of Optimax patients achieve driving standard vision or better, so you can rest assured you’re in expert hands.

Unlike some other providers, the price of our laser eye surgery is fixed − regardless of your prescription. Treatment for one eye costs £1,995 and to have both done the fee is £3,990. There are no hidden costs or extra payments, and you can take advantage of interest-free credit for up to 12 months. Find out more about our laser eye treatment costs here.

A high-tech bladeless laser corrects your prescription by reshaping your cornea. Imperfections in your cornea make you unable to focus properly and therefore trigger the need for glasses or lenses. Laser eye surgery aims to rectify these imperfections, leaving you with clear vision.

A thin layer is lifted away from the eye, allowing the laser to correct the prescription of the layer underneath. The original layer is then put back in place and sometimes protected with a clear bandage lens for a few days. We offer two types of laser eye surgery, known as LASEK and LASIK, and our expert team of optometrists and surgeons will be able to advise you on the most suitable form of treatment, depending on your prescription and lifestyle.

Laser eye surgery is one of the safest and most commonly performed surgeries in the UK. Over 99% of Optimax patients achieve driving standard vision or better with this procedure.

How long does laser eye surgery take?

The laser will only be on each eye for a matter of seconds, but you should prepare to be in the treatment room for around 20 minutes. You are also likely to be in the clinic on treatment day for up to four hours as you will speak with optometrists, patient advisors, and have post-surgery medication talks.

Laser eye surgery is, in most cases, a permanent correction. However, it will not eliminate age-related changes as most people will still need reading glasses from their early 40s onwards and cataracts can still form in later life.

You won’t be able to blink as the surgeon places an eyelid holder on your eye for the duration of the procedure. Our machines only apply the laser to a still eye, so if you look away, the laser shuts off automatically. This guarantees absolute precision. Most people actually find it much easier than expected to keep their eyes still throughout the procedure.

The minimum age for treatment is 18 but, depending on your prescription and treatment, may actually be older. Our eyes change all the time as we grow and any permanent correction will only work as long as you have a stable prescription. Younger eyes carry higher risk of future prescription change, as they may still be developing.

You can find out more about suitability for laser eye treatment here.

We often treat patients with astigmatism, although it does depend on the degree of it. We only treat patients if we’re sure that the treatment will be a success and that they’ll be pleased with the long-term results. Ultimately, your suitability can only be determined upon consultation, so book yours for free to find out.

Yes, the surgeon will treat both eyes on the same day, unless there’s an important medical reason not to. We offer two types of laser eye surgery – LASIK and LASEK. For LASIK, both eyes have the corneal flap created in succession, and then the laser is applied to each eye in succession. For LASEK, the surgeon removes the epithelium, applies the laser and then repeats the process for the other eye.

It is possible to have laser eye surgery more than once but you will need to be properly assessed before a decision can be made. Our optometrists will check your overall eye health before advising whether you are suitable for retreatment.

You are likely to be more suitable for LASEK treatment if you play a lot of contact sports. This is because with LASIK treatment, a flap is created and lifted before the laser is applied. With LASEK, however, the cells in the eye are removed before applying the laser. This means that they grow back themselves, rather than leaving the flap to heal, therefore creating a stronger join. This is the better option for someone at risk of a blow to the eye as the flap then cannot lift.

You should avoid swimming for one month after undergoing laser eye surgery. This is because water carries bacteria, so refraining from swimming and submerging your head in water minimises the risk of infection while the eye is still healing.

Wavefront guided treatment replaces the “one treatment fits all” outlook with a procedure that is tailored to the precise optics of the eye. The surface of your cornea is measured to detect tiny imperfections which result in distortions to the visual path. Glasses lenses are standard shapes and their optical performance is made to fit the average population as a whole, while the laser improves individual physical and optical characteristics precisely for each eye. Patients who are suitable for Wavefront treatment can achieve better results than wearing glasses or contact lenses, as the process corrects individual aberrations.

Yes, if a patient chooses, or a surgeon recommends, only one eye can be treated.

Our Lifetime Aftercare Guarantee provides patients with one free laser retreatment for distance-only correction. However, this was only introduced in 2010 and is not given retrospectively. For patients treated prior to 2010, a laser retreatment for distance-only correction is offered at a reduced price of £395 per eye.

No, we do not treat patients who are either breastfeeding or pregnant. This is because of fluctuating hormone levels which can affect your vision. Once you have finished breastfeeding, we recommend waiting three months before consultation to allow your hormones to settle, and then provide accurate eye scans.

Soft/disposable/toric lenses must be taken out 48 hours prior to the procedure. Extended wear lenses must be removed one week before and hard/gas permeable lenses must be removed three weeks before undergoing treatment.

Lens Surgery FAQs

The surgery itself usually takes between 10 to 15 minutes, although you should prepare to be in the treatment room for up to half an hour, and in the clinic on the day for up to four hours.

The process of RLE (Refractive Lens Exchange) treatment is the same as the method for cataract treatment. The ageing natural lens is removed and is then replaced with either a monofocal or multifocal lens. With ICL (Implantable Contact Lens) procedures, the natural lens remains inside the eye, and an artificial lens is implanted in front of it. As the natural lens isn’t removed for ICL treatment, the procedure is entirely reversible.

The lenses do not break down inside the eye – they’re made to last for around a hundred years – so deterioration isn’t something you need to worry about.

Your vision is likely to be a little blurry for 2-3 days following the procedure, and will gradually improve over the coming weeks. It depends on your line of work, however most people can go back to work after a couple of days. Some patients need up to a week off, but it depends on your individual recovery process.

Again, this depends on how quickly your eyes heal. This can be a matter of a couple of days, or a couple of weeks. As you’ll be coming back in to the clinic for aftercare and follow-up appointments, the optometrist should confirm then when you are back to driving standard.

We recommend avoiding rigorous exercise for one month following the procedure. This is because it can increase the eye pressure and affect the healing process. You should avoid water sports for a month as water carries bacteria and could trigger an infection in your eye. Similarly, you should protect your eyes from sweat by wearing a headband during sports activities for at least two weeks. Full details of resuming sports can be found in your aftercare advice guide given to you by your clinic.

You might experience an increase in halos or glare at night following the procedure. It is caused by light reflecting off the rim of the lens, so as your pupils become larger in the dark, the reflections become more obvious. This reaction to glare should gradually decrease with time. However, it may remain for some time for some patients, especially those with large pupils.

For ICL treatment, we like our patients to be between the ages of 21 and 40. Patients younger than 21 often have eyes which are still developing and changing, and a stable prescription is needed to ensure that the right lens is being implanted. After the age of 40, patients often develop the need for reading glasses, and in that case may be more suitable for RLE treatment. There is no upper age limit for RLE, especially as it is also used to treat cataracts which typically begin to affect people later in life.

If you wish to eliminate the need for reading glasses, you should consider RLE with multifocal lenses. These will allow you to focus your eyes on objects at multiple distances, regaining younger vision and improving near vision for tasks such as computer use or reading.

We can perform bilateral procedures (both eyes treated on the same day, one after the other) but this will need to be discussed with your treating surgeon. If you prefer, you can also have your eyes treated separately, a week apart, diary permitting.

It always depends on the individual and the condition of the eyes. ICL surgery is possible for patients who have Keratoconus but for most, treatment to help control the Keratoconus is required first unless the condition is stable and has been for many years. We offer CCL (Corneal Cross-Linking) treatment to help strengthen the cornea and prevent further progression of the Keratoconus. After successful treatment, ICL surgery can then be considered.

We offer monovision treatments whereby we treat only one eye. One eye will be short-sighted, and the other long-sighted, allowing them to work together and balance each other out, ultimately eliminating the need for reading glasses. We also offer multifocal lenses which focus on multiple distances, allowing you to see objects both close up and far away.

No, you will receive a local anaesthetic for the procedure in the form of numbing eye drops. This is because when you sleep your eyes roll back, meaning that the surgeon cannot access the cornea. You may, however, be prescribed a mild sedative from your GP prior to the surgery, to ensure a more relaxing experience for you.

In the immediate period after treatment, you should keep lighting low and avoid anything requiring visual concentration, including TV, reading and computer use.

You should avoid water splashing in to the eyes for 7 days after treatment. When showering you should stand with your back to the shower, taking a step further forward than usual and ensuring any liquids are rinsed away from face and eyes.

Cataract FAQs

A cataract is an age-related condition where the eye’s natural lens – directly behind the pupil – begins to become cloudy. This typically occurs in people aged in their sixties and older.

Early cataracts usually have no symptoms until they grow big enough to prevent light passing properly through the lens. When this starts to happen, signs include cloudy vision, double vision, faded colours, sensitivity to glare, and halos around bright lights.

No, they can’t. They often, however, develop at the same time in each eye which could give the impression that they have spread.

The actual procedure usually takes around 10 minutes to perform, although you may be in the theatre for around half an hour. You should also prepare to be in the clinic for up to four hours on the day of surgery, which involves preparation time, a talk with the surgeon, and a chance for the patient advisor to explain all your post-op medication in depth.

Cataracts are removed using ultrasound, not laser. This process is called phacoemulsification. It uses sound waves to gently break up the cataract which is then extracted from the eye.

Cataract surgery is painless because anaesthetic eye drops are applied before the procedure.

We can perform bilateral procedures (both eyes treated on the same day, one after the other) but this will need to be discussed with your treating surgeon. If you prefer, you can also have your eyes treated separately, a week apart, diary permitting.

Most patients' vision is significantly better within the first 24 hours of their cataract eye surgery, however your optometrist will confirm when driving standards have been met.

Complications during or after a cataract eye surgery are rare. However, no surgery is 100% risk free, and complications can and do occur. Although low, there is an unavoidable risk of infection which occurs in 1 in 5,000 patients. The use of full sterile theatre conditions minimises this risk as much as possible. You will also be checked for infection at every aftercare consultation. Please read the Aftercare Advice Leaflet for important information and refer to the Agreement and Consent Form, both provided on treatment day, for a full list of possible complications. The most common complication is Posterior Capsular Opacification, which is easily treated. A typical symptom of PCO is clouded vision; for this reason the condition is also referred to as secondary cataract. This condition is treated with a very quick and simple procedure using a YAG laser.

Vision should improve within a few days, however it will take several months for the eye to heal and settle, and sometimes up to a month to resume normal activities. You should allow 3-5 days off work for recovery.

Cataract surgery is one of the safest surgeries performed in the world, with millions of successful procedures performed each year. 325,000 operations are performed annually in the UK alone!

Due to the dilating drops and the bright microscope lights, most patients find that their vision is blurred after their cataract surgery. This normally clears up within a few hours of the operation, however effects may continue for a day or two. We advise patients to bring a pair of sunglasses on the treatment day.

You may experience a slightly scratchy sensation when you blink which is absolutely normal. This is due to the microscopic incision made during the procedure on the surface of your eye. The feeling should disappear when the incision heals. Scratchiness could also be a symptom of dry eyes. Using artificial tears after your surgery usually helps to ease the symptoms.

Your treatment is a permanent procedure. Apart from some patients with monofocal lenses, who may need reading glasses, our aim is to make patients as spectacle-free as possible. This is achieved by inserting an artificial multifocal lens.

Cataracts are an age-related condition and, like with most age-related conditions, you can’t really prevent them. If you’re diabetic, keeping an eye on your blood sugar levels may help. Research suggests that vitamins A, C and E have links to slowing cataract formation, as well as eating fish or taking omega-3 supplements.

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