Before Laser Eye Surgery: Some Important Tips

Laser correction for vision defects has been approved for NHS use, but there are still risks.

Although well over 90 per cent of patients are delighted with the results of their treatment, complications can occur. According to Nice (the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence), about six Lasik patients in 1,000 will have worse vision than before: patients with mild short-sight do better than those with severe problems.

Between one and 10 per cent will have to have the treatment repeated and a small number will develop an infection - though infection rates are lower than with contacts - or a complication that results in damage requiring a corneal transplant.

Do not choose a clinic or surgeon solely on cost. Find out:
# Who will be doing your surgery and ask to have a consultation with this surgeon both in advance of and after the treatment.

# Whether the clinic or hospital adheres to the Royal College of Ophthalmologists' guidelines for surgery. If not, stay away.

# How many Lasik operations the surgeon has performed, how long he has been doing this work and what his qualifications are.

# About the surgeon's re-treatment rate. Three per cent is low; 10 per cent high.

# About infection rates.

# What kind of vision you can expect after surgery. Some surgeons have higher overall success rates: at least 85 per cent of patients should have "perfect" unaided vision after Lasik.

# What proportion of patients end up with poorer vision - even when wearing glasses - than they started with.

# How common serious complications such as ectasia are.

Link [www.telegraph.co.uk/health/main.jhtml?view=DETAILS&grid=P8&xml=/health/2006/03/27/hlaser27.xml]

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