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Is Laser Eye Surgery Safe

Is Laser Eye Surgery Safe

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Published by: geovenkatmsc2004 on Oct 10, 2011
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04/22/2012

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Is laser eye surgery safe? by RORY CLEMENTS and LUCY PARKS, Daily Mail Comments (0) Add to My Stories Laser eye surgery sounds like the answer to the dreams of everyone who wears spectacles or contact lenses. It is quick, painless and, at about £2,000, within the reach of many people. Publicity pictures of Richard Branson throwing his glasses in the bin simply reinforce the idea that this is the operation you have been waiting for. Within a few short years, laser eye surgery has become a mainstream treatment for poor eyesight. A whole host of celebrities, including Cilla Black, Spice Girl Mel B, Nicole Kidman and Brad Pitt, have had the operation. Boots offers the service; so does the private wing of the respected Moorfields Eye Hospital. The vast majority of operations pass off with no ill-effects. But that, sive - about £1,000 per eye - there are advantages. There is little or no pain, recovery is much quicker, both eyes can be done at once and greater degrees of short-sightedness can be treated accurately. However, the cutting of the flap requires skill, and in one to four per cent of cases this can cause problems. The flap can be damaged or even lost; stray particles can get trapped under the flap; there is a minor risk of infection; there is even a small risk of penetration of the eye by the very fine surgical blade used to cut the flap, which could potentially cause blindness. These are rare complications, but it is important that anyone considering the operation should know about them. Of even more concern is the question of who, exactly, is carrying out the operation. All laser eye surgeons are required to be qualified doctors and to be registered with the General Medical Council, who will be able to confirm over the phone that they are registered and also whether they are eye specialists. But the GMC will not be able to tell you what training a surgeon has had with the excimer laser. You will need to find this out for yourself. The big problem is that, other than being a doctor, no specialist qualifications are legally required to carry out laser eye surgery. The Royal College of Ophthalmologists suggests anyone considering the operation should ask their surgeon for details of their training, qualifications, length of practice and results. Ideally, they should be a fellow of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists or the Royal College of Surgeons. But this leaves the ball very much in the patient's court. How, for instance, are they to check on the qualifications of surgeons trained abroad? Mr David Gartry, who performed the first laser eye surgery for short-sightedness in the UK in 1989 and is a consultant ophthalmic surgeon at Moorfields Hospital, London, is one of those concerned by the lack of central registration. 'What we need in the UK is a specific register of Lasik surgeons - surgeons who have been approved and who have been trained and assessed as Lasik surgeons,' he says. 'At the moment that doesn't exist We have had several examples in the past of doctors coming from abroad. For instance, there were a couple of doctors who came from Germany. 'In their own country, they were very junior eye doctors and nowhere near being surgically trained. Yet they came to the UK, linked themselves to clinics and were doing Lasik.' Mr Gartry is also unhappy with the production-line techniques prevalent in many clinics. 'In many cases, you may not meet your surgeon until the operation itself - and never see him or her again for the aftercare. 'It is better to have one consultant with responsibility for the care of the patient. What I think is less successful is to see a series of assistants, to meet the surgeon only on the day of surgery, and then not see him again.

and they may not know on a given day who is going to be doing what.'But. though with some patients it may take up to a year. from a business perspective. 'The difficulty is that many patients just will not know who is going to treat them. that is a much better way of running things. An automated surgical instrument containing a very fine blade is fitted to the suction ring and passes over the eye cutting a thin flap about a quarter of the way into the cornea. may not have the expertise to cope on the rare occasions when things go wrong. the suction ring is then released and your vision will return. it is not available on the National Health Service. 'The difficulty is that many patients just will not know who is going to treat them. The patient should wear clear lens glasses or sunglasses to protect the eyes for two weeks.they are simply employing him or her to do the surgery. They . They might have several visiting eye doctors doing Lasik. There is often some temporary 'overcorrecting'. 'You cannot promise a patient they will have perfect vision. The hinged flap of cornea is then lifted to one side and the laser gets to work. of course.your eye will be washed to remove any particles which may have landed on the exposed surface. but within this time your eyesight should improve rapidly . where it should settle firmly within five minutes. Most people will experience some minor discomfort for 12 hours. patients may well end up seeking repair work at Moorfields. and eyedrops have to be applied several times a day for a week. This takes less than 20 seconds. And it may well be that the individual clinics won't even know until a day or two beforehand. and never see him or her again for the aftercare. that is a much better way of running things. then you may not want to take the risk. When the correct amount of cornea has been removed . If you do opt for Lasik. you may not be able to see.specialised field of corneal grafting. He also agrees that the operation would not suit people in all professions. You will be given eyedrops as a local anaesthetic and a small device called a speculum will keep your lids open. to meet the surgeon only on the day of surgery. and this number is rising. nor is the cost covered by private health schemes. They don't have the surgeon concerned in lengthy consultations . and then not see him again. and there will be a small percentage of patients who will have night vision problems afterwards. carries out Lasik operations in the private wing of Moorfields. 'But. 'If you drive a lorry long distances every night. They don't have the surgeon concerned in lengthy consultations . 'It is better to have one consultant with responsibility for the care of the patient. The vital thing is not to rub your eyes for several weeks. You will hear a clapping sound and may feel a mild tapping on your eye. A suction ring will be placed on the eye to stabilise it. The corneal flap is then gently put back in position. you will be asked to lie on a couch beneath the laser.after about 30 seconds .000 people a year have the operation in the UK. who have taken a training course in Lasik. of course. Last year. who is an expert in the highly.' As laser eye treatment is regarded as elective surgery. from a business perspective. Your surgeon will give you a pair of soft goggles to protect your eyes while sleeping. And it may well be that the individual clinics won't even know until a day or two beforehand.' Another problem highlighted by Mr Gartry is that some surgeons. it is believed that about 15. In these cases. in which short sight becomes long sight. but he admits he thought long and hard before having it done.they are simply employing him or her to do the surgery. he had Lasik for his own short sight.and be adequate for work within four days. or if you are a pilot for an airline. What I think is less successful is to see a series of assistants. Mr Gartry. Although there are no official figures. For the minute or two that this is in place. but this will usually settle down to 'normal' sight within a few weeks.

though with some patients it may take up to a year. 'You cannot promise a patient they will have perfect vision. 'If you drive a lorry long distances every night. This takes less than 20 seconds. For the minute or two that this is in place. and there will be a small percentage of patients who will have night vision problems afterwards. who have taken a training course in Lasik. it is believed that about 15. you will be asked to lie on a couch beneath the laser. The patient should wear clear lens glasses or sunglasses to protect the eyes for two weeks. When the correct amount of cornea has been removed . he had Lasik for his own short sight.might have several visiting eye doctors doing Lasik. Although there are no official figures. it is not available on the National Health Service. You will hear a clapping sound and may feel a mild tapping on your eye. the suction ring is then released and your vision will return.000 people a year have the operation in the UK. Your surgeon will give you a pair of soft goggles to protect your eyes while sleeping. If you do opt for Lasik.after about 30 seconds . but within this time your eyesight should improve rapidly . and this number is rising. in which short sight becomes long sight.your eye will be washed to remove any particles which may have landed on the exposed surface. but he admits he thought long and hard before having it done. He also agrees that the operation would not suit people in all professions.' Another problem highlighted by Mr Gartry is that some surgeons. In these cases. who is an expert in the highly. but this will usually settle down to 'normal' sight within a few weeks.and be adequate for work within four days. The vital thing is not to rub your eyes for several weeks. carries out Lasik operations in the private wing of Moorfields. The hinged flap of cornea is then lifted to one side and the laser gets to work. and they may not know on a given day who is going to be doing what. Mr Gartry. Last year. where it should settle firmly within five minutes. . then you may not want to take the risk. and eyedrops have to be applied several times a day for a week. You will be given eyedrops as a local anaesthetic and a small device called a speculum will keep your lids open. may not have the expertise to cope on the rare occasions when things go wrong. or if you are a pilot for an airline.specialised field of corneal grafting. A suction ring will be placed on the eye to stabilise it. nor is the cost covered by private health schemes. you may not be able to see. There is often some temporary 'overcorrecting'. AN automated surgical instrument containing a very fine blade is fitted to the suction ring and passes over the eye cutting a thin flap about a quarter of the way into the cornea. The corneal flap is then gently put back in position. patients may well end up seeking repair work at Moorfields.' As laser eye treatment is regarded as elective surgery. Most people will experience some minor discomfort for 12 hours.

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