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If you are considering booking an appointment for laser eye surgery or once you have booked your laser eye surgery appointment, you may want to prepare a list of questions as on the day of the consultation, you may be nervous and forget some of the questions you wanted to ask. Write down any questions that you have in the week leading up to your initial consultation. To help you in the process, below are some questions you may wish to ask and why you need the answers.

To find a clinic and book an appointment, visit the Laser Eye Surgery Clinic Finder.

Are you GMC registered?

The GMC or General Medical Council holds a special list of all the registered ophthalmologists in the UK. People on the list are considered competent enough to be ophthalmologists and as such are ‘registered’ with the GMC. All surgeons in the UK performing this procedure should be registered with the GMC, if they aren’t don’t have laser surgery with them.

How long have you been an Ophthalmologist?

It is important that your ophthalmologist has a lot of experience in the field so that you can get the best possible results. All ophthalmologists performing the procedure should have extensive experience within the NHS and hold the position of consultant or professor.

Are you registered with the Royal College Of Surgeons?

All surgeons practising within the UK must have passed all the exams put forward by the Royal College Of Surgeons. They should hold either a MRCS or FRCS (member or fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons) qualification to show they are capable of performing surgical operations. In addition all doctors and surgeons should hold MBChB or the equivalent, to show they have passed a medical degree.

Are you registered with the Royal College of Ophthalmologists?

This is a specialist college (Royal College of Ophthalmologists) that sets exams to test people who want to become ophthalmologists. The exams make sure that the surgeon is competent in all aspects of ophthalmology and can perform operations on the eye to a high standard.

The surgeon doing your operation should hold at least MBChB MRCS MRCOphth. Many will have FRCS and FRCOphth.

How long have you been performing laser eye surgery?

You should find out the answer to this question, as it is a rough indicator of how much experience your surgeon has. The longer they have been doing it the better. Laser eye surgery was introduced around 1998.

How many laser eye surgery procedures have you done in the last year?

Again you want to know that your surgeon does this operation often so that he/she is good at it and can assure you good results. It is important to note that whilst smaller numbers treated may seem like the surgeon has less experience, it is likely that they just like to do all the procedure and follow up care themselves. If this is the case it is good as it means you will get a high standard of care. Surgeons with unusually high procedure rates e.g. above 250 per month usually don’t get to spend much time with their patients to check up on them. If possible this should be avoided.

Generally you want to aim to get a surgeon who performs the procedure regularly, but still has plenty of time to check up on you following the operation to ensure the results are as good as possible.

What percentage of patients have you treated that now have 6/6 or so called ’20-20’ vision?

This number needs to be as high as possible, as it is an indicator of how well you can expect your vision to be after the procedure, as long as your correction is straight forward.

What percentage of your patients have side effects for the first 2-3 months post surgery?

This may be hard for the surgeons to think about, but again it can indicate what you can expect from the treatment given by this particular surgeon. Ideally this number should be as low as possible. It is likely to never be zero patients as there are always complications in every surgical procedure. The surgeons should let you know that you may experience some mild symptoms that will disappear eventually.

Do you turn away many people?

It is likely that your surgeon will have had people come to him who he feels are unsuitable for treatment. There is no right or wrong answer to this, however it is nice to know that your surgeon knows when to advise people not to have the operation for fear of harming them.

What is the worst case scenario and what can be done to help?

Even though your surgeon may have never had any problems, they should still be able to let you know all the possible risks of the procedure and what the worst possible outcome is. It is important that you know what the surgeon would do to correct the problem if possible and whether this has happened to them before.

Have you ever had any disciplinary action against your medical record?

The answer to this question should be no. If yes, it would suggest their medical or surgical practice had been called into question by other professionals. This would be a reason not to have surgery with that surgeon, depending what the action was for. You would also wish to know whether they had ever been the subject of legal action due to malpractice.

What percentage of your patients require follow up treatment such as enhancement?

As with all surgical procedures, sometimes they don’t go to plan and the results aren’t as good as would have been expected. In the case of laser eye surgery, sometimes the vision after surgery is still not as good as it should be. In this case, you can have enhancement surgery to correct it. You should know roughly the number of people who require this treatment and whether it is included in the follow up care plan.

What tests will you do to evaluate whether I am suitable?

You need to make sure your surgeon has done a full thorough eye exam before you agree to treatment. They should have carefully considered all parts of your eye exam and general health to ensure that you are suitable and can expect good results following the surgery. See Initial eye exam for Laser Eye Surgery.

How long will it take for my eyesight to return to normal?

No two patients are the same, however your surgeon should be able to give you a rough estimate of how long your recovery should take. They should also be able to let you know when you can expect to return to your normal activities.

What is the advantage of wavefront technology?

Your surgeons should be able to explain how the technology works and what the advantages are. They will also let you know whether you will need it or not.

Which laser eye surgery procedure is best for me?

From your eye exams and other information your surgeon should be able to tell you what procedure will give you the best outcomes. You should also ask them to explain to you why this is the best option.

How long will laser eye surgery take?

You surgeon will be able to give you a rough guide as to how long the procedure will take and what will happen after the procedure during your recovery.

What type of laser do you use?

Even though you may not know anything about lasers, your surgeons should be able to explain how they work and why they think the laser they use is the best.

Do you use any other technology to ensure good results?

There are many systems currently available that help the surgeon during the operation. You may wish to know what these are and how they work.

Do you treat both eyes at the same time?

If you are having both eyes operated on, it is a good idea to find out when they will be corrected. Some surgeons do both eyes on the same day, whereas others like to leave a gap between the procedures to let one eye heal first. This is entirely up to the surgeon.

Will you be offering my follow up care?

It is important that the surgeon who treats you does all your follow up care to make sure that you get the best experience possible. As they have performed your procedure, they will know the best care and treatment for you to ensure that you will get the best results. You may also like to know how many times you get to see your surgeon following the surgery.

What is included in the follow-up care after laser eye surgery?

Some companies offer 2 years follow up care in their prices, whereas other offer lifetime aftercare. It is important you find out what is covered in the aftercare plan, such as medications, enhancement treatment and 24 hour access to a surgeon. Generally the more that is included the better, as follow up treatments and consultations can be costly if not included.

The questions above are intended as a rough guide to help you think about what questions you may want to ask. By no means is this a definitive list and you certainly don’t need to ask them all if you don’t want. If possible, sit down with your family and ask them if they have any questions. By combining some of these questions with your own, you will hopefully gain enough information to allow you to make a decision about laser eye surgery.

Read more about choosing a clinic for Laser Eye Surgery


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