Harley Street Laser Eye Surgery


Types of laser eye surgery

With over 10,000 laser eye operations expected to take place in the UK this year, the treatment has rapidly gained popularity since its inception in the early 1990s. The main types of laser surgery are LASIK (laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis), designed to correct short-sightedness (myopia), long-sightedness (hyperopia) and astigmatism, PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) and LASEK (laser-assisted sub-epithelial keratectomy), both designed to reduce the patient’s dependency on contact lenses or glasses. It is important to grasp the differences between the treatments before considering an operation.


LASIK is the most common treatment used, accounting for most of all laser eye surgery. In the operation the patient remains awake and is administered anaesthetic eye drops to nullify any pain. The eye is first immobilised and then a thin layer of cornea is cut and lifted, allowing the laser to operate on the exposed eye. Finally, the layer is replaced and allowed to fall back into place by natural suction. The FDA has approved this treatment for any patient aged 18 or over, but some clinics may choose to raise this age limit.


PRK and LASEK are broadly similar techniques. In LASEK a substance such as dilute alcohol is used to create a flap of the cornea which is then temporarily removed during the laser treatment, and then this is replaced and held in position until the eye fully heals. By contrast PRK completely removes this outer layer of the cornea, known as the epithelium, as this tissue will regenerate. This treatment is available to those aged 20 or over.


The processes are not without risks, however. Due to the variability of the human eye, some treatments may over or under-correct a patient’s vision and thus a second procedure will be required. Dry eye is a usual immediate side-effect of surgery but it can persist, causing long-term problems. By removing the epithelium or cutting the cornea, there can be the slightest risk of infection. Healing can also take substantial amounts of time; typically LASIK involves less pain and a more rapid rate of convalescence.

Patient suitability

Typically there are also many other prerequisites for a patient to be treated by laser eye surgery. A surgery usually demands that the individual has healthy eyes, in the sense that they are not infected or decayed; otherwise they must first see an ophthalmologist. In a very few cases irreparable damage has been caused by laser eye surgery, beyond the aid of any other optical treatments. Furthermore this procedure is generally unable to fix certain optical issues, such as presbyopia (the diminished ability of an eye to focus on nearby objects as a result of age) and extreme myopia or hyperopia.

Advantages of Harley Street laser eye treatment

However whilst some laser eye clinics claim to be able to help only around 80% of the population, Harley Street establishments may outdo this. This is due in part to their ability to deal with high prescription eyes and the groundbreaking Laser Blended Vision, which combats presbyopia by adjusting one eye to mostly see clearly at distance and the other to mostly see clearly up close. The brain then compensates and this results in vastly improved sight. The technology to do so results mostly from the ophthalmologists who work in Harley Street laser eye surgeries; unlike the majority they have specialised exclusively in this technique and consequently are able to offer some of the best treatment in the world, personally testing all new technology and measuring it against their exacting standards. It is certainly worth the extra money to ensure that no matter the extremity of the patient’s eye condition, a Harley Street laser surgeon will suggest the best treatment.

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