Laser Eye Surgery Ireland | Start Here

Are you thinking of having laser eye surgery. Ireland has highly trained surgical eye specialists as you will see if you read my previous post. So before donating those specs to charity or putting your contact lenses in the bin here are some points to ponder.

There are two main types of laser eye surgery and one is called LASIK and the other is PRK.

Regardless of which kind you are planning it might be wise to consider the following:

  • No lasers are approved for LASIK surgery for people under the age of eighteen.
  • It will not get funded by the public health service. Medical insurance will not usually cover the cost of eye surgery undertaken purely for cosmetic reasons. In life there is an exception to every rule and the exception here is that If you belong to the St Paul's Garda Medical Aid Fund you may well be in luck. Reading on their benefits page I see that it states it excludes "Treatment of a Cosmetic Nature except the correction of accidental disfigurement or significant congenital disfigurement." so may need to verify that they fund this surgery.
  • You may be working for a company or organisation that prohibits refractive procedures. This is more likely if you have a military career or a professional sporting career that involves full body contact.
  • You have refractive instability.
    1. This is possible if you are in your late teens to early twenties. In simple terms it means that if your prescription for your glasses or lenses is still changing and it is best to wait till that has ceased happening before having surgery.

      You are pregnant or breastfeeding.

      You are taking medicine that may prevent healing. The main medicines that will cause this are for diabetes, HIV, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis. If you are taking steroids you may not be accepted.

  • You have extra large pupils. There is a correlation between pupil size and post surgery problems. This is the result of the irregularity between the untouched part of the cornea and the reshaped part. In the day time the pupil is smaller than the LASIK flap and so vision is fine but at night time the pupil may expand and light passing through the edge of the flap into the pupil gives rise to haloes and star burst effects. This situation is permanent. PRK may be the better option in this situation and the better option too if you happen to have very thin corneas.
  • You can equip yourself with knowledge on the training and qualifications of people working in this field of surgery by reading Eye Surgery Ireland? Highly Trained Specialists? and make an informed decision on the qualifications you require of your surgeon. Decisions also need to be made on the place, equipment and the cost of laser eye surgery.
  • Advance Preparation For Your First Consultation.

  • You might find it useful to use's facility known as Rate My Hospital. It applies to public and private hospitals.
  • You might like to check the Hygience Audit 2006/7 for public hospitals here.
  • All laser vision correction surgery reshapes the cornea which is the clear front part of the eye. Once reshaped then light traveling through it is properly focused onto the retina which is located in the back of the eye.

    The main preparation is for contact lense wearers. Stop wearing them completely for four to six weeks if you have hard lenses and three weeks if you use soft ones. As contact lenses effect the shape of your cornea you need to give your eyes plenty of time to back to their natural state prior to surgery. You may want to double check this requirement with your optician and do what they recommend as not taking a break from wearing of contact lenses can greatly effect the accuracy of measurements taken. You want to give yourself the best possible chance of having successful surgery. You don't want to be 'under the doctor' or 'under the hospital' forever do you?

  • Prepare information on your eye history, general health and any medication you are taking.
  • Talk to your doctor. If it goes wrong you may be seeing a lot of him so maybe bring him on board early.
  • The Consultation

  • Establish the qualifications of your surgeon and make a note of their registration number if you have not done this prior to your appointment.
  • The focus of the consultation is the health of your eyes. Expect to have your prescription checked, retinal examination, glaucoma screening and corneal tests. The procedure plus risks and benefits should be explained to you.
  • Expect to be asked questions about your job, sporting and social activities.
  • Expect to meet the person who will perform the surgery and if not immediately available ask if you can see them at a later time or date. If you go to have your hair done and the hairdresser does not see you before your hair is washed the advice is to walk. The same applies here.
  • Ask how often they have performed this surgery.
  • Ask about the support staff such as the ophthalmic technicians. Are they formally trained and how long in post?
  • Ask them about cases that have gone wrong and the why and the what of that.
  • Have they got their insurance up to date. If they have employees, which more likely than not they will, they should have their EL and PL certificate displayed in the premises so check the date and what the insurance covers. EL simply means employers liability and PL means public liability. I expect that surgeons have other insurance cover but at the moment I don't know about it. Think of it this way. If I was going round to do a new roof for your house you would be asking a copy of my insurance certificate and making sure it was up to date. The same applies here. You could enquire as to what the medical cover is if you had a worst cast scenario. In fact why not ask what the worst case scenario is for the type of operation you are having.

  • Do they have a complaints procedure and is it possible to have a copy?

  • Establish the exact model and brand of equipment they have and ascertain that the most up to date will be used on you. Ask when the equipment was last serviced. Find out what room has the best equipment and make sure that is the one you go to on the day. In fact if you are signing a contract why not amend their paperwork with their signed agreement to these details. If you turn up for surgery and the situation is not as agreed you can wave your paperwork about.
  • If your decision to attend a particular place is mainly based on price then keep your wits about you if you are told that you are not suitable for the treatment that was advertised. This is known as the 'switch'. Have your information with you on costs at other clinics and make sure that you are not now agreeing to pay more than you might do at somewhere better equipped. Think "Am I talking to a sales person or am I talking to an eye specialist right this minute?" Yes, they will be very nice and pleasant and may even give you tea but so would I if I wanted to part you from your money.

    About ten years ago, during my lunch hour, I saw a sign outside an opticians with a special offer for contact lenses. I went in and he checked my eyes and told me that my prescription was an 8. It had been 6.5 for many years so I was surprised. Because it was an 8 I now did not qualify for the special offer. I left. My prescription is still 6.5. I was shocked that an optician would do that but maybe he was under the cosh financially.

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