As a glasses wearer of almost 20 years, I've always been curious about the possibility of getting laser eye surgery.
Like most people who have considered the treatment, I've always had some questions in my mind about what the experience would be like. 'How much does it cost?', 'does it hurt?' and 'will I really be able to ditch the specs forever?' being among them.
To answer these questions and more, I headed off to Optilase on Ely Place for a free consultation. Upon my arrival, I was met with friendly faces at reception who were more than willing to put my mind at ease before I met Laser Optomotetrist Yvonne.
So what actually happens during this free consultation? The main aim of the procedure is to examine the suitability of your eyes for laser eye surgery. Basically if your corneas are more on the thick side, you should be okay to go through with the final procedure but thin corneas may be an obstacle.
There are a number of other factors but during the approximately hour-long consultation process, your optometrist will be happy to answer any questions you have.
If at the end you're deemed suitable then consultation with your laser eye surgeon can be booked.
The surgeon will carry out further eye examinations and give final approval on whether you are eligible and if so what type of surgery is best for you. At Optilase there are two different kinds of laser eye procedure which can be carried out, LASIK and PRK.
Before you begin anaesthetic drops are used to numb the eyes before the procedure, so you don't feel a thing.
Lasik (Laser Assisted In-Situ Keratomileusis)
LASIK is the most frequently performed laser procedure in the world and the most popular at Optilase.
One of the key benefits is the rapid recovery time with generally only one day needed off work to allow your eyes to heal.
Before the procedure begins, anaesthetic drops are applied which numb the patients eyes. A small flap is then created on the surface of the cornea using Intralase technology. The laser is then applied to the underlying surface to reshape the cornea and correct the eyesight.
The whole process takes between six and seven minutes and your vision will be 20/20 before you know it.
PRK (Photorefractive keratectomy)
The surface of the eye is softened using an Ethanol solution and gently brushed aside. The laser is then applied to the underlying surface and the prescription is corrected by reshaping the cornea.
A contact lens is then put in place over the cornea for throughout the recovery period in order to provide comfort and protection as the eyes heal.
After either procedure, a period of aftercare is provided by Optilase with check-ups arranged for the next day and then one week, one month, three months and one year.
The price of laser eye surgery with Optilase starts at €795 per eye with a number of offers which can be availed of. For instance their 'refer a friend' offer means that for every friend you recommend Optilase to, you will receive €100 in cash.
Also, the lifetime care guarantee means that in the event you experience regression, Optilase will cover the cost of any further treatment. For free. For life. Not bad, right?
Having received my free consultation - and finding out that my eyes are healthy enough to undergo laser eye surgery - all my questions about the process have now been answered.
The professional and friendly staff at Optilase provide expert advice and care for their patients and I'll be more than happy to return as soon as possible to undergo laser eye surgery.
Goodbye glasses and contact lenses!