Choosing the best laser eye surgeon

How to Find the Best Laser Eye Surgeon: 2024 Complete Guide

Key Takeaways

AspectDescription
Checklist for Finding the Best SurgeonA detailed guide to ensure you choose the right professional for your laser eye surgery.
Enhancement Rate SignificanceUnderstanding how enhancement rate reflects a surgeon’s skill.
Vision Success RatesThe importance of knowing the percentage of patients achieving 20/20 vision and better.
Surgeon ExperienceWhy choosing a surgeon with extensive experience, such as over 5,000 procedures, matters.
Personal InteractionThe value of meeting your surgeon face-to-face and the opportunity to ask questions.

Introduction

When it comes to laser eye surgery, finding the right surgeon is critical to the success of your procedure and the health of your eyes. In this guide, we’ll explore how to find the best laser eye surgeon, ensuring you make an informed decision for this life-changing procedure

Refractive surgery (getting rid of glasses) can be achieved with

  1. Laser eye surgery – three main types; see below

  2. Refractive lens exchange (RLE) – better for patients who need reading glasses using multifocal implants.

  3. Implantable contact lenses (ICL) – better for very high prescriptions

  4. Cataract surgery – the same procedure as refractive lens exchange (RLE) but when the lens has become cloudy, usually with age and traditionally done with basic monofocal lenses.

This guide will look at finding the best doctors for your laser eye surgery treatment. This includes finding the best laser eye surgery clinic and best laser eye surgery company as part of the overall package.

Chapter 1

Choosing the Right Laser Eye Surgeon


I have seen from personal experience how good and less good decisions from a surgeon impact the treatment outcome.

Let’s dive in!

There are three main procedures:

  • LASIK – the most popular laser treatment

  • PRK (also known as LASEK) – better for thin corneas

  • Lenticule Extraction (SMILE, Relex SMILE, SILK, CLEAR)

You may also want laser eye surgery for reading glasses, known as blended vision or monovision. I offer LASIK blended vision routinely, though not all surgeons do.

Your ophthalmic surgeon will discuss and help you choose the right treatment plan.

01

LASIK

The most popular type of laser eye surgery.

PRK laser eye surgery
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02

PRK

Suitable for thinner or weaker corneas.

laser eye surgery
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03

SMILE

A more recent alternative procedure.

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LASIK combines two lasers (a femtosecond laser and an excimer laser). The LASIK procedure is the most popular choice in the UK and worldwide. LASIK can treat all prescriptions, as can PRK.

Relex SMILE, however, can currently only treat short-sight and astigmatism. As such, it cannot treat the need for reading glasses.

All this will be covered during your consultation to ensure you get the right choice.

Your optician may be able to advise as a first port of call, though most may not have much experience with refractive surgery. Ask your optician or optometrist if they partner with or recommend any specific laser eye clinic.

Most ophthalmic surgeons and ophthalmologists have a working relationship with several optometrists.

Checklist for Finding the Best Laser Eye Surgeon

Not all eye surgeons are equally skilled or experienced. Most ophthalmic surgeons performed cataract surgery and very similar lens replacement surgery. However, many have limited exposure to laser eye surgery.

Selecting a top-notch surgeon for your laser eye surgery involves several key considerations.

Knowing what to look for is a great first step.

eye examination skill

Here’s a handy checklist to guide you through the process:

1

Specialisation and expertise: Look for surgeons specialising in laser eye surgery, such as LASIK, PRK (LASEK), or lenticule extraction (SMILE). Most laser eye surgeons offer LASIK and PRK (LASEK), but most do not offer SMILE. Check with procedures your surgeon provides as part of your research.

2

Patient reviews and testimonials: Read reviews and testimonials to gauge patient satisfaction and outcomes. In the UK, visit Trustpilot under Eye Care Clinics.

3

Surgical facility and technology: Consider the quality of the surgical facility and the technology used. Check if the laser has cyclotorsion tracking, which is much better if you have any astigmatism (most people have some), and if the clinic uses a femtosecond laser for the LASIK flap creation instead of the old blade-cut device. Femto lasers are safer, more predictable and with better vision results.

4

Consultation availability: Ensure your eye surgeon offers comprehensive consultations. For more information, visit our consultation page.

5

Qualifications and credentials: Verify the surgeon’s medical qualifications. However, this doesn’t tell you how good a surgeon is. See the reviews and testimonials to understand better how they perform in practice.

Choosing the Right Clinic or Hospital

A surgeon operates from either a clinic or a hospital. Some surgeons own their own centres or clinics, where they are usually the Medical Director. Others are employed by a hospital or other facility, e.g. a university medical centre.

You will want to assess the clinic or hospital as closely as you will your eye surgeon. Every private facility is regulated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). You can access and read their independent assessment reports by visiting the CQC website.

Clinics and hospitals must display their CQC rating in a public part of the facility.

Clinics and Hospitals in the UK

We have a separate guide to cover the clinics and hospitals that offer refractive surgery, including laser eye treatments, lens replacement surgery, cataract surgery and ICL implants.

Click here to read our complete guide to UK laser eye surgery clinics.

This ranges from smaller stand-alone clinics (usually surgeon-owned) to group centres, UK-wide national high-street chains (businesses not owned by doctors, and some hospital-affiliated facilities.

uk laser eye clinics

London has the widest choice of clinics and surgeons, including Moorfields Eye Hospital. London has some very experienced eye surgeons. However, you can certainly access some of the best laser eye surgery specialists at clinics across the UK.

If you want LASIK or another private laser eye surgery procedure at Moorfields Eye Hospital on City Road, please note that it is a collection of individual eye surgeons offering treatments as a private practice. You can access them by contacting Moorfields Eye Hospital directly or visiting the particular surgeon’s website.

Click here to learn more about the best laser eye surgery clinics in the UK and which are rated top in independent reviews.

Chapter 2

Enhancement Rate as an Indicator of Surgical Skill


Let’s dive into the world of enhancements and the ONE ESSENTIAL question you must ask before choosing the right laser eye surgeon for your eyes.

Read on for some invaluable advice!

laser eye surgery enhancnement

The enhancement rate for laser eye surgery, or the need for additional treatment post the initial procedure, is a crucial metric.

This is the percentage of patients the surgeon must return to the laser eye surgery suite to improve their vision. This removes any residual prescription, e.g., astigmatism or short-sight, and enhances your eyesight.

enhancement rate laser eye surgery

If you had LASIK, enhancements are performed either by lifting the flap (you do not need to have the femtosecond laser again for prior LASIK patients; the original flap can usually be lifted) or PRK (LASEK) if many years have passed since your first procedure.

If you had LASEK or PRK as your first procedure, you will have the same again for an enhancement.

Enhancement: A procedure to refine the outcome of a previous vision correction surgery. It may be called re-treatment, re-do, or ‘touch-up’. It’s an additional surgery when the original treatment outcome wasn’t achieved.

Dave Allamby, MD

Your suitability for enhancement surgery to remove any prescription depends on the health of your eye and cornea, any amount of dryness and the thickness of your cornea. Most people will have sufficient tissue unless your original treatment was for a very high prescription.

It is routine that some patients need additional surgery, as the healing in the cornea varies between patients. However, laser surgery has become so precise that it is rare to need further eye surgery for the most common prescriptions.

The published enhancement rate in the medical literature is 1-4% for any common prescription.

For Dave Allamby, MD, it is under 0.5%.

A lower enhancement rate typically indicates higher surgical precision and skill. Good surgeons will have low enhancement rates.

Key Question: What is your enhancement rate for my prescription?

Finding the best laser eye surgeon

For more insights, check our detailed guide on LASIK laser eye surgery.

Importance of Vision Success Rates

A critical measure of a surgeon’s success in performing laser eye surgery is the percentage of patients achieving 20/20 vision or better. This metric provides a clear picture of the potential outcomes and the effectiveness of the surgeon’s techniques.

Any laser eye surgery clinic or doctor should report their success rates. These include:

  • The % of patients who achieved 20/40 vision (the driving standard)

  • The % of patients who achieved 20/20 vision (minimum normal vision)

  • The % of patients who achieved 20/16 vision or better

Chapter 3

Meeting Your Surgeon


You will find out why it’s important and what you gain by meeting your surgeon beforehand.

Let’s meet your surgeon!

meeting your laser eye surgeon

You Must Meet Face-to-Face

Personal interaction with your potential surgeon is invaluable. Meeting face-to-face offers several benefits:

  • Personalised Assessment: The surgeon can provide a tailored evaluation of your specific vision needs.

  • Building Trust: Direct interaction helps build trust and comfort, which is essential for any surgical procedure.

  • Opportunity to Ask Questions: It’s your chance to ask questions or express concerns. See our FAQ section for a list of questions you might consider asking.

Why Face-to-Face Consultations Matter

Face-to-face consultations are not just about getting to know your surgeon. They are integral to the success of your surgery.

Surgeons can better understand your vision correction needs during a consultation and set realistic expectations.

Dave Allamby, MD

This is also an opportunity for you to assess the surgeon’s communication skills and bedside manner, which are as important as their surgical skills.

Experience: A Hallmark of the Best Surgeons

Experience is paramount when it comes to selecting a surgeon. Surgeons who have performed a substantial number of laser eye surgery treatments, ideally over 5,000, have not only honed their technical skills but also possess a deep understanding of various patient needs and complexities.

eye test

Such extensive experience contributes significantly to the precision and safety of the surgery. For more information on the importance of experience in laser eye surgery, visit our About Me page.

Evaluating Surgical Outcomes and Technologies

Beyond the surgeon’s expertise, it’s crucial to consider the surgical outcomes and the technologies they employ. High-quality, modern technology often correlates with better surgical results.

Inquire about the types of lasers and equipment used in procedures like PRK, SMILE, and LASIK. Understanding these aspects can provide deeper insights into the surgeon’s ability to deliver optimal results.

The Role of Aftercare in Surgical Success

Aftercare is essential to any surgical procedure, especially in laser eye surgeries. The best surgeons ensure comprehensive aftercare plans to facilitate a smooth recovery and address any post-operative concerns.

This commitment to patient care post-surgery strongly indicates a surgeon’s dedication to patient outcomes. Learn more about aftercare services on our Implantable Contact Lens page.

Importance of Continuous Learning and Adaptation in Eye Surgery

Top laser eye surgeons stay abreast of the latest advancements in their field. This continuous learning and adaptation to new methods and technologies are critical for providing the best care and outcomes.

Surgeons who actively seek the best technology are often the ones who can offer the most advanced and effective treatments. For insights into the latest treatments, visit our Treatments page.

Chapter 4

Final Thoughts: Making an Informed Choice


Choosing the best laser eye surgeon involves thorough research and consideration of multiple factors, including experience, success rates, technology, and patient care.

Whether you are in London or another part of the UK, you should have access to a local laser eye surgery clinic.

However, you may wish to travel further to find the best laser eye specialist for your eyes.

Read on for some invaluable advice!

find laser eye clinic

By following our comprehensive checklist and understanding the key aspects of a surgeon’s practice, you can make a well-informed decision that ensures the best possible outcome for your vision correction needs.

Some final thoughts and questions:

  • Is it essential to have surgery locally, or are you prepared to travel to find the best eye surgeon?
  • Is price the most important, or is quality the most essential factor?
  • Have you read all the reviews or testimonials on the facility or surgeon you are considering?
  • LASIK and SMILE are more demanding procedures and need more experience than surface laser treatments, such as PRK and LASEK. However, having a skilled surgeon will still contribute to your final vision result.
  • Is a guarantee included?
  • How long are you covered for free enhancement surgery should you need it? Longer is better.

I hope you found this guide useful. I will leave you with a few common questions on choosing the right surgeon for your laser eye treatment.

You can also click these links to find many more FAQs: the top 60 questions about LASIK laser eye surgery and the top 30 questions about LASEK / PRK eye surgery.

choosing a surgeon

Good luck in finding the best laser eye surgeon for your treatment. If you want me to do your surgery, click on the button in the large blue box below.

FAQs on Finding the Best Laser Eye Surgeon

Q1: How important is a surgeon’s experience in laser eye surgery? Experience is crucial. Surgeons with many procedures, typically over 5,000, are generally more skilled and knowledgeable. Their extensive experience can significantly impact the safety and success of your surgery.

Q2: What should I look for regarding the technology a laser eye surgeon uses? Look for surgeons who use advanced, state-of-the-art technology. This often translates to more precise and effective procedures. Modern technologies in laser eye surgery can also offer quicker recovery times and better visual outcomes. Look for automatic cyclotorsion adjustment in the excimer laser if you have astigmatism.

Q3: Why is a low enhancement rate important when choosing a surgeon? A low enhancement rate indicates a surgeon’s ability to achieve the desired vision correction in the first attempt, suggesting higher precision and expertise. Look for an enhancement rate of 1% and lower.

Q4: Is meeting a laser eye surgeon face-to-face before the procedure important? Meeting your surgeon face-to-face allows for a personalized assessment and helps build trust. It’s also an opportunity for you to ask questions and clarify any concerns.

Q5: How does aftercare factor into choosing a laser eye surgeon? Good aftercare is essential for a smooth recovery and addressing any post-operative issues. Surgeons who provide comprehensive aftercare are committed to their patients’ long-term vision health.

Q6: What percentage of patients achieving 20/20 vision is considered good for a laser eye surgeon? High success rates indicate a skilled surgeon, with a large percentage of patients achieving 20/20 vision or better. Dave Allamby, MD, has a 100% success rate for 20/20 vision for all common short-sighted prescriptions. However, individual results can vary based on several factors, including the type of surgery and the patient’s original vision condition.

For more FAQs, visit our comprehensive question guides for LASIK and PRK (LASEK).

Don’t wait! Make your appointment with me today

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