Laser Eye Surgery in Ireland: A Patient’s Guide

Are you considering undergoing laser eye surgery in Ireland? If you are, you could be joining the many thousands who have benefited from this groundbreaking treatment. Your contact lenses or glasses could well be a thing of the past. But before making your final decision, it is important that you educate yourself with all the relevant information regarding the surgery. The pros and cons of surgery should be carefully considered before opting for a procedure.

Top Tips From Eye Care Experts

Deciding whether or not to go for surgery is a difficult decision and not one that should be taken too lightly. In order to guide you through the process we sought the help of top eye care experts for pre and post-operative advice.

We spoke to Dr. R. Luke Rebenitsch, a refractive surgeon at Northern Lights LASIK in the USA, Thomas Sadler from the eye clinic review site and Melissa Warren from world renowned eye care service providers VSP

Here's what they had to say...

1. Patients should seek a surgeon with experience and specialization in refractive surgery.

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Refractive surgery is a rapidly changing field with new research and new technologies becoming available on a continual basis. Specialization allows for the knowledge necessary to provide the best outcomes for patients.

R. Luke Rebenitsch, MD - Refractive Surgeon                

2. Talk to your surgeon about the best options for you.

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A good surgeon will carry out necessary tests to make sure you get the procedure that best suits your age, lifestyle and current prescription. This will ensure that your surgery has the best visual outcomes and longevity. Make sure that you are comfortable with the suggested procedure and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Thomas Sadler

3. See your optometrist or optician before surgery.

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Be sure to see your regular optometrist or optician before your surgery to help ensure you avoid issues related to your personal eye health history.

Melissa Warren

4. Patients should seek a practice that offers the full scope of refractive surgery.

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Traditionally, refractive surgery was considered to include only corneal refractive surgery such as LASIK or PRK. However, there are now a multitude of new implants that many times provide equal or better visual outcomes. Everyone has eyes that are unique, and the procedure should be based upon each patient's unique case.

R. Luke Rebenitsch, MD - Refractive Surgeon                

5. Don’t make price a deciding factor.

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Everybody’s eyes differ, this may mean spending more money on a procedure than the price quoted in clinic advertising. Reputable surgeons will talk you through the price and let you know exactly what you’re paying for.

Thomas Sadler

6. Be sure to arrange a follow up visit.

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After surgery, follow-up with a visit to your optometrist or optician for post-operative care.

Melissa Warren

7. Patients should seek a practice that invests in the best technologies and equipment.

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Laser refractive surgery continually evolves, and not all technologies can be considered equal. Patients should research a practice to determine that this investment has been made.

R. Luke Rebenitsch, MD - Refractive Surgeon                

8. Do your research.

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Like all surgery it is important to understand the risks, no matter how small. Talking to others who have had laser surgery or reading patient testimonials and reviews can give you a richer understanding of the procedure from a patient’s point of view.

Thomas Sadler

9. Continue with regular comprehensive eye examinations each year to maintain your eye health.

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Regardless of how you choose to correct your vision, healthy eyes are critical for maintaining clear vision long-term. In addition, regular eye exams support your overall health by providing an opportunity for the early detection of chronic diseases.

Melissa Warren

We hope these expert tips will help guide you through your decisions regarding your eye care. Continue reading for more specific information on surgery in Ireland.

Laser Eye Surgery Cost

How much does it cost? Often, this an important question for many potential patients. First of all, laser assisted surgery or LASIK (Laser-Assisted in situ Keratomileusis) surgery can be expensive and is not often considered a necessary procedure, but those who have undergone the surgery have often found it to be worthwhile.

A standard treatment can cost anything between €600 to €800 per eye with more advanced treatments costing as much as €3000 per eye. Due to the costs involved some providers offer eye surgery finance. To qualify for this you will need to be in employment and demonstrate an ability to repay the loan.

Is LASIK surgery cheap? In a word, no. However, following successful surgery, most patients find that they would happily recommend it and feel that their money was very well spent.

Prices do vary and if you do choose to proceed a procedure you are advised to compare surgery prices with at least two providers.

It is also worth noting that occasionally there are deals available here on Groupon.

The Risks

Photo of an eye surgeon taking notes

There is no guarantee that a LASIK procedure will completely repair your vision, but there is likely to be a significant improvement. You might still need a second surgery (called a re-treatment or an enhancement) and to wear glasses or contact lenses for certain activities such as reading or driving.

As with any surgery, there are risks and potential complications involved. There is the possibility of an allergic reaction or infection following surgery. Many patients find that the benefits far outweigh the risks. Be sure to thoroughly discuss all possible scenarios with your regular eye doctor and surgeon before opting for surgery.

This surgery is becoming increasingly popular across the world. With more and more information becoming available to the public, it may be difficult for you to determine on your own whether or not a LASIK procedure is the right choice. That is why the majority of surgeons and specialists offer initial consultations to determine whether or not you are a good candidate. Many places charge for the consultation so be prepared to pay an upfront fee.

Advancements in LASIK technology now mean that post-surgery complications have been reduced greatly. Problems such as halos, glare and difficulty with night vision have now become less common thanks to improvements in both the treatments and equipment used in surgery.

Who Can Have Surgery?

This type of surgery is not for everyone. Before you have surgery, the surgeon or an eye doctor will perform an initial consultation to investigate whether or not you are medically suited to the procedure. It is important to note that contact lenses will alter the shape of your cornea, so you should remove them several weeks before your initial evaluation.

Photo of consultation with eye doctore prior to LASIK surgery in Ireland

Be completely honest with the surgeon about your medical history, whether you have visited an eye clinic before, and your present conditions. If you have ever had cataract surgery, undergone cataract removal or any other eye treatment it is essential you inform your chosen treatment provider. They will need to know about significant eye issues and prescribed and/or over-the-counter medications you are taking. You will also need to provide information about medication allergies.

The surgeon will then perform a thorough eye exam and discuss possible treatment options and alternatives. You will learn about the risks and the benefits of having LASIK surgery, what to expect, and what you should do before and after to ensure that things run smoothly and you heal properly.

You will need to cease use of any makeup, face cream, lotions, or perfumes at least twenty-four hours prior to your scheduled surgery to reduce the risk of infection. It is a day procedure, so you will need to ensure that you have a safe way to get home afterward. It is best to enlist the help of a trusted friend or family member to accompany you since your vision will be temporarily impaired.

Following your consultation you may be informed that you cannot proceed with surgery. If your eyes are still changing shape, or if you have only recently started wearing glasses you may not be suitable for surgery. There is no amount of online research that can tell you if you are suitable for LASIK surgery or not. You must undergo a professional consultation to determine this.

How Long Does LASIK Surgery Last?

The procedure itself is actually quite short, often taking less than thirty minutes to complete. You will be asked to recline in a chair while a numbing drop is placed in your eye. This ensures that you do not feel pain during the procedure. Your surgeon will use what is called a lid speculum to ensure that your eyelid stays open. Once this is done the surgeon can perform the surgery.

Surgical Procedure Explained

After you are given eye drops to numb your eye, the surgeon will use one of two possible devices to create a flap in the cornea. The first possible device is called a mechanical microkeratome, a small blade attached to a suction ring. The suction ring will be placed to the eye, and the incision will be made with the small blade. 

Photo of the laser eye surgery medical team

The second option is a laser keratome. In this case, a small, plastic plate is used to flatten the cornea while the laser is used to create the flap. As with the mechanical microkeratome, you will feel pressure and discomfort but no pain.

No matter the chosen method, once the flap has been created, the doctor will lift it to expose the tissue underneath. When the tissue is dry, he will ask you to stare at a small laser-like light for a minimum of sixty seconds.

The doctor will use a separate laser to remove a predetermined amount of tissue from your cornea. You will be able to see the entire time, but your vision might become more or less blurry as the procedure progresses. You will hear a ticking sound.

The laser will have been programmed through a computer before the surgery to remove the correct amount of tissue. When the process is complete, the cornea flap will be replaced. You will be provided with a shield to protect your eye while the flap heals.

You could experience mild discomfort or pain following the surgery. You will need to be careful not to rub your eye as it can prevent proper healing and potentially cause injury. You may even feel burning or itching, and both eyes might water periodically, this is normal. You are also very likely to be overly sensitive to light for a short period. These symptoms will subside after only a few days. If you injure the eye, your vision worsens, or you experience severe pain, you should contact your doctor immediately.

Surgery Follow Up

Photo of medical follow up following eye surgery

Your surgeon will likely schedule a follow-up appointment for one to two days following surgery, and you will have regular follow-up appointments after that to ensure that you are making appropriate progress and the eye is healing correctly. Your doctor will perform examinations to test your vision and will remove the eye shield when the eye has healed. You will be given eye drops to prevent infection, and it may be suggested that you use artificial tears for a certain period of time to ensure that your eye stays properly lubricated.

You will be asked to avoid strenuous physical activity for a certain period of time following surgery, and you will also be asked to avoid makeup and certain lotions to prevent the risk of infection. Your doctor will give you specific care instructions to ensure the area around your eye stays clean and you do not further irritate it.

If you have mild to moderate vision problems and wear glasses or contact lenses, LASIK surgery may be the right choice for you. It is not generally recommended for patients with more severe issues. In those cases, there are other types of procedures available.

Getting LASIK in Ireland

Photo of eye doctor and patient

​Fortunately, in Ireland you are spoiled for choice for LASIK clinics. There are highly regarded providers of laser eye surgery in Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick, and Waterford. We recommend getting a referral from a friend or family member if possible.

During your initial consultation, be sure to ask your surgeon about their prior experience, their policies regarding follow-up appointments and enhancement surgeries and how you can find reviews from former patients. As with any medical procedure, it is important that you are comfortable and trust your surgeon.

​Now that you are on the right path in getting all the necessary information, it is time to contact a LASIK provider to discover if it is right for you.

​Have you had surgery like this? Would you recommend it? Please let us know about your experience in the comments section below.

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