Intralase Wavefront LASIK surgery
IntraLASIK eye surgery is the most successful type of laser treatment available for the correction of common refractive errors, including short- and long-sightedness.
Unlike other types of laser treatment, intraLASIK eye surgery uses blade-free technology making it safer, faster and more effective at eliminating vision defects.
Prices for intraLASIK eye surgery start at around £1,200 per eye, but most well-known clinics offer finance packages to help you to pay for the surgery.
What is IntraLASIK Eye Surgery?
IntraLASIK eye surgery is a state-of-the-art laser treatment for the correction of myopia (short-sightedness), hyperopia (long-sightedness) and astigmatism. As its name suggests, it is a variation of the traditional LASIK procedure.
During LASIK eye surgery, a small flap is created on the cornea (the transparent ‘window’ at the front of the eye’) using a hand-held blade known as a microkeratome. This flap is then peeled back to expose the corneal tissue below, which is then reshaped using an excimer laser to correct your vision.
IntraLASIK surgery involves the same process, but with a small difference – the corneal flap is not created using a blade. Instead, a second computer-controlled laser is used to cut the flap. This removes the risk of blade-related complications from occurring, while producing a flap that is cleaner, more accurate and more precise.
Using this blade-free technique, surgeons are able to achieve exceptional results - more people achieve 20:20 vision or better through intraLASIK surgery than with any other type of laser treatment.
Am I Eligible?
IntraLASIK eye surgery can correct myopia (short-sightedness) and hyperopia (long-sightedness), as well as astigmatism. There are a number of additional requirements that must be met however, to make you eligible for the procedure. These include:
- Age: you must be at least 18 years old to have intraLASIK eye surgery. Some clinics even require patients to be over the age of 21. This is because your prescription can change in young adulthood, making laser eye surgery ineffective.
- Prescription: you must have had a stable prescription for least 12 months before, and this prescription must fit within certain parameters. Short-sighted individuals require a prescription no lower than -12.00 diopters, and long-sighted patients typically must have a prescription no more than +5.00 diopters.
- Corneal thickness: you must have thick corneas – at least 500-600 microns – in order to tolerate the use of the lasers during surgery without them causing damage to your eye. The thickness of your corneas will be determined by an ophthalmologist during your consultation.
- Ocular health: you must have a good ocular health to undergo intraLASIK eye surgery. Those with an eye disease or infection will not be able to have the treatment.
- General Health: you must be in good health. Anyone with an autoimmune disease or taking immunosuppressant drugs will not be eligible for the surgery, since this can affect the healing process. Women who are breastfeeding or pregnant will also be denied treatment. You should wait at least 6 months after you finish breastfeeding before having intraLASIK surgery.
What are the Benefits of IntraLASIK Eye Surgery?
The benefits of having intraLASIK eye surgery include:
- Quality of results: intraLASIK surgery has the highest success rate of all laser treatments. It provides patients with the highest chance of achieving perfect vision because of the precise blade-free laser technology it uses.
- Safety: it is the safest laser treatment on the market. The risk of complications arising such as dry eyes and infection are almost completely eradicated due to the flap being created by a laser.
- Recovery time: patients recover faster from intraLASIK surgery than other types of laser treatment. This means that you can return to work and resume everyday activities much quicker. The healing time is faster because removing the use of a hand-held blade from the process allows surgeons to creater much cleaner and more accurate corneal flaps.
- Longer lasting: there is a small chance that a patient will need to have laser eye surgery again in the future to correct deteriorations in eyesight, but intraLASIK surgery tends to leave eyesight consistently improved longer than other types of laser correction procedures.
Suitable for Laser Eye Surgery? Click your age below to find out!
IntraLASIK eye surgery takes approximately 15 to 20 minutes to complete on each eye. The surgery is carried out on an outpatient basis, meaning that you can leave the clinic soon after the treatment is completed. Below is a step-by-step guide explaining what happens during the procedure:
- You will attend a consultation with an optometrist or ophthalmologist who will determine your eligibility for intraLASIK surgery. They will carry out a series of tests that analyse your eye health, as well as ask you some questions about your lifestyle.
- You will be given numbing anaesthetic eye drops, as well as antibiotic drops to help prevent infection. You may also be given a mild oral sedative to calm your nerves and help you to relax during the surgery.
- Your eyes will be clipped open to prevent you from blinking. A femtosecond laser will then be used to make a flap on your cornea. It does this by creating thousands of tiny bubbles at a precise location and depth on the cornea.
- Once the flap is created, the surgeon will gently peel it back and ask the patient to watch a blinking light. Whilst doing so, a second excimer laser will be directed onto the eye to reshape the corneal tissue below. This will take no longer than one minute to complete.
- The flap will then be positioned back in place, and will re-attach to the cornea without the need for stitches. More antibiotic eye drops will then be applied to prevent infection. Once complete, the patient will be invited to spend twenty minutes in a recovery room.
- You will be invited to spend twenty minutes in a recovery room, before being discharged with aftercare instructions. It is vitally important that these are adhered to.
- You will not be able to drive immediately after surgery, so you will need to find alternative transport to get home – preferably a lift from a friend or family member, or a taxi.
The recovery time from IntraLASIK surgery varies from person to person, with some taking longer to heal than others. As a general rule of thumb however, those who were short-sighted tend to heal within 24 hours, whereas patients who were long-sighted can take around 1 week to heal. Vision can take up to 6 months to fully improve, however.
Once a patient is discharged from the clinic, any kind of visual stimulation should be avoided for at least four hours. That means avoiding reading, and any kind of screen-based electrical appliances such as a television, computer, tablet or smartphone.
You will be given a protective eye shield to wear over your eye in the first few days after surgery, which you will also need to wear at nights. This is to allow your eye to heal and prevent you from touching or rubbing it. You will also be instructed to apply eye drops every day for the first few weeks after surgery to prevent infection and to keep your eye lubricated.
You will be invited back to the clinic for a follow-up appointment in the week after surgery. This is to allow the surgeon to monitor your eye’s condition, and check for any abnormalities or inflammation that could occur as a result of the procedure.
During the recovery period, there are some activities that you should avoid in order to allow your eyes to heal properly. These include:
- Showering – 24 to 48 hours
- Light exercise – 1 week
- Heavy exercise – 2 weeks
- Contact sport – 4 weeks
- Eye make-up – 4 weeks
- Swimming – 4 to 6 weeks
Are There Any Risks?
Any surgical procedure comes with risk but because intraLASIK eye surgery uses blade-free technology, the possibility of serious complications arising is significantly reduced. It is in fact the safest laser treatment on the market, and has even been approved by NASA for use on its astronauts. Be aware that most patients do experience some minor side effects from the intraLASIK procedure however, but these are only temporary. Side effects include:
- Blurred or hazy vision
- Sensitivity to light
- Sore and red eyes
- Halos around bright lights
There are some more serious complications that can result from intraLASIK surgery, but these are extremely rare. They should be explained to you by your surgeon during your consultation. Serious complications include:
- Corneal distortion: this is caused by the corneal flap not healing properly. If it occurs, patients often have to wear glasses or contact lenses to see clearly. In extreme cases, a corneal transplant may be required to repair the cornea.
- Infection: this can often be treated with a course of antibiotics. However if severe infection occurs, it may lead to permanent damage to the eye and some vision loss that will need to be corrected with a second course of laser surgery.
- Keratoconus: this is a degenerative disease which causes the cornea to bulge outwards in an abnormal cone shape. This results in blurred and distorted vision. Keratoconus can be treated using both non-surgical and surgical techniques, depending on its severity.
If you are experiencing any side effects following surgery, you should contact your surgeon. They will be able to carry out a thorough examination of your eyes to determine whether further treatment is required.
IntraLASIK Eye Surgery Cost
You will find that intraLASIK eye surgery costs more than the traditional LASIK procedure due to the improved precision, accuracy and safety of the procedure. You should expect to pay anything upward of £1,000 per eye for the surgery.
Bear in mind that some clinics will only quote the price of basic LASIK eye surgery on their website and offer intraLASIK at an additional cost. Some clinics will also combine intraLASIK eye surgery with wavefront technology, a state-of-the-art software that creates a 3D image of your eye, which can drive up the cost further.
Below we have provided a guide price of intraLASIK eye surgery at some of the UK’s most well-known eye clinics:
|Clinic||Starting Price (Per Eye)|
|Centre for Sight||£2,300|
|London Vision Clinic||£2,500|
|Moorfields Eye Hospital||£2,000|
We recommend that youcompare prices from several different clinics to find the best price for your budget. Be aware however, that the price you are quoted may not include things such as aftercare and consultation fees. This can drive up the overall cost of your surgery to a figure significantly more than you were originally anticipating. You should check with your clinic what the payment includes.
Financial Options for IntraLASIK Eye Surgery
IntraLASIK eye surgery is a significant investment. Paying for the treatment in one lump sum may not be possible for some people, so most well-known clinics offer finance options to their customers to help to make the surgery more affordable by spreading its cost over an extended period of time.
Finance options for intraLASIK eye surgery involve paying an initial deposit (often 10% of the price of surgery per eye), followed by small monthly payments at a fixed sum. Payments can be spread over 10 months up to 72 months.
The table below provides you with an overview of some of the finance options offered by leading eye surgery clinics in the UK:
|Centre for Sight||£515||0% APR x 24 months = £86 per month|
|London Vision Clinic||No Deposit||0%APR x 24 months = £270.84 per month|
0% APR x 12 months = £134.62 per month
0% APR x 24 months = £67.31 per month
0% APR x 10 months = £69.50 per month
11.5% APR x 36 months = £22.74 per month
11.5% APR x 48 months = £17.94 per month
11.5% APR x 72 months =b£13.21 per month
0% APR x 10 months = £152.55 per month
11.5% APR x 36 months = £50.30 per month
0% APR x 10 months = £152.55 per month
11.5% APR x 36 months = £50.30 per month
Bear in mind that the longer the payback period, the more likely interest will be charged on your monthly payments, driving up the overall cost of your surgery. If possible, opt for short finance deals with a 0% APR to keep costs down.
Be vigilant when entering into a financial agreement by always reading the small print. This will provide you with vital information about a finance provider’s policy towards things such as late or missed payments.
Is it Available on the NHS?
IntraLASIK eye surgery is not available on the NHS to anyone who wants to correct refractive errors such as short-sightedness or long-sightedness. This is because these eye conditions can be successfully treated without the need for laser eye surgery by using glasses or contact lenses. Spending NHS resources on laser eye surgery is therefore considered a waste of money.
There are exceptions to this rule, however. IntraLASIK laser eye surgery will be made available on the NHS for individuals living with a degenerative eye disease who are at risk of losing their sight, or for those who will experience a significant improvement to their quality of life if they undergo the procedure. If you believe you might qualify, you should visit your GP who will be able to refer you to a specialist on the NHS. They can then place you on the waiting list for the procedure.