What Is IntraLASIK Eye Surgery?
IntraLASIK eye surgery is considered to be the safest, and most precise laser vision correction procedure available on the market today. As its name suggests, intraLASIK eye surgery is similar to LASIK eye surgery whereby a flap is created on the cornea (the clear surface of the eye) and an excimer laser is used to reshape the cornea to correct refractive errors including myopia (near-sightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), astigmatism and presbyopia (age-related farsightedness).
The only difference between the standard LASIK procedure and the intraLASIK procedure is the method by which the corneal flap is created. In LASIK surgery, a mechanical instrument with a steel blade called a microkeratome is used to cut a small, hinged flap into the cornea. In intraLASIK surgery however, a state-of-the-art femtosecond laser is used to create the flap using computer software instead.
The intraLASIK procedure is superior to the standard LASIK procedure because it produces a flap that is cleaner, thinner, more accurate and more precise in depth. Not only this, but intraLASIK eye surgery can treat a wider range of prescriptions than the standard LASIK surgery, making it a suitable type of vision correction surgery for a greater number of people.
Because intraLASIK surgery uses blade-free technology, it therefore eradicates the possibility of serious complications arising from the use of a blade microkeratome. Fewer patients lose sharpness of vision, and more patients achieve 20:20 vision. This means that both the short- and long-term safety is improved on.
Who Is Eligible For IntraLASIK Eye Surgery?
You will be eligible for intraLASIK eye surgery if the following applies:
- You are at least 18 years old.
- You have had a stable eye prescription for at least a year.
- Your prescription falls within the suitable range. For those who are myopic (near-sighted), this is up to -12.00 diopeters. For those with hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism, this is up to +5.00 diopeters.
- Have a good general health.
- Have thick corneas.
You won’t be eligible for IntraLASIK eye surgery if:
- You have a history of active corneal disease.
- You are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- You have a significant eye disease, such as cataracts or glaucoma.
- You are taking immunosuppressant drugs.
- You suffer from an autoimmune disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
- You have diabetes.
To find out if you are eligible for intraLASIK eye surgery, you will undertake a thorough consultation with an ophthalmologist. During this consultation, the ophthalmologist will gather general information about your eyes and your lifestyle through a series of tests and questions. This can last up to 3 hours. This will help them to determine whether intraLASIK surgery is right for you.
How Much Does It Cost?
The cost comparison table below shows you how much you should expect to pay for intraLASIK eye surgery at some of the best laser eye surgery clinics in the UK. You will find that the cost of IntraLASIK eye surgery typically starts at around £1,495 per eye.
These prices are the very cheapest on offer however, and are usually only quoted to individuals with a very small refractive error. Do not be surprised therefore if your surgery costs more, particularly as many clinics will also recommend that you use wavefront technology to perform your intraLASIK eye surgery which will increase the overall price.
|Clinic||Price Per Eye|
|Advanced Vision Care||From £1995|
|Centre for Sight||From £2575|
|Optical Express||From £1495|
As you can see, the prices vary considerably between clinics. There are a number of factors that can affect the cost of your intraLASIK surgery, including the size and location of the clinic and the experience of the surgeon performing the procedure. To find out more about what can affect the cost of laser eye surgery, visit our eye surgery pricing page.
When choosing a clinic, it is important to check what is included in the advertised price. Some clinics will charge an added fee for necessary services such as aftercare, which will increase the overall cost. Shop around to find the best price for you, but don’t simply opt for the cheapest clinic you can find as this often results in poorer patient care and a less experienced surgeon.
Can I Get IntraLASIK Eye Surgery On Finance?
The majority of clinics in the UK will give you the option of getting intraLASIK eye surgery on finance. This can be beneficial as it gives you the opportunity to spread the cost of the treatment into manageable payments, rather than paying the total cost upfront. Below are an example of the finance options available from some of the UK’s leading eye surgery clinics:
|Clinic||Deposit||Shortest Payback Period||Longest Payback Period|
|Advanced Vision Care||From £500||0% APR x 24 months = from £62.29 per month||Quote on Application|
|Centre for Sight||20% of price per eye||Quote on Application||0% APR x 24 months = from £86 per month|
|Optical Express||From £500||0% APR x 10 months = from £99.50 per month||11.5% APR x 72 months = from £13.21 per month|
|Optimax||From £169.50||0% APR x 10 months = from £152.55 per month||11.5% APR x 36 months = from £50.30 per month|
|Ultralase||From £169.50||0% APR x 10 months = from £152.55 per month||11.5% APR x 36 months = from £50.30 per month|
When choosing a finance plan, there are several factors you should take into account. Most importantly, the fixed interest rate will often increase in accordance with the length of the payback period increasing. This means you will pay back more overall if you spread your payments over a longer period of time. It is also essential that you have enough money to pay for the upfront deposit as you will not be able to schedule the date of your surgery until this is paid.
Before entering into any financial agreement, you must ensure that you understand the terms and conditions. If you are unsure of anything, you should seek advice from the clinic. You must also appreciate that any late or missed payments can affect your credit score and make it difficult for you to enter into financial deals in the future, so make sure you will be able to keep up with the monthly repayments. Don’t select a finance plan with monthly instalments bigger than your budget.
Can I Get IntraLASIK Eye Surgery On The NHS?
Unfortunately, intraLASIK eye surgery is not available on the NHS for those with refractive errors such as myopia and hyperopia, since these conditions can be adequately managed with prescription glasses or contact lenses. According to the NHS, intraLASIK eye surgery is deemed a cosmetic procedure rather than a clinical one, and so does not justify the spending of NHS resources.
The only exception occurs if you have a condition that will lead to blindness if not treated with laser eye surgery, such as diabetic retinopathy. In these rare circumstances you may be able to qualify for NHS funded laser eye surgery. To find out more information, visit our laser eye surgery on the NHS page.
The Advantages Of IntraLASIK Surgery
- Improved safety: Eliminates the most severe microkeratome-related complications, including invasive corneal incisions and button-hole flaps.
- Better vision: Patients achieve statistically better vision when the IntraLase laser is used in the LASIK procedure. In comparison with microkeratome-initiated LASIK, more patients achieved 20/20 vision and those with a preference preferred the post-operative vision of their IntraLase treated eye.
- Highest degree of predictability and precision: Micron-level precision creates significantly more predictable and accurate flap dimensions. This increased precision preserves valuable corneal tissue and improves the outcome of the LASIK treatment.
- Fewer retreatments: The number of laser eye surgery retreatments (or enhancements) is significantly lower for laser-created corneal flaps, enabling the patient to avoid the inconvenience of subsequent surgeries and the associated costs.
- Reduced dry eye symptoms: In several clinical studies, standard tests performed to diagnose dry eye show a significant reduction in symptoms, the largest of which showed patient symptoms were reduced by 72%. This lower occurrence of dry eye symptoms may be due to the uniform and typically thinner flap, creating less disruption of nerves in the cornea.
- Individualized flaps : The laser flap can be tailored to the individual patient’s needs, allowing the surgeon to individualize all steps in the intraLASIK eye surgery procedure.
IntraLASIK laser eye surgery is the most sophisticated and accurate technology for corneal flap creation available today, and has given patients greater confidence in choosing vision correction surgery. The higher degree of assurance and safety, virtually no risk of severe sight-threatening complications, and more predictable outcomes have been shown to increase patient satisfaction in their LASIK experience and outcome.
IntraLASIK Eye Surgery Procedure
- A thorough patient consultation will be carried out. An eye specialist will ask you questions about your eyes and lifestyle, as well as carry out a number of tests on your eyes.
- Your eye specialist will determine your suitability for intraLASIK surgery.
- To help you relax, you might be given a mild oral sedative.
- Your eyes will be numbed with anaesthetic eye drops.
- An eyelid clip will be gently placed on your eyelids to keep them open.
- The surgeon will then use a femtosecond laser to create a corneal flap on both eyes.
- The surgeon will gently lift the flap to expose the underlying tissue.
- You will then be asked to look at a flashing red light whilst a cool beam of light from an excimer laser will be used to reshape the corneal tissue. This will last anywhere from just a few seconds up to a minute.
- The corneal flap will then be gently closed and smoothed back into place.
- You will recover in the chair for 15-20 minutes, while the surgeon checks your vision.
- You will be given anti-inflammatory eye drops to use to prevent infection once you return home.
- It is not unusual for your vision to be blurry for a few hours.
- You will need to get someone to drive you home.
- Avoid the wind or any type of air turbulence, as this will result in your eyes drying out.
Is There Anything I Should Avoid After Surgery?
There are a number of activities you need to avoid once you have had laser eye surgery. This includes:
- Don’t watch TV or read for the first 4 hours after your treatment
- Don’t shower until the next day and make sure your eyes are closed when you do
- Don’t wear mascara for 4 weeks
- Avoid diving for 6 weeks and swimming for 4 weeks
- Avoid heavy exercising for 10 days
- Don’t drive until you are completely comfortable with your vision
IntraLASIK Eye Surgery Complications
IntraLASIK eye surgery is considered one of the safest laser eye treatments in the world. In fact, NASA has even approved the treatment as their choice of vision correction surgery for their astronauts.
As is the case with all types of eye surgery however, there are risks involved. Most are not serious and will clear up on their own within a few months of surgery, but some will require additional treatment. Some risks include:
- Vision loss
- Glare or halos around bright lights, particularly at night
- Double vision
- Dry eyes
- Astigmatism: a minor eye condition that causes blurred or distorted vision, along with headaches and fatigue. This can be treated using prescription glasses or contact lenses.
- Under- or over-correction: a small number of patients report that their refractive error has been under- or over-corrected. This can be treated by a further round of laser eye surgery, but in some cases this is not possible and so prescription glasses or contact lenses will need to be worn.
- Transient Light Sensitivity (TLS): this typically appears 2 to 6 weeks after surgery, and is characterised by a mild to severe sensitivity to light without affecting the patient’s vision. It can easily be treated with a short course of steroids.
If you experience any of these symptoms, you should get in touch with your eye specialist as soon as possible who will be able to investigate the cause of your problems and advise you on whether further treatment is necessary.