Choosing A Clinic -questions to ask
Laser Eye Surgery has been performed since 1983 and over 17 million procedures have been performed worldwide. There are many new clinics opening in Ireland and it is important to look at the different options available and, in particular, to check the qualifications and experience of the surgeons involved. Key questions you should ask before choosing a clinic:
Does the Consultant Surgeon perform or supervise the initial suitability assessment? Many clinics use optometrists to help determine initial suitability. While many are experienced, it is only qualified surgeons who should determine suitability and who are accountable for outcomes. If patients are not suitable due to an eye condition this ought to be diagnosed and treated appropriately.
Pre-operation Surgical consultation
Is the Consultant available to meet the client before the surgery to explain the procedure and to answer any queries they may have? This should not be performed on the day of surgery as it does not give the patient sufficient time to consider all the options and considerations. The Royal College of Surgeons recommends at least 24 hours before the surgery as a minimum guideline. The consent forms should be read through carefully, all questions answered to the client's satisfaction and signed.
Is the surgeon carrying out the procedure registered as fully qualified and trained?
In Ireland and in the UK, any registered medical doctor can carry out a laser treatment and need not have eye training at all. Laser refractive surgery should only be carried out by Ophthalmic Surgeons who have the appropriate training in this specialist area. The Specialist Register is a register of ophthalmic (eye) surgeons who the Irish Medical council believes are fully trained and have the appropriate level of expertise and experience for the best standard of care.
Are the surgeons available for 24/7 aftercare?
It is important to check that the clinic has surgeon/s in residence and the surgeon is available or has made appropriate arrangements for continuity of care and follow up. The surgeon needs to be available and in the country during the immediate post-operative period in case an emergency develops as is critical that immediate examination and treatment is available. Eye infections after surgery, whilst rare, are a vision threatening emergency.
Are audits available?
Good clinics and surgeons should be able to provide you with audited results of procedures carried out. All surgeons keep a detailed audit of their surgical outcomes which are verifiable and comparable. Most surgeons would expect that greater than 95% of their treatments result in a visual result greater than driving vision standard
Does the clinic offer other eye treatments?
There are many alternative treatments for vision correction including intra-ocular lens implants, cataract surgery and contact lens. These options need to be discussed fully with the patient.
Check the pricing structure carefully
Prices advertised often look too good to be true. It is important to check what procedure is on offer and for what price. For example, clients should not be charged a higher rate for different prescriptions as there is no appreciable cost difference to treat one prescription versus another.
At LaserVision, the answer is YES to all of these questions -and our pricing structure is clear.