Visit Optilase Athlone for a life-changing experience!

If you find that your eyesight is regressing or that you are simply fed up of wearing glasses or contact lenses, why not choose laser eye surgery at Optilase Athlone.

  Located in the heart of Athlone, Optilase provides friendly and expert advice on laser eye surgery. The business offers in-house finance options and clients can avail of 20% tax relief on the cost of the treatment.

  Optilase Athlone’s optometrist Mairead Clarke talks about the ins and outs of laser eye surgery and why for many the procedure is a life-changing experience.

When did you decide to become an optometrist?

My family were glasses wearers and when I was doing the Leaving Cert I researched the profession and found that it really interested me. I qualified from DIT in 2008 and I worked as an optometrist in Cork before moving over to London for a few years.

  Becoming a laser optometrist gives me great job satisfaction. Seeing clients coming in with glasses, having the surgery carried out, and coming back to us with 20/20 vision is very rewarding.

Is everyone suitable for laser eye surgery?

Not everyone is suitable for surgery; it depends on your prescription whether you are short-sighted, long-sighted, and have astigmatism, for example. We offer a free consultation at Optilase. We will scan the eyes to check the topography of the front of the eye, which allows us to ensure that people are suitable for surgery and if they are eligible, which type of surgery will be the most beneficial. An eye test will also be done during the consultation to make sure the eye prescription is stable.

Is there an age limit for laser eye surgery?

You have to be at least 18-years-old to be considered for laser eye surgery. Normally we treat people up to the age of 65.  

What happens during a consultation?

It is very straightforward and would generally last around an hour. The free consultation starts with an instrument called the Pentacam, which takes 25 images of the front of the eye. This provides us with detailed measurements of the shape and thickness of the part of the eye called the cornea.  

  We would then carry out a regular eye test just to check the vision and the prescription, what you would normally experience when you get your eyes tested with your local optometrist. After this we would inspect the health of the eye. As part of the examination, drops are put into the eyes to dilate the pupils and they can stay dilated for about five to six hours after the appointment so clients will be unable to drive for that time. The drops allow us to check the retina at the back of the eye and make sure everything is healthy before we check the vision again. And of course, we will answer any questions the clients may have about the surgery itself.

How would a client prepare for laser eye surgery?

Before the consultation, we advise our clients to not wear contact lenses three days before the initial consultation. On the day of the surgery, contact lenses should not be worn for a week; this is for soft contact lenses. Gas permeable lenses would need to be out for longer before surgery. No eye make-up should be applied for a couple of days ahead of the surgery and no perfume or aftershave should be worn on the day of the surgery. And people cannot drink coffee on the day of the surgery.

  We also recommend to bring non-prescription sun glasses on the day of the surgery as the eyes may be a little sensitive to light and you will need someone there with you to drive you home as you will be unable to drive.

Can both eyes be treated on the same day?

We normally treat both eyes on the same day unless someone has a preference to do one eye one day and the other eye on another date, we can accommodate that as well.

How long does the surgery take?

It depends on your prescription. On average it will take around seven minutes per eye so you may be in the room for about 15 minutes. However, you will meet with the surgeon on the day and we do a scan with an instrument called the Idesign on the day of surgery. This allows the surgeon to customise the treatment for each individual patient and ensures the best possible results. We say allow at least 2 hours in the clinic. The surgery is performed in our custom-built surgery suite in Dublin but follow up appointments can take place in Optilase’s regional clinics.

Are the results of laser eye surgery permanent?

The laser eye surgery is permanent. The only thing we cannot control is the lens in the eye, which will weaken over time with age so clients may need reading glasses in the future.

Does the surgery hurt?

Anaesthetic drops will numb the eyes. People may find the sensation of the laser on their eye as strange but there is no pain involved. The eyes will be a little light sensitive and a little watery after the procedure.

What aftercare is needed for the eyes after laser eye surgery?

There are two types of laser eye surgery we offer at Optilase. One is called Lasik and is the more popular option. It has been around since the early nineties. The recovery time with Lasik is quick so we would recommend 1-2 days off work just to rest the eyes. But for the first 1-2 weeks after surgery, clients cannot got to the gym, the swimming pool, sauna, or apply eye make-up.

  The second procedure we offer at Optilase is PRK. This has a slightly longer recovery time of 5 days. The results are the same for the two type of surgeries but differ in the preparation of the eye for surgery.  We can advise you at your initial consultation which surgery you are a candidate for based on our measurements.

Will your eyes look different after surgery?

A small percentage of patients may have slight bruising on the white of the eyes following the LASIK procedure, this can take a couple of weeks to clear so we tend to recommend you having the procedure done at least 4 weeks prior to any big social occasions, such as your wedding!

Does Optilase offer a lifetime care guarantee for laser eye surgery?

Yes. Optilase is very confident in its long-term results so we offer a long-term guarantee. On the rare occasion that you notice a change in your vision in two or three years after laser eye surgery and if we find any regression in the eye, we will retreat free of charge.

Are there complications to laser eye surgery?

With every surgery there can be issues but with laser eye surgery the chances are minute. We check the eyes the following day after surgery and we will inspect the eyes again at the one-week mark. Dryness can be issue for some clients after surgery but we will provide artificial tears and we will offer care for the first year after surgery so if any issues do arise we can manage them appropriately.

            Mairead and the team at Optilase thank their customers for their ongoing support and look forward to seeing them over the rest of the year.

  For more information drop into Optilase, 4, Fairview Terrace, Garden Vale, Athlone, call 1890 301 302, email or visit