There are today many providers offering vision correction services in the UK – make no mistake about it - competition tends to force each provider to focus develop on their strengths. But what about from the perspective of the prospective patient – what exactly should they be looking for in their provider ?
As a leading provider of bespoke vision correction services in the North of England we do sometimes have to deal with patients who are bewildered by the choices and really dont know what questions they should be asking their provider. So here are a few pointers – ask your surgeon or clinic the following questions and with a bit of luck you should have a better sense of whether their service is right for you or not.
- You should always try and know who is going to be your surgeon. In many clinics – especially in the ‘high street’ chains -you may not even have a chance to meet with your surgeon before the proposed procedure. Wherever possible we would urge you to ensure that you have a consultation with your surgeon. Its imperative that you can work with them and that you are able to place your trust in the individual surgeon. Remember although the care is provided by the clinic, it is the surgeon who delivers that care to you and it goes without saying that the biggest single impact on your outcome will be the one made by your surgeon.
- Not only should you meet with your surgeon but you ought to quiz him/her on their personal experience of the procedure being proposed. For elective surgery such as lens replacement surgery its especially important to ensure the right level of expertise is available to you. Clearly a surgeon performing 50 procedures per year will have a different experience level to someone performing 500 procedures per year – volume of surgery does tend to make a positive difference- so remember to ask the question ‘how many do you do’ ?
- Aside from volume however there is an old saying ‘surgeons who don’t “count” dont’ count’ . What this alludes to is the importance of surgeon individualised audited outcomes. A clinic may have good outcomes – but within a service encompassing several surgeons there may well be some variation with some surgeons performing above average levels and some at below average levels. Ask to see some evidence of individualised surgical outcomes personal to your surgeon.
- Its always worth asking what kind of post operative care is provided and whether its part of a package of care or not. If there is a package of care try to ascertain what the package ‘covers’ and what isn’t covered and for how long afterwards would the cover apply. Its also as well to know who exactly will be delivering the post op care. Many clinics operate high volume surgery lists but the patients would not normally get to have a post op examination with the treating surgeon.
- Ask to see a compilation of recent testimonials from your surgeon. Most reputable surgeons will have many such testimonials available at hand and will have no hesitation in allowing you to look through such an ‘album’.
- Ask about the range of technology they have at their disposal. Lens replacement surgery is a relatively straightforward operation to do – but doing it REALLY well still needs not just a great pair of hands but also state of the art technology.
- Ask about the clinics research interests and their recent academic output. Many high end clinics actively engage in research because underneath it all there should be real passion for constantly striving to do better – thats where research is incredibly helpful for the entire community of eye surgeons
- Try and understand the culture of the clinic that you’re attending. Is it high flow or more personalised ? Is it a professional atmosphere or do you sense an overtly commercial feeling ? Do they really CARE about you and your perspective ? Is the clinic well organised and run smoothly ? One can gain a great deal of sense about the ‘culture’ of the clinic – almost without even defining it – in a sense a ‘gut’ feeling – we’ve seen it many times before in our own service when initially sceptical patients at the end of their consultation look up and say something like ‘this feels like the right place to trust with my eyes’ – its probably worth trusting that feeling !
Hope this is of some help to those of you looking for a vision correction provider.
Mr S Rehman