Laser Eye Surgery at Optilase with Doug Howlett

06 Jun 2012

A conversation with Doug Howlett

Laser eye surgery was first introduced in the 1970s and is now one of the most advanced and commonly performed surgeries worldwide with over 30 million people worldwide opting for this life changing procedure. Did you know that Tiger Woods, Courtney Cox and Brad Pitt have all had laser eye surgery, and closer to home, Munster Rugby star and ex All Black player, Doug Howlett had laser eye surgery at Optilase in Cork last summer.


Doug Howlett commented:


“I really can’t believe how this has changed my life, it was easily one of the best decisions I have ever made. I woke up the next day to a whole new world and was back at light training the following week - I just wish I had done it sooner!”


Optilase was one of the first independent clinics in the country and has state-of-the-art clinics in Cork, Dublin, Waterford, Belfast and Derry, and more recently a clinic in Galway, Longford and Athlone. Their experienced team of surgeons has carried out over 40,000 laser eye surgery procedures, and are leaders in their field, in Ireland, Europe and Worldwide.


The Cork team is comprised of resident Con­sultant Ophthalmic Surgeon, Dr Conall Hurley from Cork; Laser Optometrists Marie O’Keeffe FAOI and Dan O’Brien FAOI; Clinic Manager, Louise Carty also from Cork, along with a dedicated medical team.


We spoke to Doug Howlett about his experience to find out more!


1. Why did you choose to have laser eye surgery?


After years of battling with glasses, losing lenses on the side of the pitch or having one poked out during an important match, I thought it was high time I did something about it! I knew lots of people who had laser eye surgery at Optilase and they all described how straight forward and painless the procedure actually is, and how much it can change your life.


2. Why did you choose Optilase for laser eye surgery?


A friend actually suggested and recommended Optilase. I already knew they had an excellent reputation and track record. As a professional sportsman in particular, I wanted the best possible treatment available. I went for a consultation and was so impressed with Optilase and surgeon, Dr Conall Hurley; I knew I was in the safest and best possible hands.


3. Was it painful?


Of course I was slightly apprehensive on the day of surgery but the team really made me feel at ease. I had incredible confidence in my Surgeon, Mr Hurley, and I was right. The procedure is actually as painless as they say! Sure, it’s a bit uncomfortable which is to be expected but it takes just a few minutes per eye. From the very next day, at my post-op consult, I was starting to see clearly, without the help of glasses or lenses. It took just a few weeks for vision to fully settle down, to a level an incredible “better than 20:20”! I attended each of my follow up appointments, one day, one week, one month, three months and six months after surgery, which was standard, just to check progress, which was nothing short of perfectly straight forward.


4. What difference has laser eye surgery made to your life?


Laser eye surgery has completely changed my life! I can’t believe the difference it has made. I just wish I hadn’t waited so long! I definitely have one less thing to think about on the rugby pitch!


5. Would you recommend laser eye surgery at Optilase?


I’d recommend Optilase to everyone. In fact, Denis Hurley had laser eye surgery at Optilase just a couple of weeks ago! The team at Optilase are world class, my main advice is just don’t wait!


To arrange a free consultation or for further information phone: +353 1 223 8821 or email or visit:

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Patient Reviews

Thelma Scanlon
September 23, 2023

Great experience and great after care. Had 2020 vision within 24 hours with very minimal pain.

Amanda Mulligan
September 23, 2023

Amazing experience , amazing staff, amazing eye sight . I had lens replacement 3 months ago and would highly recommend.

Mr. O’Flynn Education
September 23, 2023

I got my laser eye surgery done on April 20th and couldn’t be happier. I had one hard day of recovery, followed by dry eyes for a small while. Sleeping with the protective goggles is the hardest part, but you’re helped throughout the process by experts. I couldn’t recommend this enough and Optilase were a dream to deal with. Even if you can’t afford the treatment now, you can always talk about a payment plan and get the vision you’ve always wanted.

Holli Burgon
September 18, 2023

I could not rate high enough, consultation was extremely informative and the staff were amazing, very friendly and answered all my questions with ease.

Roisin Byrne
September 15, 2023

I had a wonderful experience in Optilase in Ely Place, the staff were so kind and helpful and made me feel really comfortable. Would absolutely recommend

PAULA Moriarty
September 7, 2023

Couldn't rate Optilase high enough. I had Lens Replacement Surgery. My experience from the first phone call to the procedure itself and the aftercare was fantastic. All of the staff from the call centre to the staff in Carrickmines and the theatre were so helpful and friendly. Would definitely recommend .

September 5, 2023

I had my PRK done on both eyes , and im happy with the result. The post operation pain was extreme but it settled down after 4 days. Now i feel great after 2 weeks post operation no complications what so ever , other than blurry vision now and then, but its improving every day

Rebekah Lowry
August 25, 2023

Got LASIK in Ely Place only yesterday and officially had 20/20 vision just 24 hours later! Cannot recommend Optilase enough from my initial consultation with Aisling in Athlone to my trips to Carrickmines and Ely Place. The staff really look after you from the moment you walk in the door and make you feel so at ease from start to finish - 10 out of 10 experience!

Kate Oto
August 21, 2023

I highly recommend this place, reliable information and care, full professionalism.

Lisa Simcox
August 21, 2023

LASIK was so easy and pain free. It’s one week post surgery and my eye sight is wonderful. I couldn’t recommend enough.

Declan Wynne
August 21, 2023

I no longer need glasses,absolutely life changing.Great aftercare,lovely staff.

Poliana Oliveira
August 9, 2023

I have been wearing glasses for over 20 years. I always hated wearing contact lenses and I got to a time in my life that I needed a change. A friend recommended optilase, I went for the free consultation and the person that did all the exams was really nice and I felt safe and confident enough to go ahead, I was recommended the PRK. I Put on a piece of paper how much I spent and would still spend on glasses for the next 10 years, and the surgery was for sure cheaper than that. My prescription was very high, both eyes, myopia and astigmatism Optilase provided all the information I needed, in clear manner. And they always made clear that there was nothing wrong with my eyes, it was my own choice to go for the surgery. The day of the surgery I was a bit nervous, who wouldn't? But then, from the reception to the surgeon, they were all so nice and welcoming. Hernandez performed the procedure, lovely surgeon, again all information was provided the way it should. I was instructed in what I should and should not do. The actual procedure took less than 15min, I felt nothing, no discomfort or anything. The whole process is very well done by the team, if I remember well around 3 people supporting the surgery plus one other girl providing pos surgery instructions. Right after the procedure I could already see much better than before without glasses! I couldn't believe it, I cried, thanked everyone and left the clinic knowing that I made the best choice. The recovery for PRK is a bit longer, I stayed for 2 full days no phones, or any screens. In the dark. If you have a little one, I would recommend to have someone minding them, as you are very limited in what you can do for the day of and day after surgery. It is hard to open the eyes, the second day after surgery was the toughest, I thought all went wrong as the vision got worst, but again I was advised it could happen. Note that this was my experience and could be different for other people. The 3rd day I felt nothing and could see much better already. Light sensitivity was very high, and still, 6 days after surgery, but nothing that a sun glasses would not help. My vision still blurred, but I need no glasses to see, my eyes feel dry sometimes, but the eye drops provided helps with it and and am very happy with the results already, even knowing it takes a bit longer to fully recover the vision. I'm back to work (screen at 200% to make sure I dont force my eyes too much) and I have had no headaches or anything, which I would have all the time looking at screens for most of my day. I cannot recommend Optilase enough, they are amazing! If you want to do something for your self and want a place you can trust, go for it, choose Optilase. Thanks to the whole team for one of the best things I did for my self!

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