The past few decades have seen rapid advances in surgical procedures and techniques ranging from cosmetic surgery to implantation surgery. Not to mention the vast improvement in eye surgery. With all the information about surgical procedures it is easy to get confused about the right eye surgery if you are planning to go under the knife.
Computer technology has transformed eye surgical procedures and is being used on a large scale in recent years. Laser eye surgery has increased in popularity, while non-laser procedures have also been improved. Many people have only heard about LASIK as a refractive surgery. However, there are many various types of eye surgery to correct vision.
For laser eye surgery procedures, the surgeon uses a laser beam for reshaping the cornea and improving the eye's ability to focus. There are many different types of laser eye surgery, such as PRK, LASIK, Intralense or LASEK.
Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis (LASIK)
This laser eye surgery procedure is used for treating astigmatism, nearsightedness and farsightedness. The procedure involves cutting a flap from the outer and middle layers of the cornea and then the use of an excimer laser to reshape tissue under this flap. The duration for this procedure is about one minute per eye.
Laser Epithelial Keratomileusis (LASEK)
In LASEK surgery, the process is pretty much the same, except that the flap is cut through the outer corneal layer (epithelium). It is used mostly for patients with thin corneas, for whom a LASIK procedure is deemed to be more risky. This type of eye surgery can have some side effects, such as a slightly longer healing period with more discomfort.
his type of eye surgery is also very similar to LASIK, except that the surgeon uses an extra laser instead of a blade to create the flap in the outer layers.
Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK)
PRK is used to treat mild to moderate farsightedness, nearsightedness and astigmatism. The outer layer of the cornea is reshaped in order to correct vision. The surgeon doesn't cut any flap in the cornea. The surgery generally lasts less than a minute.
There are also non-laser surgical procedures being performed. These surgical procedures involve improving vision by cutting into the surface of the eye, reshaping the cornea or using low heat radio waves. Astigmatic keratotomy incisions, intraocular lenses and implantable contact lenses are among the most common non-laser eye surgery procedures.
Astigmatic Keratotomy Incisions
This procedure is used for correcting mild astigmatism. Bulgy areas of the cornea are corrected with incisions using a blade. This procedure is often performed in conjunction with other eye surgery procedures. However, it is now used less frequently than laser eye surgery.
Implantable Contact Lenses
Implantation lenses are used to treat serious farsightedness and nearsightedness. The lens is inserted behind the iris, in front of the eye's natural lens. Unlike normal contact lenses, you cannot feel them and they don't need maintenance. This type of eye surgery usually takes 6 to 20 minutes.
Intraocular Lenses (IOLs)
This procedure has been used for many decades now and the lenses are usually implanted in the eye during a cataract surgery for replacing the natural lens. Years ago, intraocular lenses were only used for distance vision and glasses were still required for close vision. However, there have been vast improvements in the procedure and it now corrects close and intermediate vision as well.
While many surgeons always choose laser procedures and the most advanced technologies, some still advise a few patients with specific eye conditions to have a non-laser surgery instead. All eye surgeries have possible side effects and involve certain risks, so you should consult a physician to explain you the advantages and disadvantages of each procedure.
How do these corrective laser eye surgery procedures improve ones' quality of life? A survey conducted by The Eye Surgery Education Council (ESEC), the public education arm of the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS) revealed the following benefits
This survey was conducted among approximately 3 million Americans who had undergone the corrective laser eye surgery since 1995.
The most noteworthy finding that emerged from this surgery was the fact that a significant number felt that after undergoing corrective laser eye surgery they began a new lease on life.
Recovery from laser eye surgery recovery is both simple and often quick. One of the big benefits to laser eye surgery is that you can continue with your normal life almost immediately. A highly qualified surgeon and the latest surgical techniques can result in an amazingly fast recovery.
Typically laser eye surgery takes just 10-15 minutes using special laser equipment. Some vision correction surgery cuts through the sensitive tissues of the eye, with others such as LASIK surgery this is not the case with. Because the damage is contained and minimal the recovery time is also very short.
Most people recover from laser eye surgery within two days. Even so, usually an additional 2 days of rest are recommended for full recovery. Some people will need to wear a special eye shields during the initial recovery period and any rubbing of the eyes is to be avoided.
After laser eye surgery several common side effects such as blurry vision, halos, glare, poor night vision and reduced clarity may be experienced. These problems all fade over time and usually within 3-6 weeks disappear completely. In some cases follow up surgery could be necessary. Typically all post operative side effects are gone within 6 months. If a problem continues beyond this time it's quite possible that the problem will be permanent.
Most people will find the recovery from laser eye surgery to be both quick and trouble free as long as the instructions of the doctor are followed. It is extremely important to have proper eye care after LASIK surgery. While some complications may occur these should not be a major concern and in most cases they will go away in time. Recovery from laser eye surgery is short, but the benefits will last a lifetime.
People experience a constant change in vision throughout adolescence and sometimes well until the mid to late 20s. The refraction stabilizes typically around the age of 18. For myopic people, the benchmark is somewhere between the mid to late 20s. Undergoing laser surgery before that age is nothing but a futile attempt to achieve enhanced visual acuity, since the patient will nevertheless require another surgery when the prescription stabilizes.
There is no upper age limit for laser surgery. Even a 50 or 60 year old person may opt for laser surgery. The point is that laser surgery can very well correct the refractive error of a myopic patient at any stage of the patient's life, provided the patient's eyes are otherwise healthy. Laser surgery will impart clear distant vision to any person irrespective of the age. However, age related deterioration of the vision may still occur. For instance, almost every person suffers from presbyopia (or short arm syndrome) beyond the age of 40. Presbyopia entails the loss of accommodation power of the lens. Hence, people typically require reading glasses after the age of 40.
Laser eye surgery has become increasingly affordable and has gained immense. With so many benefits and so many options, those meeting the criteria and those that qualify for the surgery are enjoying dramatic results. However it is always wise to consult with your eye specialist to determine whether eye surgery will be beneficial for you. It is also important for you to feel comfortable about undergoing the procedure. Only then should you consider treatment.