Laser Eye Surgery
Glasses were a fantastic opportunity for those people with poor sight when first invented as it gave them a chance to see things clearly, whether it was close up like print or distant objects. In recent years, researchers have discovered new surgical methods that will correct eyesight, thus reducing the necessity for wearing glasses.
Most surgery means reshaping the cornea, which is the transparent surface situated in front of the eye. An excimer laser is used for this corrective treatment and typically different techniques are used to correct short sight, which is also referred to as myopia, and long sight which is called hypermetropia. Astigmatism, which is a little less common, but an eye defect that can affect vision can be corrected, too.
If you are seeking to correct your vision through the use of laser treatment you should ensure you get an ophthalmologist who is a member of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists (RCO) and has refractive surgery training which is an additional specialist training.
Common Kinds of Laser Surgery
LASIK is a method that has been used since the 1990s and is the most common treatment in the UK. The majority of refractive errors can be improved with LASIK, but it might not be suitable for correcting serious short sightedness. The process involves the surgeon cutting across the cornea and raising a small flap of that sensitive, thin tissue. The surface that is now exposed is reshaped by using an excimer laser. The flap is then replaced.
Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK)
PRK has been in use from the late 1980s, but LASIK and LASEK have now taken over its role. It is now mainly used for the corrections of minor short sightedness. The cornea is reshaped by the excimer laser without a flap of tissue being cut.
LASEK shares similarities with PRK, but the epithelium, which is the surface layer of the cornea, is kept as a flap. Keeping the epithelium means that complications are prevented and healing is faster.
This technique decreases the natural irregularities in the eye which causes the failure of light rays to focus correctly.
When you visit your optometrist he or she will discuss the different methods available for correcting your vision, including the benefits and drawbacks of refractive surgery, contact lenses and spectacles.
Are There any Risks?
With today’s modern and precise techniques, complications are comparatively rare and occur in less than 5 percent of cases. If you are concerned, check with your specialist before and after undergoing treatment.
Some patients experience problems with dry eyes often lasting for months following surgery. It may be necessary to use artificial tear supplements even in the longer term. Many patients do experience some unusual effects such as halo effects while out driving at night. This is more likely to happen soon after treatment has taken place and is more common if a high level of correction has been made for either short or long sightedness, but is rarely severe.
It is rare but in some cases, a thinning down of the wall of the eye can make the eye’s shape unstable following treatment. Serious vision loss is extremely unusual, but a few patients may require corneal surgery or even hard contact lenses in order to restore their vision.
Before LASIK Surgery
At a pre-surgical eye examination, your ophthalmologist will undertake a full examination which will include an evaluation of your vision, searching for any signs of infections, looking for signs of inflammation, enlarged eye pupils, dry eyes and high eye pressure. Your cornea will be measured which will include the contours, shape and thickness. He or she will also decide which parts of the cornea will require reshaping.
Eye specialists generally use technology which is wave front-guided which evaluates your eye in greater detail. A scanner will create a detailed chart, which has the similarities and details of a large scale topographical map and enables the surgeon to calculate how much corneal tissue needs to be removed.
During and After Surgery
LASIK eye surgery doesn’t take long – usually less than 30 minutes. You will be asked to lie in a reclining chair and, as well as being given a relaxative, numbing drops will be put in your eyes too. The suction ring which is positioned onto your eye before the cutting of the corneal flap could cause a sensation of pressure which may dim your vision slightly.
Now your specialist will use a cutting laser or small blade to cut out a hinged flap from the front of the eye which is about the same size as a contact lens. This flap is folded back so that your doctor can access the area of the cornea that has to be reshaped.
The eye surgeon uses the laser to reshape parts of the cornea. Following this process the flap is then folded back into its correct place and will normally heal without the need for stitches. It, however takes a few months until your eye is completely back to normal and you may be given medication in the form of eye drops following the treatment.
If you are seeking a qualified and experienced eye surgeon in the UK then you will find one listed at anyclinics.co.uk.