Corrective eye surgery provides a long term alternative to the use of eyeglasses or contacts. Because of today’s laser technology, patients are finding themselves tossing their eyeglasses or prescription contact lenses and opting for corrective eye surgery.
Corrective eye surgery, put simply is when an eye surgeon uses a laser, reshaping the eye’s surface to improve an individual’s vision.
LASIK and PRK utilize laser energy to alter the cornea to change the way that light rays enter. Individuals can also have artificial lens surgically placed into their eyes. These artificial lenses can help improve a person’s vision by refocusing the way light enters the eye.
Modern innovations have given doctors an unprecedented ability to improve and heal injuries to the eye.
History of Corrective Eye Surgery
The invention of contact lenses seemed crazy for the time of development. Until contact lenses were developed, eyeglasses were the only way for individuals to correct their vision problems.
Corrective eye surgery has seen more improvements in the past 25 years than ever before. At one point, radial keratotomy was the primary surgical procedure for correcting nearsightedness.
Results from the radial keratotomy procedure led to long-term problems for some patients. These issues included regression, changing vision, night vision problems, and glare. These problems occurred at a greater frequency with patients that had the procedure for higher prescription strength. Those with lower prescriptions saw far fewer side effects. This procedure is largely out of practice due to advancements made in laser procedures.
Lasik Eye Surgery
With LASIK, surgeons create a hinged flap in the epithelium and leave it floating with alcohol. Then surgeons utilize a laser to reshape the eye.
EPI-LASIK involves the use of a specialty tool to lift the hinged flap.
Many patients also opt for Bladeless LASIK. Bladeless Lasik allows the surgeon to reshape the eye without the use of a bladed instrument. Instead of cutting the eye with a blade, the surgeon is able to cut the flap using the femtosecond laser. Bladeless Lasik is also known as all-laser LASIK, femto LASIK, and VisuMax.
Finally, there is Wavefront LASIK and PRK. Wavefront uses technology designed to specifically measure how light travels through a patient’s eye. This is done by using excimer lasers with wavefront tech that adjust for minor vision errors as laser energy reshapes the eye’s surface. Medical researchers believe that Wavefront aids patients in maintaining their contrast sensitivity. It also minimizes the risk of nighttime glare.
As mentioned above, surgeons can even insert Implantable Lenses, which act similarly to contact lens. These are considered for individuals with extreme nearsightedness. Visian ICL and Verisyse are two different lenses that have been used to much success in Europe for over fifteen years.
There is also Refractive Lens Exchange. This is a non-laser procedure that occurs inside the eye. It is similar to cataract surgery. In this procedure, your eye’s natural lens is removed and replaced with an artificial lens. This artificial lens works to eliminate farsightedness.
This type of eye surgery may even be used to correct nearsightedness. Unfortunately, Refractive Lens Exchange comes with a set of potentially serious complications. It is only recommended in cases where patients need extreme eye surgery.
Lasik vs PRK
The first successful procedure to remove ablate tissue from the eye was photorefractive keratectomy (PRK). By removing tissue, surgeons can reshape the cornea. This procedure was being performed internationally before finally receiving approval from the Food and Drug Administration in 1995. Although PRK is still common, LASIK is preferred by most patients and surgeons.
This may change. PRK has made a comeback. There are medical studies detailing that LASIK and PRK actually lead to very similar results. Nerve regeneration seems to occur at a faster rate in patients that undergo PRK.
PRK only makes changes to the surface of your eye. With LASIK, the surgeon creates a hinged flap on the surface. This does not occur in PRK. PRK is the preferred procedure for individuals with thin corneas. If your cornea is too thin, LASIK is not recommended. LASIK has seen improvements.
Now, eye surgeons can create thinner flaps so that some people with thin corneas can still undergo LASIK. If you’re someone with a high degree of myopia or a thin cornea, you should consider procedure outside of PRK and LASIK.
LASIK has advantages over PRK. The most significant one is that there are fewer lingering effects post-procedure. Your vision recovers in a matter of hours. Whereas with PRK, it can take days. There are even different types of LASIK eye surgery.
Apart from LASIK and PRK, patients can undergo Conducive Keratoplasty. This procedure utilizes low heat radio waves and a tiny probe to steepen the cornea. This corrects vision for farsighted patients. The probe applies “spots” to the front surface of the eye. Conductive Keratoplasty is also used to help patients with presbyopia. The procedure earned approval from the FDA in 2002.
Which Corrective Eye Surgery is Right for You?
Your eyes change as you age. The type of eye surgery you need may also change with time. An eye surgery procedure that works with younger adults may not be as effective for seniors. In some extreme cases, corrective eye surgery may not even be possible. This applies to most individuals under the age of 18. Children are still developing their eyes as their bodies continue to mature.
Patients with certain medical conditions may also make them ineligible to undergo some of the corrective eye surgery procedures mentioned above.
For example, if you have diabetes, it’s often recommended that you undergo LASEK or PRK instead of LASIK. Individuals with uncontrolled glaucoma will probably not be able to qualify for LASIK.
Those needing corrective eye surgery should wait until after pregnancy to undergo vision surgery. Hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy have a chance of affecting the effectiveness of the corrective surgery.
Additionally, individuals that are considering corrective eye surgery should consider their lifestyle and career. For example, a pilot would require excellent depth perception to make accurate spatial judgments in the air. Your lifestyle is a significant in any kind of eye surgery.
Corrective Eye Surgery for Older Adults
There are alternative options for individuals with severe vision issues that are 40 or older. Monovision utilizes LASIK in an eye surgery procedure that helps with distance vision and presbyopia. Presbyopia affects everyone once they start hitting 40. Unfortunately, not everyone can adjust to Monovision. We suggest wearing contact lens that provides Monovision first to ensure it’ll be effective for you.
People over 40 sometimes require multiple vision corrective solutions to achieve desired results. For example, patients might opt for PRK or LASIK in their 30s to help with distance vision. Then, the same patient may undergo conductive keratoplasty, which is a form of eye surgery that aims at correct vision issues associated with presbyopia.
Remember, most experienced eye surgeons should let you know that any form of corrective eye surgery is unlikely to give you permanent results. You will most likely need an enhancement eye surgery procedure as you mature. The side effects of corrective eye surgery can be mild to severe. Always consult your healthcare provider before making a decision with regards to corrective eye surgery. Every case is treated on an individual basis. Not every procedure will work for every patient.
Talk to the friendly staff at Shreveport Eye Specialists about the best treatment options for your vision problems.