Laser eye surgery is a medical procedure that’s performed to correct refractive eye conditions like shortsightedness (myopia), long-sightedness (hyperopia), and astigmatism. It involves using lasers to change the shape of the cornea (the clear front surface of the eye) in order to improve vision. Laser eye surgery is an ideal option for people who want to avoid wearing contact lenses or glasses or those who have problems with either.
This surgical operation takes about 10 to I5 minutes to complete and is carried out under local anesthetic, so the patient won’t feel any pain. The two most common techniques used in laser eye surgery are laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis (LASIK surgery) and photorefractive keratectomy (PRK/LASEK).
WHAT DO MYOPIA, HYPEROPIA, AND ASTIGMATISM MEAN?
Myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism are eye problems caused by the inability of the eye to focus light rays on the retina.
The cornea is the dome-shaped outer layer of the eye that helps bend light rays onto the retina so you can see clearly. Hence, our vision starts to become blurry when the cornea is too flat, too steep, or unevenly curved.
- Myopia (shortsightedness) is when a person can see near objects clearly but has difficulty seeing distant objects. It occurs when your eyeball is abnormally long, causing lights rays to focus in front of the retina rather than on it.
- On the contrary, hyperopia (far-sightedness) is a condition in which an individual can see distant objects more clearly than close ones. It happens when light rays are refracted behind the retina due to a shortened eyeball.
- Astigmatism is an eye problem caused by an uneven curvature of the cornea, preventing lights from focusing properly on the retina. This can make both distance and near objects appear blurry.
WHICH PATIENTS CAN HAVE LASER EYE SURGERY?
Anyone between the age of 18 and 45 can undergo laser eye surgery. This surgery can correct mild to moderate cases of shortsightedness (myopia), long-sightedness, and astigmatism. However, patients with severe forms of these conditions may need to consider lens surgery or other procedures.
To be a good candidate for laser eye surgery, you need to have thick and healthy corneas, and your eye prescription must have remained unchanged for up to two years.
WHAT ARE THE RISKS OF LASER EYE SURGERY?
Although laser eye surgery is a safe procedure, it’s not completely risk-free. Flap complications occur in nearly 5 percent of patients who undergo this operation. Fortunately, this can easily be corrected without any vision loss.
Besides, patients may develop a dry eye problem in the months following laser eye surgery and need to be using artificial tear supplements for a very long time. They may also experience halo or glare effects when driving at night, especially in the first few months after the surgery.
PROS OF LASER EYE SURGERY
- It can substantially reduce the use of contact lenses or glasses for those with a refractive eye condition
- Laser eye surgery carries little risk
- The procedure is brief, painless, and does not require hospitalization
- Fast visual recovery
- The optical results can easily be adjusted if necessary
- LASIK laser surgery can be done on one or both eyes in a single session.
CONS OF LASER EYE SURGERY
- Does not permanently cure myopia (long-sightedness) or hyperopia (long-sightedness)
- Laser eye surgery does not eliminate the risk of glaucoma or cataracts in patients with myopia or hyperopia
- It does not stop short or long-sightedness from progressing
- Some patients may still need contact lenses or glasses to perform certain activities even after surgery.
- Vision clarity can reduce if you later develop cataracts or presbyopia (age-related long-sightedness).
- Some short-sighted patients may need follow-up surgery to achieve the desired result.