Eye surgeries can have positive, long-lasting and dramatic implications on the quality of your life. Imagine having the freedom to see well without the assistance of glasses or contact lenses. Imagine having crisp, clear vision that cataract formation has taken from you.
Your eye health is an important factor in your overall health. You should be getting regular eye check-ups – just as you would visit your regular medical doctor once a year. For children, vision exams should regularly be done as children’s eyes change rapidly during their growth years. Whether you suffer from nearsightedness or farsightedness or any other eye condition, the overall health of your eyes will determine if you are a good candidate for eye surgery.
Eye surgery is generally performed
• To correct vision caused by myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism
• To remove visual obstructions such as cataracts or to repair eyelids that droop due to ptosis
• To reverse discomfort caused by glaucoma
• To replace a missing eye caused by congenital defects, trauma or disease with an orbital implant
Advancements in surgical procedures over the past twenty-five years have made it possible for surgeons to address these conditions with state-of-the-art techniques that ensure successful solutions thus saving vision as well as improving cosmetic appearance. Advancements in biocompatible substances as well as advancements in laser technology have enabled greater safety and successful outcomes for eye surgeries. This level of success has allowed more and more people to achieve better vision with a high level of confidence that their eye surgery procedure will produce their desired outcome.
Types of Eye Surgery
Corrective Eye Surgery
For the past three decades, three surgical procedures have dominated the corrective eye surgery sphere:
• Radial Keratotomy (RK) was a widely used surgical procedure in the 1980s to correct nearsightedness. This procedure changed the eye surface with radial-cut incisions. The long-term results were not successful for some patients, particularly those with high prescription strenths, and also resulted in night vision problems and glare among other issues.
• Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK) was approved for use in the U.S. during the 1990s and was the first procedure to successfully implement lasers to remove eye tissue and is indicated for patients with thin corneal tissue.
• Laser Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis (Lasik or Lasek) is the most popular corrective eye surgery procedure in use today. It achieves more accurate vision through the use of lasers which strategically ablates (or removes) eye tissue in order to adjust the cornea’s focus.
Vision correction may also be achieve through the use of surgically implantable lenses. These are similar to contact lenses but are permanent and are particularly effective for very nearsighted conditions. During this procedure, natural eye lenses are replaced or supplemented with clear lenses with a different shape that correct vision.
Both PRK and Lasik are performed without general anesthesia and take approximately 15 minutes per eye.
More than 50% of adults over 60 years of age will experience cataracts. Cataracts are a condition where the eye’s lens becomes increasingly cloudy over time. This condition is not reversible, but it is treatable with cataract surgery. During the procedure, the cloudy eye lens is removed and a clear, artificial lens is inserted in its place.
There are three principle methods employed in cataract surgery which are
• Phacoemulsification – This procedure dissolves the cloudy cataract with ultrasonic vibrations administered via an inserted probe.
• Extracapsular – Used for very dense eye lenses, this eye surgery involves sutures and an extended recovery time.
• Intracapsular – Not often employed, this surgery entails the removal of the entire eye lens and surrounding capsule.
Glaucoma is an eye condition that causes vision loss. It occurs when there is a build up of pressure in the eye usually when eye fluid does not drain out as quickly as it flows into the eye. While surgery cannot reverse vision loss from glaucoma, it can effect better drainage. Laser glaucoma surgery is used to open up the existing drainage system allowing fluids to flow out better. Conventional surgery can also be used to insert a new drainage canal to facilitate the drainage of more ocular fluid.
Lid Repair Surgery
Used chiefly for cosmetic reasons, lid repair surgery may be employed to fix droopy eyelids but also to repair eyelids that impede functional vision.
Eyes that have been removed because of disease, or congenital defects or trauma require orbital surgery to implant artificial eyes and preserve facial structure. Advancements in the manufacture of artificial eyes have made it possible for bioceramic or silicone implants to look and move naturally.
Is Eye Surgery Right for Me?
Whether or not you are a good candidate for eye surgery will depend on many factors including your lifestyle, your vision goals, your health, your age and the recommendations of your doctor. Knowing that you are in the hands of an expert and talented surgeon and that technology has helped make eye surgery more effective and less risky are key factors in the growth of surgery over the past two decades.