The Development of Corrective Eye Surgery

Before the 1950s, the only way that refractive vision errors were corrected was with the use of eye glasses. Then on the 1950s, the contact lenses was introduced and immediately gained popularity.

Today, with the advanced technology that mankind is enjoying there are now several modern ways that refractive visual impairment is treated. Among the laser eye surgeries are the LASIK, PRK and surgical operations that involves the insertion of artificial eye lenses in order to correct eyesight problems.

How did corrective eye surgery evolve?

In the world of eyesight correction, the methods, tools and procedures used has evolved very rapidly over the last 25 years.

In the 1980s, Radial Keratomy (RK) was a popular operation for those that were nearsighted. This operation involved cutting incisions in the eye so that the eye’s surface may flatten. The Radial Keratomy seemed to be of good effect for some patients who had lower prescriptions. But the operation brought about visual problems in the long run for patients who had higher prescription strengths.
Today, this method is not anymore practiced and had since become obsolete when medical technology such as eye laser surgery came into the picture.

In the same decade, the Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK) became the first successful laser eye procedure. The operation was used to remove tissues that are on the surface of the eye. Its goal was to alter how the cornea curves.

Photorefractive Keratectomy is still widely used by practitioners today. However, LASIK has gained popularity and has clouded PRK. Despite the preference of people for LASIK over PRK, PRK has just recently made a comeback thanks to scholars’ studies that showed that both LASIK and PRK produce the same results.

As mentioned earlier, the LASIK procedure has now gained widespread popularity. This method of eye operation creates thinner flaps.

Another visual procedure is the Conductive Keratoplasty. This method uses low heat radio waves. These radio waves create spots around the front surface of the eye. This method will steepen the cornea, correcting people who are farsighted.

There are other non-laser surgery procedures that are also commonly used by surgeons. Today though, laser technology has eclipsed the other forms of eye surgical procedures.

Knowing the Basics of Eye Surgery

What is eye surgery and when does one need it?

The eyes allow you to see where you are going, marvel at majestic sceneries, read from books and novels and a lot more. Visual impairment can be very burdensome and one could not withstand being bereft of sight if he is born with such gift. When the eyes seem to be not functioning well, one goes to the ophthalmologist to seek for help in restoring back the 20/20 vision. This is where the high end process of eye surgery comes in.

Eye surgery is a surgery performed on one of the most fragile part of one’s body- the eye. It is typically performed by an experienced ophthalmologist. As the eye is a very delicate organ of the body, the surgeon handles the part with extreme care. Before the operation, the doctor performs inspection and readies the patient for the operation. During the operation, the team of medical practitioners ensures that every process is handled well and that every detail is taken care of. Once the operation is done, extreme cautionary measures in taking care of the body organ that has just undergone operation is also relayed by the doctor to his patient. The seasoned eye surgeon is responsible for choosing the method by which the patient’s eye will be operated.

Which eye surgery is best for you?

If you are thinking of undergoing an eye operation and you have researched about the procedure, you probably have encountered of the terms refractive eye surgery or laser surgery. Both the laser surgery and refractive surgery refer to the same eye operation. People often use the terms to mean the same thing. Others even call it laser refractive surgery.

The laser eye surgery has become a very popular method of correcting the vision of people. There are different types of laser surgery and below are some of those which are widely popular:

• LASIK (laser in situ keratomileusis) also wavefront-guided LASIK and Epi-Lasik
• PRK ( photorefractive keratectomy)
• LASEK (laser epithelial keratomileusis)

The boom of high technology has paved way for the emergence of the different types of refractive eye surgery. Problem with visuals can now be readily remedied by any of these types of laser surgery. It is best that you consult your doctor as to which procedure is most suitable for your eyes.

Photorefractive Keratectomy Laser Eye Surgery

The Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK) is a kind of laser eye surgery. The PRK procedure was introduced before the LASIK. The PRK is also used to correct vision problems which include astigmatism, nearsightedness or farsightedness.
Surgeons stress that the PRK is a surface procedure on the eye. With this, there is no risk of complications of surgical flaps. Unlike LASIK, this procedure does not involve creating a thin flap on the surface of the eye. PRK is also the better choice for people that have cornea which are very thin to undergo a LASIK eye surgery.

Who should undergo PRK?

Your surgeon will know best what type of eye surgery you should undergo. The first thing to consider is your corneal tissue. The thickness of a patient’s cornea is a very critical issue. If you require massive eye correction, this would mean more tissue ablation. Your surgeon will judge if you will have enough residual corneal tissue so that the tissue ablation might be operated safely.

Another thing to consider is the condition of the eyes. Are you experiencing eye problems or diseases? This might affect the stability and the ability of the cornea to heal well after the operation. The surgeon will perform a thorough background check on your medical history to ascertain if you had medical history that might hamper a good outcome of the operation.

Another factor that should be considered is the age of the patient. If for example the patient is in the childhood or early teen years, the vision error may not yet stabilize and correcting the refractive eye problem by undergoing PRK may lead to under correction. You will have to wait for a couple of months or years before undergoing the operation.

How to prepare for a PRK surgery?

The surgeon performs initial eye tests to the patient to determine if PRK is the right surgical operation for him. The eye doctor may ask you not to wear contact lenses several weeks or days before the operation and the initial eye tests. This stage is important so that the cornea will be in its natural state when examined and operated by the doctor.

After the surgeon declares that you are to undergo PRK, prepare yourself for the operation and ensure that you have your post-operative medicines ready.

LASIK Eye Surgery

LASIK is a popular laser eye surgery operation that is used to correct the visual errors of people specifically those who are farsighted and nearsighted and those who experience astigmatism. LASIK stands for laser in-situ keratomileusis.

LASIK is one of the many surgical procedures used in order to reshape one’s cornea. As a laser type of surgical method, the LASIK is operated by clearing the frontal part of eye in order for the light that travels through it to be in focus properly by the retina. The retina is situated at the back of the eye.

What are the benefits of LASIK?

LASIK is a proven method of surgical operation that restores the vision of patients. Research estimates that at least 96 percent of patients who undergo the LASIK surgical operation receive back their normal eyesight. The other 4 percent will have their 20/20 vision back after undergoing further enhancement.

LASIK surgical patients testified that the operation involves minimal pain in that there are numbing drops that are used so that the patient will be comfortable during the duration of the operation. One’s vision is immediately restored after the operation or the day after. There are also no stitches and bandages involved in LASIK.

If you had a LASIK operation and if ever your vision changes when you age, adjustments or enhancements can be easily made to get your vision back to normal.
Patients who have undergone the procedure are reported to have reduced dependency on eyeglasses or contact lenses and even most of them did not go back on using these visual tools.

How do you prepare yourself for LASIK surgery?

Before your scheduled eye surgery, you will meet with your eye surgeon. He will discuss with you what will happen during and after the operation. In the meeting, the doctor will go through your medical history. This will be thoroughly evaluated and your eyes will be carefully examined so as to decipher if you are fit to undergo LASIK eye surgery.

Some of the tests that will be conducted are measuring the thickness of your cornea, pupil dilation, corneal mapping and refraction. After this initial test, you will discuss with your surgeon the results and will prepare you for your operation.

Hot Comments on Laser Eye Surgery from Former FDA Agent

After the Food and Drug Administration approved laser eye surgery as an acceptable method of treating eye problems in the 1990s, the procedure has treated millions of individuals with visual concerns. However, a former member of FDA openly commented that the risk and complications associated with the eye surgical procedure have not been given proper attention.

Morris Waxler, one of the team who approved and certified LASIK procedure said that during the deliberation, the side effects were already laid out yet no one in the team paid much attention on the data given to them. According to him, it was his conscience talking when he aired his controversial statements during a public interview. He also said that the reported side effects of people who went through LASIK surgery inspired him to come out and share his comments after he retired from office.

LASIK is conducted by making a small incision on the cornea. A laser would be inserted onto the cornea to have its tissues reshaped. Some of the reported side effects include starbursts, halo and double vision, to name a few. There are also those who complain about night blindness or experiencing dryness of the eyes. These side effects lead to visual impairment and incapacity of the patients to do their daily routines such as driving. According to Waxler, laser eye surgery takes away the freedom of the individual to do the tasks he usually do to live a normal life.

Although the controversial statements of Morris Waxler caused anxiety to those who are considering LASIK for eye treatment, it cannot be discounted that the benefits of the procedure outweighs the benefits one can get out of the medical procedure.

FDA dismissed the comments including the possible side effects of laser eye surgery. Because of FDAs nonchalance on the matter, Waxler said that the agency is lenient to the manufacturers because they have their interest which is to keep their products in the market. Waxler said that he is not pushing for the abolition of laser eye surgery; he just wants FDA to impose more stringent guidelines to ensure safer surgical procedures to the public.

Risks And Downsides Of Laser Eye Surgery

Laser Eye Surgery: The Risks Associated With the Procedure

Based on clinical studies, 85% of those who went through laser eye surgery were able to regain their normal eyesight thereby eliminating the need to wear eyeglasses or contact lenses again. Those who have low grade myopia have high success rates while those with hyperopia or far sightedness together with astigmatism, yield unpredictable results. The success or failure of the operation depends on several factors such as the severity of the eye problem and on the expertise of the surgeon.

The Downside of Laser Eye Surgery

Although the success rate of laser eye surgery is quite high making it one of the latest and safest eye corrective procedures in the medical world today, the risks associated with it cannot be discounted. Like any other surgical procedures that come with potential risks and complications, laser eye surgery is not an exception.

Here are some complications and risks associated with the procedure:

• Drying of the eyes. Most patients complain about having dry eyes immediately after the procedure. Although this can be easily remedied by eye drops and ample amount of time for healing, there are cases wherein plugs need to be attached to the eyes in order to stop the tears from flowing.

• Worsening of visual problems. In some cases, people who went through laser eye surgery lose their eyesight or experiences even worse eye conditions than what they experienced before the corrective procedure.

• Development of new eye problems. There are patients who complain about having additional eye problems after they went through the procedure. Most of the complaints include seeing halo, glare and starbursts. There are also those who get double vision after the eye treatment.

• Infection as a result of flapping. LASIK is conducted by flapping the surface of the cornea. And just like cutting any part of the body, it comes with potential risk of infection especially when not given proper attention after surgery.

These are only some of the noted risks and complications brought about by laser eye surgery. This can be prevented with proper handling of the surgical procedure and also by getting enough information on how to avoid these complications. Discuss the matter with your ophthalmologist for more information.