Eye Surgery Methods For Vision Correction

in Surgery
Having poor vision does not have to mean a lifetime of wearing unattractive eyeglasses or irritating contact lenses. There are various surgical vision correction alternatives to reduce or permanently eliminate dependence on corrective lenses.

Radial keratotomy or RK was started in the 1970s by a group of Russian ophthalmologists to decrease nearsightedness. The procedure involves making micro incisions in the clear front portion of the eye or cornea to flatten it and thus reducing mild to moderate degrees of nearsightedness. Further improvements included the use of extremely sharp diamond blades to make four, eight, 16, or 32 spoke-like micro cuts on the cornea. Radical keratotomy became quite popular in the 1980s. This is seldom used nowadays as it causes more discomfort and entails a longer recovery period than the more popular LASIK method.

Vision correction through laser surgery is the most frequent way to treat refractive errors. The most commonly performed is LASIK surgery, a type of refractive surgery that is aimed to correct myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism. Developed in the 1950s by a Spanish ophthalmologist, the technique was subsequently improved using the excimer laser patented in 1973. With the succeeding improvements in both technique and technology, faster and optimised lasers are now available, allowing millions of people to benefit from the procedure.

LASIK is a safe and painless vision correction technique which only requires a few minutes of operating time. An extremely accurate device is used to create a flap in the cornea. A hinge is left at one end while the flap is folded back to allow room for the excimer laser to reshape the cornea. There is very little discomfort, if any, associated with the procedure. There may be slight sensitivity to bright light and haloes might be seen around lights but this should improve after a few days. Vision is improved almost instantly after surgery.

PRK is a laser alternative for patients with very thin corneas. The eye surgeon removes a layer of the cornea to reshape it with a laser, much in the same manner as LASIK surgery. It may require longer healing time but is equally safe and effective as LASIK. It is a painless procedure and lasts for only a few minutes for each eye.

In contrast to the more superficial laser surgical techniques, intraocular surgery takes place deeper into the eye. An anaesthetic is used to numb the area before incision is done. Surgically implanted lenses can correct moderate to severe cases of nearsightedness. Also called phakic IOLs, these intraocular lenses resemble contact lenses and are placed between the cornea and the iris or just behind the iris of the eye. The implanted lenses are an alternative to LASIK, working just like glasses or contact lenses but embedded in the eye. Typically, surgery is performed one eye at a time, allowing a few weeks before the procedure is done on the other eye. Implantable lenses are often performed in people with severe nearsightedness or with very thin corneas. This is a safe, stable, and predictable way to treat myopia.

LASEK surgery, on the other hand, can be a better option for some patients especially those with thinner than average corneas. In this technique, an ultrathin flap is made on the surface of the eye, unlike the thicker flap done in LASIK. However, this is not commonly done because the eye heals more slowly and there is greater discomfort.

Refractive lens exchange or RLE is used to correct nearsightedness or farsightedness in people with very thin corneas. This procedure is similar to cataracts surgery wherein a small incision is done on the edge of the cornea to remove the natural lens. This is replaced with plastic or silicone lens. It is most especially useful to older patients who may or may not have the cataracts symptoms like cloudy vision, double vision, and difficulty during night driving due to glare from headlights. The natural lens can become cloudy with age and replacing the natural lens means not having to develop cataracts in the future.

With the numerous options for vision correction, living with blurred vision is no excuse. Newer technologies in laser surgery and decreasing costs of procedures makes it possible for more people to live a more comfortable and active life.
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Kathryn Dawson has 1 articles online


Kathryn Dawson writes articles for Clarivu, an alternative to laser eye surgery. Optegra eye hospitals offer a range of premium vision correction operations like intraocular lens surgery, cataracts surgery and refractive lens exchange. With their cataract eye surgery, results are quick and effective.

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Eye Surgery Methods For Vision Correction

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This article was published on 2011/04/08