Published: 05/16/2016 - Updated: 03/01/2017
Author: MSc. Miriam Reyes
Did you know that there are currently hundreds of people who are choosing to correct their vision with outpatient surgery that lasts less than 10 minutes per eye? It is a refractive process using ocular microsurgery precision, which men and women over the age of 18 can undergo with the result of improving their vision. In other cases, it is simply to leave behind the constraints of wearing glasses or contact lenses.
A painless processTo carry out the refractive microsurgery procedure, a laser beam coupled with a computerised system that uses invisible ultraviolet light is used to reshape the cornea of the eye, specifically the round, arched, transparent part.
To begin the microsurgery, anaesthetic eye drops which numb the surface of the eye are applied, so no sensitivity or pain is felt. The eye is then moistened and a suction ring is put in place to prevent movement during the microsurgery. In this way, the cornea is properly stabilised for the laser to do its job.
No points are made and a transparent patch is placed to protect the membrane on the first day post-operation. Best of all is that within a few hours of surgery the patient can already see, though vision may be slightly blurred; however, in less than 48 hours vision will be up to 90 percent recovered.
Subsequently, the post-operation treatment is a simple ocular antibiotic which is prescribed for about a week. The specialist may also recommend, if deemed necessary, the use of artificial tears for a few weeks.
What problems can this surgery correct?
Refractive Surgery is a set of surgical techniques used to treat refractive vision errors such as myopia, astigmatism or hyperopia, which affects people of all ages. These refractive errors cause the image which the eye is looking at to be perceived abnormally, such as blurred vision.
You should know that generally the image enters the eye through the cornea and then the lens, eventually reaching the retina. This process is known as refraction. The retina is responsible for transmitting the image to the brain via the optic nerve.
Candidates for surgery
– Anyone over 18 years old who is not pregnant or breastfeeding.
– You must not be taking Accutane or oral prednisone medication.
– You must be in a good state of health.
– It is not recommended for patients with diabetes, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis or eye infections.
– To be eligible for this surgery, you must also pass some tests which will be performed by a specialist eye doctor.
Thorough eye exam
Some previous steps which should be performed by a specialist before deciding on surgery as an option:
– Dilation of the pupils to refine the prescription of the eyes.
– General examination of the eyes to make sure they are healthy.
– Test for glaucoma.
– Examination of the retina using special light sources.
– Measurement of the curvature of the cornea and pupil.
– Topography of the eye to check for irregular astigmatism.
– Measurement of the cornea’s thickness.
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Refractive surgery can improve imperfections of the cornea, eye lens or eyeball, such as:
- Myopia: The term used for those who can only see close objects clearly.
- Hyperopia: The term used for those who can only see distant objects clearly and distinctively.
- Astigmatism: This defect is when images are blurred, both near and far.
Risks of refractive microsurgery
Without wishing to alarm you, it should be noted that not all patients are suitable candidates for refractive microsurgery. There are some risks for which the patient must assume responsibility, however they have a very low probability of occurring. The ideal situation would be to clarify any and all doubts and concerns with your doctor, so you can make an informed decision. Some complications or side-effects which can develop as a result of refractive microsurgery are:
- Inflation or malfunction of the laser device, which can cause blindness or irreversible eye damage.
- Decreased vision.
- Trouble in night vision.
- Decreased contrast sensitivity.
- Serious eye dryness.
To avoid these side-effects, you must seek out a specialist and only have this procedure done at a specialised optical medical centre.
Other information to take into account
- If you are considering having refractive microsurgery done, you are advised to not wear contact lenses during the initial testing period because they can change the shape of the cornea and affect the results of measures taken during the preoperative examinations.
- It is advisable not to wear make-up on the eyes to prevent infection for at least one week after the operation.
- The scar healing period is usually quite fast, but it is recommended to take two days off for recovery after the operation.
- You must avoid rough sports at least four weeks after surgery.
- You may feel discomfort in your eyes for a few hours after the procedure is carried out.
- You should not rub your eyes – If you are experiencing discomfort, your doctor will prescribe painkillers.
- For two weeks after the procedure, you should not go swimming or submerge your head under water.
- If you do not meet the conditions required for refractive surgery, do not lose hope because there are other alternatives, such as the surgical implantation of an intra-ocular lens.
Revised by: Dra. Loredana Lunadei on 03/01/2017
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