Of all our five senses, the sense of sight is considered to be one of the most essential by many. Most people are afraid to not see anything much less not to see the faces of their loved ones anymore. That is why eye doctors have come up with different techniques in treating various eye defects and the latest one being the laser eye surgery.
This technique is also commonly known as refractive surgery although the two are a little different from each other. A refractive surgery is used to treat errors of the refraction in the eye while a laser eye surgery can be used to cure non-refractive condition. Moreover, some refractive surgeries do not require the use of lasers such as the radial keratotomy.
Now, there are two types of laser eye surgery.
One is the photorefractive keratectomy or the PRK. Through gentle scrapes and the use of an excimer laser that is controlled by a computer, this procedure entails the removal of the surface layer of the cornea or the epithelium and reshaping of the stroma. By doing so, it changes the curvature of the cornea and the power of the eye to focus. Patients who undergo this procedure usually go back to their daily routines in three days and the whole healing process completes in about a week. Although some complications like pain, glare, corneal haze, and scarring might occur after the operation.
On the other hand, the laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis or LASIK treatment is done by creating and folding a thin flap in the eye so that the tissue underneath can be remodeled with a laser. For the patients who wear contact lenses, they are advised to refrain from wearing their contacts 5 to 7 days prior the operation.
The LASIK eye surgery is done while the patient is conscious.
Sedatives such as valium or anesthetics are given to the patient to stop them from feeling pain. Although much preferred than PRK treatments because of speedier recovery time and less pain felt for the patient, people who undergo the LASIK treatment still feel complications such as starbursts around light sources during night time, light sensitivity, ghost image or double vision, wrinkles in the flap, and induced astigmatism among others.
More advanced techniques in LASIK have also been developed recently.
Cutting through the outer layer of the cornea or epithelium using a very sharp blade, LASEK, is recommended for those who have vision problems that only need minor corrections. A minimum of two weeks is needed for the treated eye to heal. Another new and advanced technique is the Epi-LASIK treatment. This laser eye surgery removes the outer layer of the cornea using a blunt device instead of a fine blade.
All these treatments reduce or totally eliminate the dependency of the patients to their reading glasses or contact lenses. Although none of them does not come with several complications, these laser eye surgery treatments are definitely big breakthroughs in the field of eye treatments. Not only do they cut the operation time in half, they also turn the patients' lives around in the quickest way possible.