In addition to glasses and contact lenses, currently ophthalmology can eliminate your dependency on them. This text provides further information and guidance on this pioneering method.
What is refractive surgery?
Then term refractive surgery designates a number of short, simple and painless procedures that correct myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism eliminating the patient's dependency on glasses or contact lenses. Currently, procedures are performed with LASER equipment and they are selected based on each patient's special characteristics such as age, refractive error, state of the eye etc.
Function of the eyes
The human eye is a “miracle of nature”. The rays of light pass through the transparent front part, (the cornea), through the crystalline lens that focuses them onto "the screen" located on the anterior part of the eye and is called the retina. There, billions of photoreceptor cells (photosensitive neurons) convert light into electric signals that are transmitted to the brain. However, not all eyes have the same shape. When the shape of the retina, the crystalline lens or the eye itself is not perfect, the rays of light cannot focus exactly onto the retina, “the screen” and therefore the image formed is blurry.
THE MOST IMPORTANT REFRACTIVE ERRORS AND HOW THEY CAN BE CORRECTED
In myopia, the rays of light that come in do not directly focus on the retina. You can see clearly the objects near you but distant objects seem blurry.
People with hyperopia can see better distant objects but find it difficult to see closer objects clearly because the rays of light focus behind the retina.
In that case both distant and near objects seem distorted. This is happening because the retina curvature is uneven throughout the surface and as a result, light focuses on different levels.
Main laser vision correction methods Through the lenses (glasses or contact lenses) the light changes direction and focuses on the retina. However, refractive surgery helps us intervene on the same surface of the retina, changing refractive power of the retina and allowing the light to focus on the right spot. With this method, the vision is restored in a spectacular way and no glasses or contact lenses are needed to enable patients to see clearly. For nearly 25 years, doctors have made incisions on the retina to correct myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism with dubious results. In the early 80s eye surgeons turned to Laser surgery to improve the accuracy forecast of the changes they performed on the retina surface. Laser surgical equipment have evolved with time. Currently, nearly after thirty years of use, the technically advanced Excimer Laser has significantly increased the accuracy and safety of corrective surgery of refractive errors. With this admirable technology, we can change the shape of the retina by eliminating for ever the dependence on corrective glasses or contact lenses.
The PRK method is very effective in correcting low degree myopia A very thin Laser beam, controlled by a computer remodels the surface of the retina. This procedure takes a few minutes, is performed with the use of topical eye drops anesthetic and the correction degree is calculated before the surgical procedure by a cutting edge computer using a special software.
The Lasik method is very effective in correcting medium and high degrees of myopia. It was discovered by Greek doctors in early 2000. Its difference from the previous method lies in the fact that the retina is remodelled inside its wall and not on its surface. This procedure as the previous one takes also a few minutes, involves less pain, is performed using topical eye drops and the results are instant. The degree of correction is also calculated with the assistance of a computer with the use of software. The Lasik method presents some advantages regarding the other methods of correction because it is performed under a protective tissue layer. This way, there is lower inflammation risk and no postoperative clouding and post operative disturbance. Shorter medication and vision is very good, even from the first day after surgery.
The Lasik method may correct a large number of refractive errors. Moreover, it is the refractive method of choice for surgeons all around the world, it is predictable and is considered as the most suitable correction method for all those doing sports. In combination with Wavefront Analyzer ,and Femtolaser it may result in very good vision and satisfy even the most demanding patients. People with relatively complicated corrections or uneven surface of the retina that would like to obtain optimal results, will benefit from this method. Wavefront technology analyses the entire visual system, from the cornea to the retina. The information provided is entered into the computer and is used to determine the correction method to avoid any distorsion of the visual picture and to allow focusing to be perfect.
All the above techniques are very simple and involve practically no risk for the patient's eye.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
May I have this surgery?
Patients who wish to have this surgery should:
- Have completed the 22nd year of their age;
- Not suffer from chronic conditions of the cornea or the retina of the eye;
- Have a myopia, hypertropia or astigmatism degree of 1,00;
- Not have had an unchanged prescription for at least one year;
- In case of female patients, they should not be pregnant or lactating;
- Not suffer from any autoimmune diseases affecting the eye;
How should I begin?
If the above conditions are fullfilled, patients may discuss with your ophthalmologist in order to proceed to the necessary preoperative testing.
What is the preoperative testing?
The preoperative testing is a procedure that will determine whether you are suitable for refractive surgery. It includes a specific number of tests, such as accurate refraction test, fundoscopy, measurement of ophthalmic pressure and some more specialized exams the results of which are entered into the computer and will be taken into account for determining the correction.
Is this surgery painful? Will I feel pain after the surgery?
No! These procedures are completely painless. Discomfort during surgery is minimal since a topical eye drops anesthetic is used. Some patients have the feeling of a foreign object in the eye after surgery and suffer from lacrimation lasting for a few hours only. If you sleep for a few hours after surgery it will help you overcome this feeling and feel less tense.
Are the results permanent?
The results of this surgery are permanent and do not change over time.
How long does the procedure take?
The total surgical time does not exceed 5 minutes for both eyes. The overall time the patient will have to stay at the refractive surgery clinic is approximately one hour.
Have any long term complications been observed?
This surgery has been used for over 20 years and it has been proven that the chances of serious complications are negligible (about 1%). As laser surgical instruments continuously evolve, the complications that occurred in the first years of their application have become increasingly rare. But even in these rare cases, potential complications (clouding or inflammation) can be effectively cured with the appropriate medical treatment. One could argue, thereby, that the chances of contracting a contact lens contamination are higher than the chances of experiencing refractive surgery complications.
How long will it take me to see clearly?
Your vision will be restored immediately after the Lasik surgery and your dependence on glasses will end on the same day. Your vision will be fully restored in 1 month.
How do I choose a refractive surgery centre?
- Despite the fact that Laser equipment is fully controlled by computers, thereby eliminating any chance of human error, ophthalmologists and paramedics operating it need to be very experienced and highly trained. The clinic’s general technical infrastructure and equipment are also of paramount importance.
- The clinic should be equipped with a full series of diagnostic apparatus and state of the art laser devices.
- The clinic’s personnel should be very experienced on this type of surgery and also receive ongoing training regarding developments in the area of refractive surgery. Moreover, they should be able to monitor and take care of patients throughout the procedure.
- The clinic area should be arranged in a way to fulfill all the preconditions for safe operation and to make you feel relaxed and at ease when you are there.
- Every patient is a unique case and should leave the clinic being totally satisfied.
- Remove your contact lenses a few weeks before Laser surgery.
- You are requested to bring any previous glass prescriptions or any other information of your eye health history.
- Use eye drops for 2 days before surgery and clean your eye lids.
- Women should not wear any eye makeup during this period.
- On the day of surgery do not use any perfume, hair gel, hair spray or beauty products because their evaporation may affect the operation of the laser equipment.
- Wear comfortable clothes that make you feel relaxed and cooperative.
- Bring a pair of sunglasses that you will wear when leaving the clinic.
- The overall time you will spend at the clinic on the day of surgery will not exceed one hour.
- It is recommended to be accompanied by another person who will drive you home after surgery.
- Your ophthalmologist will give you a leaflet with more information on how to prepare yourself for surgery.
- During your first preoperative check that will be performed at the clinic, before you leave for home, you will be given eye drops to use. Strictly follow the dosing instructions you will receive.
- A protective lens will be placed onto your eye at the conclusion of your procedure. It will be removed after 4-5 days. No special precautions are needed after Lasik surgery.
- Your ophthalmologist will follow you up after surgery.
- It is preferable to avoid leaving home and going to work for 2 days.
- Do no rub, wash or wear makeup on your eyes until lenses are removed on the 4th or 5th day.
- Driving: You may drive on the 3rd day after surgery.
- Shampooing: You can wash your hair with caution on the next day after surgery (keep your eyes closed).
- Strenuous physical exercise: One or two weeks after the procedure after consulting your ophthalmologist.
- Swimming: You can swim 2 weeks after surgery wearing a swimming mask or 6 weeks after surgery without any protective equipment.
- Avoid using cosmetics in the eye area for at least 10 days after surgery.
- Sweating might cause itching but is not harmful.
- Avoid using substances that might irritate your eyes (e.g. smoke, dust etc). The use of eye drops will sooth your discomfort if you cannot avoid exposure to such substances.
- Do not rub your eyes.
- You might experience redness, photosensitivity, dry eyes and possibly fatigue after hours of reading. These symptoms usually remit after 48 hours and no later than two weeks after surgery.
- Wear sun glasses systematically for the next 2 years and use eye drops for several months after surgery.
Some additional information
- If both eyes are not corrected at the same time, vision becomes difficult and the eyeas are not working well together until both eyes are corrected. Most of the time, both eyes are corrected on the same day to avoid causing the patient discomfort and stress.
- If a follow-up surgery becomes necessary, it is feasible to achieve complete vision correction or improve vision quality. It is a much simpler procedure and is necessary in approximately 2% of cases.
IT TAKES A FEW MINUTES TO CORRECT MYOPIA, HYPEROPIA AND ASTIGMATISM THAT YOU OTHERWISE WOULD HAVE FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE
FIND OUT IF YOU ARE A CANDIDATE FOR THIS METHOD THAT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE BY CONSULTING YOUR OPHTHALMOLOGIST .