Corrective optic surgery has made enormous strides in recent decades. In the past, spectacles, corrective contact lenses or sadly, blindness were the only outcomes possible under the circumstances. However, modern surgical techniques offer a plethora of solutions, offering the possibility of saving the sight of an ever increasing proportion of the population who are suffering from restricted eyesight.
The first successful form of corrective surgery was radial keratotomy. This procedure involved the cutting of a number of incisions on the eye in an effort to flatten its surface. This procedure was used primarily for correcting short sightedness. Longer term side effects were found among sufferers who complained about a loss of night vision and glaring light in the eye. In more recent years the use of photorefractive keratectomy was used. It involves the removal of tissue from the surface of the eye so as to change the curvature of the cornea. This procedure, known as PRK or surface ablation, is still being used today although not to the extent that LASIK is.
The most common and popular form of corrective eye surgery today is LASIK, or Laser-Assisted In-Situ Keratomileusis. With this procedure the surgeon creates a corneal flap using a laser to reshape the patient’s eye. The flap is then replaced so as to heal the eye. One LASIK procedure involves creating a flap in the epithelium of the eye and it is subsequently swept away in an alcohol based wash, removing it from the eye, thus reshaping the surface. Other surgeons use a dedicated tool to lift the flap of the eye rather than introducing alcohol to the eye. This procedure is called Epi-LASIK. Other experts use a laser rather than a cutting tool when shaping the loose, layer flap for removal. An additional procedure known as Wavefront LASIK, which employs wavefront analysis, is used to detect and adjust for subtle vision errors as the laser process proceeds to correct failures.
These are lenses designed for sufferers undergoing considerable levels of short sightedness. Unlike traditional lenses that are placed on the outside surface of the eye, these lenses are actually implanted in the eye. With implanted lenses there are no issues relating to their removal or maintenance under normal circumstances.
Cataract Surgery with Intraocular Lenses (IOLs)
While not developed to replace corrective lenses, cataract surgery is necessary for removing cataracts that may develop on the eye and hamper vision. Lens implants can improve vision during a cataract surgery procedure. These implanted intraocular lenses actually replace the lenses of the sufferer. Some modern IOLs may be multi-focal which may involve discarding reading glasses on having had a successful implant.