For Julie, my best friend, world meant black without her spectacles. The poor myopic girl became the butt of social ridicules because of these thick glasses of hers. At twenty five she used to look like forty years old because of her glasses. Yes, she tried contact lenses once, but she wasn’t comfortable with them and the glasses were the only bridge between her and the world, until the summer of 2000, when she underwent laser eye surgery. Since then everything has changed for her. In her own words surgery brought her freedom; freedom to see the world with her own eyes without any kind of dependence.
Julie is not alone in her experience. There are thousands all across the USA, who are taking to Laser Eye Surgery, the most exciting advancement in ophthalmology. The traditional corrective measures for problematic eye sight involve using spectacles or contact lenses. But in recent years laser surgery seems to replace these traditional devices of correcting eye sight problem.
But what is laser eye surgery?
Laser eye surgery is a surgical procedure intended to correct common vision disorders, referred to as refractive disorders in ophthalmology which include myopia or nearsightedness, hyperopia or farsightedness and also astigmatism or distorted vision.
In this surgery, the laser is aimed at the cornea, which is the outer and clear round structure covering the iris, the colored part of the eye and the pupil. The surgery intends to gently reshape the cornea by changing the thickness of the tissues of cornea. No matter whether you are far sighted or near sighted, the surgery will help your eyes bring the images into proper focus.
Can you opt for different types of laser surgery?
Yes of course you can. Currently there are mainly three types of laser eye surgeries, which you can choose from depending on the type of your eye problem and your budget.
So far LASIK is the most popular type of eye laser surgery that uses the most advanced technological equipment. This is a procedure, which involves carving out of a thin layer of cornea to create a flap. The objective of this procedure is to direct the laser to the tissues lying underneath. The flap which is replaced grows back naturally. And you get an improved vision almost instantly.
The next option is EPIFLAP or LASEK surgery. In this process, the outer layer of cells on the eye is partially removed to expose the cornea. Then laser is applied to flatten or reshape the cornea and the outer cells are pushed back. Just a matter of few days and you get impeccable vision.
The last and oldest option is PRK, which is performed on an outpatient basis with local anaesthesia. In this refractive surgery, laser is applied to remove microscopic amounts of tissue from the outer surface to reshape cornea.
Is it safe?
The laser eye surgery is a surgical procedure, approved by The US Food and Drug Administration. So you can understand there can be no question regarding its safety. But of course there are certain differences of opinion relating to its result, because the procedure is relatively new and long term effects of this surgery are still unknown.
If you are still doubtful, let me share with you a piece of information: according to a certain estimate, more than one million Americans every year undergo laser eye surgery to get rid of their glasses and contact lenses and the number is still increasing. A more valid proof of its growing popularity is the diminishing cost of the procedure.