- 1 First, let’s discuss who may need corrective eye surgery?
- 2 Who are the candidates for corrective eye surgery?
- 3 What are the main types of corrective eye surgery?
- 4 What are the differences between the types of corrective eye surgery?
- 5 Side effects of corrective eye surgery
- 6 Magrabi’s advice
When your vision is blurry, and you are bored of wearing eyeglasses or maybe, contact lenses have caused you the worst case of pink eye, then corrective eye surgery is your only go-to solution!
You have heard about LASIK, PRK, SMILE and more and don’t know what are they, or how do they work, or which is the best option for you. Well then let’s start reading this article together because we will cover everything concerning types of corrective eye surgery.
First, let’s discuss who may need corrective eye surgery?
Normally, our corneal power, our eye globe size, and our intraocular lens are aligned perfectly to let the images fall directly on the retina, so we can see it clearly.
Some people are born with smaller eye globes, so near images fall behind the retina and appear blurry (farsightedness), while others have larger eye globes, so the far-distanced objects’ images fall in front of the retina, and this object appears blurry most of the time (nearsightedness). While others have an irregular cornea that causes most images to appear blurry and out of focus (astigmatism).
Nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism are known as refractive errors.
In nearsightedness, you can see near objects clearly but far objects are unclear, hazy and blurry making a simple task like driving very difficult.
While in farsightedness, you can see far objects well but near objects are blurry making reading, for example, a very tiresome task.
In astigmatism, you may suffer seeing at all distances and all tasks are tedious.
Usually, you wear eyeglasses to overcome this error, and those who find wearing eyeglasses troublesome and not that appealing they may resort to contact lenses.
But even contact lenses are not the best option for everyone as they have many disadvantages and drawbacks like needing special care, causing pink eye, and others (find out more here).
So, when you are tired of eyeglasses and contact lenses comes corrective eye surgery for the rescue!
Now let’s know what does corrective eye surgery does?
Since you can’t change the size of your eye globe and changing your intraocular lens power is only necessary for severe errors so, the main concept behind most types of corrective eye surgeries is to alter the corneal refractive power. This takes place by reshaping the cornea, to either become more curved or more flattened or fixing its irregularities to treat farsightedness, nearsightedness, and astigmatism respectively.
Corrective eye surgery depends on the surgeon’s experience and the technology of the LASER used to reshape the cornea with minimal side effects and with the best visual results.
Who are the candidates for corrective eye surgery?
Only your eye surgeon can say if you are fit for surgery or not, and which type of corrective eye surgery suits you the most. But most candidates should check off the following criteria:
- Your age is older than 18 years and younger than 45 years for farsightedness or nearsightedness
- You are older than 21 years for treating astigmatism.
- Most importantly having stable eyesight for at least one year.
- If the severity of myopia (nearsightedness) is between -0.5 to 14.00 diopters (unit of measurement of lens power), and that for astigmatism is less than 5.00 diopters, while hyperopia (farsightedness) of more than +6.00 diopters is inoperable.
- Your eye health should be free of any diseases including, keratoconus, keratitis, other corneal problems, cataract and/or glaucoma.
- No medical problems like autoimmune diseases, diabetes, immunodeficiency or if you are on certain medications like retinoids.
- Any surgeries should be avoided during pregnancy and lactation.
What are the main types of corrective eye surgery?
- PRK (photorefractive keratectomy): is the first FDA approved laser vision correction procedure that was used to ablate corneal tissue directly changing the curvature of the cornea.
- LASIK (laser in-situ keratomileusis): this is the most common corrective eye surgery in the last 2 decades. It depends on creating a corneal flap using a microkeratome (a specific surgical tool) then with the help of Femtosecond laser, your eye surgeon will ablate the corneal tissue till it reaches the desired shape.
- LASEK (laser epithelial keratomileusis): this procedure depends on creating an ultra-thin flap in the epithelium of the cornea and then the cornea is reshaped.
- Femto LASIK: in this procedure instead of using a microkeratome like in traditional LASIK, your eye surgeon will use a femtosecond laser to create the corneal flap eliminating the risk of many side effects and complications of traditional Lasik.
- SMILE ((SMall Incision Lenticule Extraction): SMILE is a state of the art bladeless and flapless corrective eye surgery that depends on a single step procedure, where your eye surgeon will use a computer-guided laser beam to cut a tiny keyhole incision in your cornea and will remove this lenticule to reshape your cornea and treat nearsightedness. Its advantages include safety, stronger precision, a better visual outcome with more comfort.
What are the differences between the types of corrective eye surgery?
The main differences between the latest corrective eye surgeries depend on the following:
- Does it include a blade or not?
- Does it create a corneal flap or not?
- And the size of the corneal tissue removed?
All these questions mean a difference in the outcome of the surgery concerning, pain, dry eye symptoms, healing time and most crucial the expected visual acuity.
For example. In LASIK procedure your doctor uses a blade (microkeratome) to create a flap that is 20mm in circumference. While in PRK, no flap is created and the circumference of the corneal tissue removed is almost 8mm in diameter. But in SMILE there is no blade, no flap and only a 3 mm keyhole incision are required to reshape the cornea.
The smaller the incision and the ablated tissue circumference the better the comfort and the visual outcome.
Side effects of corrective eye surgery
Although most corrective eye surgery types are safe and painless, they share some side effects and complications that are rare in some procedures and more common in others. These side effects include:
- Dry eye symptoms.
- Excessive tearing
- Poor healing of the corneal flap.
- Infection and inflammation
- Pink eye
- Deterioration of vision
If you follow your doctor’s instructions thoroughly and use the prescribed eye drops and avoid eye rubbing in the first few days of surgery, you will not suffer any of these symptoms. But in case you suffer any of them, inform your doctor immediately and he/she will advise you accordingly.
Only your ophthalmologist has the best knowledge and experience to choose the best corrective surgery for your eyes. According to your refractive error, its severity, your corneal tissue thickness, your general health, and your daily activities, he/she will choose what is best for you. Visit an experienced eye surgeon in a specialized center to ensure the best outcomes with minimal side effects. At Magrabi, we are proud to have a state-of-the-art unit for all types of corrective eye surgery that operates with the help of a group of highly experienced doctors and staff.