Our eye is a very delicate organ, it is responsible for one of the most important senses: Vision. If God forbid, anything wrong happens to your eyes, then you are at risk for vision loss whether partially, totally, temporarily or permanently!
That’s why only specialized doctors can diagnose and treat any eye disease. These doctors are known as ophthalmologists.
And like all other diseases, its treatment is either medical or surgical. Many ophthalmologists are eye surgeons as well.
In this article, we will provide you with all the info about types of eye surgery.
We can classify types of eye surgery by disease:
- Cataract surgery
- Corrective surgery
- Glaucoma surgery
- Corneal surgery.
- Retinal surgery
- Squint surgery.
- Oculoplastic surgery
Or we can classify types of eye surgery by area
- Corneal surgery
- Anterior chamber surgery
- Posterior chamber surgery
- Retinal surgery
- Eyelids surgery
To know more about cataract surgery, we have to know more about cataract itself!
What is cataract? Cataract is the opacification of our eye’s lens, making your vision cloudy and blurry and may show as a white curtain. It could be congenital, acquired or most commonly due to aging.
Surgery is the main treatment for cataracts, where the main concept is to remove the opacified lens and replace it with a new clear artificial one.
This could be done traditionally or with the assistance of laser and ultrasounds.
In both surgeries, we numb the eye with eye drops.
Then make tiny incisions close to the corneal edge either by a scalpel or by the help of laser for better healing.
Then we break up the lens by phacoemulsification and then remove it to add the new intraocular lens.
Cataract surgery is one of the most successful eye surgeries, it is safe, efficient and with minimal side effects.
Corrective eye surgery
This is the most common eye surgery, it treats refractive errors aka (nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism). These errors directly affect the quality of your vision, wherein nearsightedness you can see near objects clearly but far objects are blurry and hazy making something as simple as driving a nightmare! While in farsightedness, you can see far objects clearly and sharply but near objects are hazy making reading, for example, a very hard chore!
Unlike eyeglasses and contact lenses, corrective eye surgeries are not temporary solutions! Corrective eye surgery offers permanent correction for these errors. So, you can live your life freely and enjoy it to the max!
The concept behind these surgeries is to correct the refractive error by reshaping the cornea thus altering its refractive power, allowing the light to fall directly on the retina, not in front it or behind it.
At first, your doctor creates a computerized map of your cornea knows which areas to be targeted later in surgery by the Excimer/femtosecond laser.
Traditionally, your doctor will create a flap from the corneal epithelium by a microkeratome, but now it could be created by the help of LASER.
Then depending on the computerized topographic map of the cornea and with the help of Femtosecond LASERS, your doctor will reshape the cornea and alter its power according to the refractive error. And then the corneal flap is repositioned and left to self-heal.
In later technologies, a corneal flap is not required and the LASER can directly reshape the cornea.
Types of corrective eye surgery
- PRK: photorefractive keratectomy
- LASIK: Laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis
- LASEK: Laser-assisted subepithelial keratomileusis
- SMILE: SMall Incision Lenticule Extraction
- Intracorneal ring
- Implantable corneal lenses.
Glaucoma is a common disorder characterized by increased intraocular pressure, which affects the optic nerve and may lead to blindness. Increased intraocular pressure may be due to increased aqueous humor production or its decreased drainage.
Depending on the type of glaucoma (know more here) whether it is acute, chronic or congenital; open-angle or closed-angle, the doctor will choose the best line of treatment.
As glaucoma is a silent vision thief, its best line of treatment is prevention! That’s why regular checkup visits will help you fight off complications of glaucoma before they become an actual problem!
If the medical treatment didn’t help then glaucoma surgery is advised where their main concept is to either decrease the production of aqueous humor by removing the ciliary body that produces it, or by increasing the drainage flow of the aqueous humor with the help of laser or traditionally.
Glaucoma’s surgeries include:
- Drainage implants
- Corneal surgery:
Corneal surgery also includes refractive eye surgery and other surgeries that treat corneal abrasions and scars, Pterygium excision and changing our eye color!
These surgeries include:
- Corneal transplant surgery that replaces the scarred/diseased corneal with a normal donor cornea. The eye surgeon may replace some layers of the cornea or the whole cornea. If an artificial cornea is used then the procedure is called Keratoprosthesis.
- Phototherapeutic keratectomy: aka PTK uses laser to treat corneal diseases like dystrophies, scars, opacities, and bullous keratopathy (it is similar in concept to PRK).
- Pterygium excision: Pterygium is a wing-like membrane that grows from the conjunctiva onto the cornea. Its excision is essential to avoid its complications that include: blepharitis, distorted vision, and eventual vision loss.
- Brightocular is a new breakthrough in eye surgeries as it allows you to change your eye color without wearing contact lenses by either adding an iris implant with the desired color or stripping away the iris pigment which is known as stroma procedure.
The retina is the most important part of our eye globe as it is the tissue responsible for receiving the final image just like the negative film of the camera, and it is directly connected to the optic nerve that sends this image to the brain for processing.
Any disease that affects the retina directly affects our vision and may lead to a decrease in our visual quality, field and eventually blindness.
Retinal diseases most commonly include retinal tear, retinal detachment, and diabetic retinopathy.
Their treatment depends on restoring the function and position of the retina, securing it back to its supportive tissue to prevent more fluid accumulation, more detachment or degeneration.
These surgeries include:
- Pneumatic retinopexy
- Scleral buckle
- Laser photocoagulation.
Squint or strabismus, amblyopia, lazy eyes are all the same disease that affects the appearance and function of the eyes where both eyes don’t align together when they are looking at the same object. In the long run, the affected eye loses its function and the brain stops processing its images.
Strabismus surgery depends on strengthening the weak muscles or weakening the opposing ones.
It is the subspecialty that is concerned with the reconstruction of the eye’s appearance and its accessory tissues and structures.
- Blepharoplasty: it is the repair of eyelids whether it is drooping or doesn’t close properly.
- Tear duct reconstruction: it repairs tear duct obstruction.
- Orbital fracture repair.
- Tumor excision
- Facial rejuvenation: this includes eye lifts, skin resurfacing, brow lifts and excision of xanthelasma.