Laser surgery is being used predominantly for correcting eye problems and has helped millions get permanent freedom from glasses and contact lenses. The invention of Radial Keratotomy in 1973 revolutionized laser treatment for eyes. The surgery lasts approximately 10 minutes per eye on an average and the patient recovery is painless and quick. The surgery has revolutionized the field of ophthalmology and with technologies improving continuously, the laser surgical procedures are getting very precise and easy. As with any surgery, this one also has risks associated with it and one should consult an eye surgeon and learn of all the possibilities to determine if it is right for them. Laser eye treatment also known as Excimer laser surgery, is very effective in treating common eye problems such as long sightedness, short sightedness, and astigmatism.
PRK is a vision correction laser eye treatment in which modifications are made in the cornea to correct vision errors. This type of laser eye treatment brings fast improvements in the patient and the percentage of correction is very high. Instead of making cuts in the cornea, the surgeon uses excimer laser for sculpting a diameter of five to nine mms on eye surface due to which only five to ten percent of skin of cornea is removed in moderate to mild myopia and maximum 30 percent is removed in case of extreme myopia. The primary advantage of this type of laser surgery is that the corneal dome strength remains undisturbed as the 193nm excimer laser wavelength skillfully rectifies the vision error by removing microscopic corneal cell layer. The treatment is almost painless and is used for treating hyperopia, astigmatism and myopia.
This is the most important part of the surgery- to make sure you can have the surgery. If one gets laser eye surgery when it is not required, it can result in many complications and risks that might be harmful in the long run. People wearing glasses or contact lenses are considered for this type of surgery but still a licensed opthamologist must check your eyes and their condition to decide if a laser surgery can be performed. Making sure the doctor is licensed opthamologist is very important and also finding out the number of times they have performed the surgery and their success rates should be considered. Any question regarding the surgery should be addressed before going into surgery as it is very important to erase all doubts before you get the surgery done.
LASIK or laser in situ keratomileusis means laser under a flap of cornea (in situ) to properly shape cornea (keratomileusis). In this type of laser eye treatment high wavelength and specialized excimer lasers are used for treating vision problems, refractive errors, which result in eliminating the need for contact lenses or glasses. During this procedure, the shape of cornea is altered by lifting a thin skin of cornea. Use of excimer laser has been in use since long but it was effectively used in the form of LASIK treatment by Greek surgeon Ioannis Pallikaris in 1991. Generally a LASIK treatment can cost around $1200 to $2600 /eye depending upon the type of correction needed.
This laser eye treatment is usually recommended when patients due to some clinical conditions (thin corneas) cannot undergo LASIK surgery. The major difference between the LASIK and Lasek surgery or Epi-Lasek is that in case of Lasek treatment very thin skin of cornea is removed and thus the incision does not go very deep inside the tissue. This makes it comparatively less invasive and less risky. But a patient must undergo any type of laser surgery according to the advice of his/her eye surgeon as they undesrtand the condition of the eyes and prescribe the right treatment. One of the major drawbacks of Lasik procedure is that it is more traumatic than LASIK and hence takes longer to heal. The price structure is almost similar and costs around $1,800 to $2,800/eye.
Although rare, laser eye surgery could cause loss of vision in some cases. Sometimes there could be a blurring or double vision which can cause serious vision problems at night. Most of the patients might still need glasses/contacts after the surgery as a 20/20 vision is acheived in only a few people after the laser surgery. Dry eye syndrome can be another uncomfortable side effect that a patient has to endure permananetly in some cases after the surgery. As each person had a unique problem and respond differently to the same treatment, it is important to consider the risks before undergoing a laser eye surgery.
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