LASIK, a type of laser eye surgery, stands for “Laser In-Situ Keratomileusis”. This surgery of LASIK is used to improve and repair the problems of vision. It can address the problems of people who are suffering from refractive error difficulties like farsightedness (hyperopia), short-sightedness (myopia), and/or astigmatism.
LASIK engages a surgical process to remove the tissue from the cornea, a thin outer covering of the eye, with the help of laser technology. It uses an excimer laser treatment process to do this surgery. This process reshapes the cornea of the eye to improve the vision and correct any existing refractive errors. It rectifies the vision problems of related individuals.
Today, LASIK eye surgery has successfully gained a lot of popularity in the masses due to its adverse benefits and user-friendly procedures. More and more people are now opting for this surgery to correct their vision problems. The surgery offers a lot of benefits which aids in progressing the overall quality of a healthy vision and well-being. The eye surgeon, the ophthalmologist who performs this LASIK surgery, either uses a laser light or makes use of a special surgical instrument which is known as a microkeratome.
Thanks to this latest technology and advancement that today with the help of this laser surgery, millions of people throughout the world are leading an improved life and are no more dependant on their eyeglasses or contact lenses for their vision support. Most of the patients opting for LASIK eye surgery today are successfully able to get a 20-20 vision after completion of their LASIK eye surgery. However, there are always a few exceptions in every deed. In few of the cases, patients undergoing the LASIK eye surgery may not get the desired outcomes of the surgery and may still require wearing their eyeglasses or contact lenses even after the treatment procedure is complete.
Unlike any other refractive surgery, LASIK also functions by reshuffling and restructuring of the patient’s eye cornea which is the front and the clear portion of the eye. This technique helps in permitting the desired amount of lights to enter inside into the eye such that it can completely focus on the retina properly to get a clear and vibrant vision.
Performing a LASIK surgery is not a time taking procedure. In most of the cases, the complete process of this surgery for both the eyes hardly takes around 15 minutes. The surgery is completely pain-free and painless. The patient gets back his improved and corrected vision without putting in any pain or time. Moreover, in the majority of the cases, this surgery extends a complete and permanent solution for patients to offer improved vision without the use of eyeglasses or any contact lenses.
Since decades customized eyeglasses and contact lenses had been the only key to get aid for problems of near-sightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism like eye errors. However, with the latest advancement, now there is technological and surgical method also available to get a relief from the same. The solution to this error, the LASIK eye surgery, offers the best alternative solution for such complications and problems where one wishes to live a glass free dependency free life, unlike others.
Steps in the Treatment of LASIK: The Procedure
The treatment of LASIK involves the following steps to be performed:
- Creation of a thin circular flap in the outer cornea is done by an eye surgeon to start with.
- Primarily, the surgeon makes use of surgical though mechanical tools to do this activity. These surgical tools are called as femtosecond lasers.
- The flap is lifted to get an access to the cornea layers.
- A part of the corneal tissues of microscopic size is removed with the lasers.
- This laser, called the excimer laser, makes use of an ultraviolet beam of a light for the removal. This aids in improving of the vision.
- The cornea of people suffering from myopia is usually flattened, whereas the cornea of people suffering from hyperopia the is usually made steeper.
- LASIK treatments are also performed to cure irregularly shaped corneas and give it a smooth standard shape.
- Later on, when the cornea gets back its regular shape, the flap is again placed back covering the cornea so as to cover the operated area and let it heal naturally.
- Certain amounts of anaesthetic drops are given during the treatment process.
- Later on, after the surgery is completed, there is no need to apply any bandages or stitches in the areas.
LASIK Eye Surgery: Side Effects
It is a fact that the advancement of technology and medical procedures have brought a boom to the patients who had the difficulty of vision. It is a real life changing boom for them, However, it has been reported that there do exist some minor side effects of the LASIK surgery, but they are very rare.
Post completion of the surgery, few of the patients sometimes report discomfort in their eyes. They experience a bit of sensitivity, tenderness, irritation or pain. Nevertheless, such types of discomforts and complaints do not last long and they remain hard for a day or maximum two.
Separately, apart from these above complains and complexities, few patients also report some other side effects although the percentage of such cases are very rare. Mostly all the surgeries bring some or the other level of risk attached to it, though rarely, but yes even LASIK surgery may bring that rare risk and being in some complications with it. Few of the other side effects associated with the LASIK surgery are as given below:
- Loss of vision: It has been very rarely reported. As per the studies, only 1 out of every 10,000 patients suffers from a complete loss of the vision.
- Retinal detachment
- Corneal scarring
- Dryness in the eyes: Few people do experience dryness in their operated eyes after undergoing a LASIK surgery due to reduced production of the tear. However, since it is a temporary problem, therefore the problem of this dryness can be comforted by applying few eye-drops in the eye to lubricate the eyes and keep it cold. Later, as healing will continue, the problem of this eye dryness will very soon disappear.
- Halos and vision fluctuations
- Temporary visual disturbances: This type of discomfort may occur for the first few days after completion of this surgery and the person may feel milk irritation and sensitivity. Few people also complain about glares and hazy visions during their night driving post-sunset because their pupil dilates during the night lights. However, these discomforts are also rare and will not be permanent and will automatically vanish within 3 to 6 months.
- Reduced quality of the vision
- Flap complications: During the treatment process of LASIK, a small microscopic flap is cut from the front facing of the cornea. This flap is used in the surgery to permit the corneal reshaping. For this, these flaps are lifted during the process of surgery and are later replaced with the help of medicated bandage. Rare risks exist for the cases of the slipped flap.
- Eye infection: It has been found that the possibility of eye infections are generally high in surgeries that use surface ablation process. However, in LASIK surgeries, natural bandages are being used which are created in more sterile environments to aid the right healing.
How much LASIK Eye Surgery can Cost!
According to the recent surveys, the average price for the LASIK eye surgery treatment in the US ranges from $2,000 to $2,500 for one eye. And in India, the average price for this surgery and treatment ranges from Rs. 5,000 to Rs. 1,00,000. The actual price for the complete treatment generally varies from place to place, from hospital to hospital, from doctor to doctor and from practice to practice.
As far as the fluctuating costs for the LASIK surgery are concerned, it would always be a wise decision to be alert and sceptical regarding the cost of the treatment and check for their related discounts and offers. It may be noted that in most of the offers, the cost of pre and post treatments, appointments, follow-ups, medications, services and other related aspects are excluded as per their terms.
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WHAT IS CATARACT??
A cataract refers to the clouding of the eye’s natural lens which lies behind the iris and the pupil. It is the principal cause of blindness in the world and is most common in people of age 40 years and above.
There are 3 types of cataract:
- SUBCAPSULAR CATARACT: This type of cataract occurs at the back of the eye. It is most common in people with diabetes or those taking high doses of steroid medication.
- NUCLEAR CATARACT: This type of cataract occurs in the deep central zone of the lens. It occurs due to ageing.
- CORTICAL CATARACT: This type of cataract begins in the periphery of the lens and slowly spreads towards the centre of the lens. It affects the cortex of the lens, which is the part of the lens that surrounds the central zone.
CATARACT- IS IT BECAUSE OF YOUR FAMILY, LIFESTYLE OR JUST BAD KARMA??
Our eye lens works very much like the camera, focusing light onto the retina for clear vision. It also adjusts the eye’s focus enabling us to view the things both close up and far away. The eye lens is made of water and certain other proteins that let light to pass through it. With ageing, some of the protein may clump together and cloud up over a small area. With time, the clouding up becomes larger and larger making it harder to see. This condition is called cataract.
Nobody is pretty sure why the eye lens changes with age resulting in the cataract. Researchers have eventually found out other risk factors that may lead to cataract. Some of which are:
- UV radiation from the sun and other sources
- Medicines used to control cholesterol
- Alcohol consumption
- Family history
There’s no concrete proof on what could reduce the risk of cataract. There is no harm in practising a healthy lifestyle that consists of a diet rich in nutrients, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and omega 3 fatty acids. Regular exercise and sound sleep also add on to your quality of life.
Though it seems to be terrific, it is something we needn’t worry a lot about! The advancements in the field of medicine have made it possible to cure the patients of cataract with help of surgeries.
Cataract surgery is the process of removing the natural lens of the eye (crystalline lens) which is affected by cataract. During the cataract surgery, the patient’s cloudy lens is removed and is replaced with synthetic lens ensuring lens’s transparency. The synthetic lens replaced is otherwise called as INTRAOCULAR LENS (IOL). The cataract surgery is performed by an ophthalmologist.
There is two commonly preferred type of surgery for cataract. They are:
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO PERFORM A CATARACT?
If it is an uncomplicated surgery, then it will not take more than 10 minutes. Since the patient will be given anaesthetic while performing the surgery, it might take about 30 minutes to recover from the sedation.
RISKS AND COMPLICATIONS OF THE SURGERY:
A person suffering from cataract alone may not have many complications, but those who have other eye conditions such as uveitis, high myopia (severe short-sightedness). Less than 10% of the people have greater chances of developing PCO, within two to three years after the cataract surgery.
POSTERIOR CAPSULE OPACIFICATION (PCO): it is the condition in which the lens capsule thickens thereby causing cloudy vision. This isn’t the cataract developing again, it is the skin or membrane growing over the artificial lens
Other complications are less common but to list a few, they are:
During the operation:
- inability to remove all of the cataracts
- tearing of the lens capsule
- bleeding inside the eye
- a bit of the cataract dropping into the back of the eye
- damage to other parts of the eye, such as the transparent outer layer of the eye (cornea)
After the operation:
- swelling or inflammation of the eye
- swelling and redness (inflammation) in the eye
- swelling of the retina- where the fluid builds up between the layers of the retina at the back of the eye. This may sometimes affect the vision.
- Swelling of the cornea- where the fluid builds up in the corner at the front of the eye; it usually clears itself.
- retinal detachment – a rare complication where the retina (the layer of nerve cells inside the back of the eye) becomes separated from the inner wall of the eye
- infection in the eye – such as endophthalmitis (a rare bacterial infection)
It is important to seek medical advice if you experience any increasing pain in the eye or loss of vision or redness after the surgery. It is possible to treat these complications with further surgery.
There is also a small risk of around 1 in 1000 may experience permanent damage to the eye resulting in loss of vision. However, the majority of the people lead a happy life with improved vision after the surgery.
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Cataracts and Cataract Surgery
Cataract-surgery is the most common eye surgery conducted worldwide. As Cataracts is bound to develop with age, this becomes a common cause of vision impairment among senior citizens.
What causes Cataracts
Our eye lenses are made up of protein. As the age progresses, the proteins denature, thus loosing its transparency. This causes foggy vision commonly known as the cataracts. This process of de-naturation is speed ed up by several other factors like ultraviolet radiations, cigarette smoking, hormonal imbalance or use of steroid drugs etc. Regular intake of vitamin E, an antioxidant slows the cataract formation.
Patient’s Problems Regarding Cataract Surgery
There always exists a dilemma among the patients regarding the surgery. When should one go for it? The simplest way to decide that is if the vision is impaired to the level that it starts hampering your day today activities, time is ripe for the surgery. Earlier was the belief that surgery should be done only when the cataracts gets matured. However, with advancement of medical procedures, maturation is no longer the pre-requisite for surgery. On the other hand, a relatively mature cataract is much more difficult to remove than the less mature one. Moreover, mature cataracts increases the chance of getting glaucoma i.e. increased pressure inside the eye balls.
The Process Of Cataract Surgery
Surgery is relatively simple process. First step involves the removal of the natural lenses of our eyes. Commonly, this is done by the process of phaco-emulsification. This involves melting up of our natural lenses with the use of a needle vibrating at very high frequency. After the removal, an artificial plastic lens is inserted which restores the normal vision. The entire surgery is performed under local anesthesia and the patient is discharged the same day or the very next day. Usually long distance vision is completely corrected after the surgery and short distance reading glasses are prescribed.
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