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What Is Laser Eye Surgery?

Nov 17, 2007
Laser eye surgery is a vision correction treatment or procedure to provide patients with better eyesight and eliminate the need of contact lenses or glasses. This treatment is used to correct the vision of people with short sightedness (myopia), astigmatism and long sightedness (hyperopia). Laser eye surgery may not be suitable for everyone especially for children. However for those who are interested in laser eye treatment, most patients aged 18 and above whose prescriptions over the last 12 months have stabilized ought to consult a laser-trained specialist refractive optometrist or qualified ophthalmologist who will determine the patient's suitability for treatment based on their specific circumstances, age, profile of healing, medical history, treatment expectations and personal prescriptions. Make sure the consulting doctor uses a laser that is approved by the Food and Drug Administration for safety reasons.

The first type of treatment is called Precision. This procedure is typically conducted as an outpatient care using eye drops that contain local anesthesia. A computer controlled laser beam is used to perform the refractive correction by reshaping the cornea. It normally takes approximately three days for a patient to recover. Just like any medical treatment there is no cast iron guarantee that this procedure will completely eliminate the need for corrective lenses.

The second type of treatment is called LASIK eye surgery which is currently the most frequently performed and highly effective elective procedure to treat low, moderate to high prescriptions. It employs a cool beam of light from the excimer laser to gently reshape the cornea of your eye. This surgery procedure although more invasive than Precision, only takes about 10 minutes, patients generally experience less discomfort compared to other types of vision correction methods and a real bonus is that both your eyes can be treated at the same time with immediate result of vision improvement following treatment.

Patients need to be made aware that even though laser eye surgery has a good track record in terms of its safety and success rate, it is still not a completely risk free procedure. It is not possible to predict with 100% confidence how the eye will respond to the different types of treatments, there is a real risk of under-correction or over-correction. In this instance further surgery will be called upon to improve the result. Sometimes there is a chance that the cornea becomes infected following treatment which will impact the speed of recovery. Very few patients may even experience the reverse effect of decreased vision as the laser eye treatment causes corneal haze to develop or unexpected complications occur. For others regression sets in as improvement of vision starts to wane, therefore re-treatment may be required. Some may also develop severe dry eye syndrome as the eyes are unable to naturally produce enough tears to moisten the eyes following laser surgery. This may lead to momentary blurring of vision and other visual problems. If this happens, the patient will need intensive eye drop treatment and further surgery.

Despite all of the above mentioned risks, thousands of procedures are carried out every day around the world and in the overwhelming majority of cases, patients are very satisfied with the results.
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