LASIK and other refractive surgery options can correct a variety of vision problems. Farsightedness, nearsightedness, astigmatism, even presbyopia can all be treated by a variety of refractive surgery methods. Although LASIK is the most commonly known and performed elective refractive surgery, there are other options that offer their own advantages and sometimes disadvantages. Knowing which is the best method for you requires a comprehensive preoperative eye assessment.
Even though refractive surgery is very common, many people still have doubts and fears about having these procedures done. There are many myths about refractive surgery options that lead patients to conclude they are risky or unsafe. In reality, complications are relatively rare. With the proper pre- and post-operative care, many complications can be avoided, minimized, or resolved satisfactorily. Usually, refractive surgeries are safe, quick, effective, and with minimal lifestyle disruption!
Facts and Myths about Refractive Surgery
Myth: LASIK is the best option.
Fact: There are many refractive surgery options available for vision correction. Any surgery that modifies the cornea’s curvature or shape, or attempts to modify a person’s vision such as with the use of intraocular lens implants or corneal rings/incisions, is classified as refractive surgery. PRK (photorefractive keratectomy), as opposed to LASIK (Laser Assisted In situ Keratomileusis) is one of the other more common options. PRK has actually been around longer than the LASIK technique, and is better suited for some patients with thin corneas.
Dr. Sciberras has extensive experience consulting on PRK and LASIK laser eye surgery, as well as the KAMRA method for treatment of presbyopia (reading glasses) and intraocular lens implants.
Myth: It’s painful and requires a lot of down-time.
Fact: Numbing eye drops are used to prevent the patient from feeling any major discomfort during the surgery. You will feel some pressure while the surgery is being performed, but the numbing agent means you won’t feel pain. Usually, the recovery process is accompanied by mild dry eye sensation, that is well-managed with the proper type and frequency of ocular lubricants.
Myth: Laser eye surgery causes night blindness.
Fact: Although night glare is a possible symptom post-surgery, major complications such as vision loss from refractive surgery are extremely rare. Night glare was more common before advances in lasers and software modules and in patients with a combination of high myopia and large pupils. Today, night glare as a result of having a laser eye procedure is very uncommon and often transient in its incidence. Some side effects of these procedures may include dry eye and unstable vision in the months immediately following surgery.
Myth: Long term complications are unknown.
Fact: The first laser treatment was performed in 1987. With more than 25 years of clinical experience, laser eye surgery has been studied, refined and now successfully performed on millions of people around the world.
Myth: It’s too expensive.
Fact: While the cost of refractive surgeries can seem steep, when you compare it to the price of getting new glasses and lenses every couple years or new contact lenses every few weeks, it seems more reasonable. The results go beyond monetary benefits as well – it’s hard to put a price on the convenience of having good vision without having to worry about wearing glasses or putting in contact lenses.
Myth: Everyone is a candidate.
Fact: While many patients are candidates for refractive surgeries, those with thin or irregular corneas, eye disease, prior history of corneal viral infections, or active autoimmune disorders should be given special attention. For example, PRK is often a better choice than LASIK for patients with thin corneas because of how each surgery modifies the corneal shape. Alternatively, LASIK is a better option for treating hyperopia. Intraocular lens implants are the best option for correcting reading problems in patients over 40 as opposed to corneal modifications.
Myth: Recovery takes a long time.
Fact: With most refractive surgeries, the patient has improved vision almost immediately. After 24 hours, most patients can function as normal, with only limited restrictions on physical activities. Patients may suffer from symptoms of dry eye and/or fluctuations in vision for one to three months after the procedure, but anything more serious is rare. These complications need to be detected early for best outcomes. There is usually no serious discomfort while recovering from most laser eye surgeries. PRK is, however, associated with 2-4 days of potentially significant eye discomfort and light sensitivity while the corneal epithelium heals.
Dr. Jeff Sciberras can consult with patients about which refractive eye surgery will best suit your particular case. By completing a full oculo-visual assessment, he can determine if you’re a candidate for refractive surgery based on your current visual status, eye health, and vision needs. Understanding and managing your expectations as well as helping you understand the surgical limitations and your potential for future vision changes are paramount to achieving a satisfying outcome.
Following the surgery, Dr. Sciberras will be able to help you manage your post-operative recovery. He knows how to prevent complications and treat any complications that may arise. With unbiased, experienced, and nurturing care from Dr. Sciberras, you can trust that you’re getting the best possible advice for your eyes.
Contact Dr. Jeff Sciberras for more information about your refractive surgery options today!