LASIK has become a popular ‘miracle’ treatment used to improve poor eyesight. However, due to its sensitive and permanent nature, many are not ready to jump right into such treatment. It has been available for several years now, but even so, many potential patients are weary of late-blooming sideaffects and irreversible problems. Thankfully, there are alternatives to this procedure, and we will explore them in this article. Let’s take a look at the common eye disorders
, and the set of treatments for them (including LASIK):
The Common Eye Disorders
Most vision problems are related to problems with the cornea or the lens of the eye. Such problems cause a distorted image to be refracted onto the retina, and thus, the patient will have ‘bad eyesight’. The three main corneal or lens problems are myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism.
Myopia , aka nearsightedness, is the ability to only see clearly objects that are relatively close. This results from having a longer eye than normal, a condition that is sometimes referred to as having a ‘steep’ cornea.
Hyperopia , aka farsightedness, is the ability to only see clearly objects are relatively far from the viewer. This is caused by a cornea that is flatter than usual.
Astigmatism often corresponds in some ways with myopia and hyperopia, and it is usually paired with them. This problem is caused by a misshapen, oval-like cornea. In simplistic terms, astigmatism could be referred to as having both myopia and hyperopia simultaneously. In fact, an astigmatic cornea has curved and flat regions, and the blurred vision resulting from it occurs both far and near. Still, regardless of the specifics of all of these disorders, the problem is vision that is clearly unclear.
The Principles Behind Vision Correction
The principal behind vision correction is simply to give the patient clear, normal vision. Glasses, contacts, and LASIK are all after the same goal, though they pursue it in different ways.
LASIK is an acronym for ‘Laser Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis’. Keratomileusis is a type of corneal surgery, and In Situ simply means that the eye is not removed from your socket. The principle behind LASIK is that the cornea is reshaped to a normal state using precision lasers. Ideally, the eye should remain permanently in this shape, and there will be no need for any further vision correction.
Treatment involving glasses is not permanent, and does not actually fix or sustain your eye’s current shape. Basically, a specially designed lens is made that will make up for the patient’s misshapen cornea.
Contacts rely on the same principal as glasses, though they eliminate the need for elaborate and sometimes annoying framework. The contact is usually a piece of soft silicone-based polymer that makes ‘contact’ with the eyeball.
What You Should Know
Each of the aforementioned methods have drawbacks and other things to consider before one decides of a treatment. Let’s take a look:
LASIK ‘s biggest problem is that we simply don’t know enough about it. The procedure sounds good, but many are worried about long-term effects. Fears of blindness, cancer, and various esoteric sideaffects are quite common, and rightly so. Historically, it takes both time and testing to know just how safe any medical procedure or medicine is. Of course, if there are limited signs of danger and risk, then the procedure or medicine is marketed and made public. But sadly, there is no way to know whether or not theses treatments will remain danger-free. People have to use the product, and from there scientists and doctors can make changes, developments, and at worst recalls. As of now, LASIK appears to be relatively safe. The standard surgical complication of infection exists, and some patients (rare patients) have been found to be genetically pre-disposed to having a cornea that becomes thinner after the surgery. There have also been complaints of seeing spots and blotches, particularly during night. These are all things to consider if you want to try LASIK.
Glasses are easily the oldest and most simple vision correction technique. You will see clearly with them on, and all you do is simply put them on your face. However, glasses do not stop the shape of your eye from getting progressively more misshapen. Thus, people will often need to increase lens power over the years. The other problems that arise with glasses are more cosmetic, though they are still important. Finding a frame that suits your facial structure and style can be quite difficult and expensive. If having a new eye exam every several years is not to your liking, or if you don’t feel comfortable with glasses on your face, then you might want to look at contacts.
Contacts have always been the popular solution for a person who dislikes glasses. It’s main selling point is that it eliminates all of the cosmetic and stylistic issues. However, it does not really impede, stop, or reverse the misshapening of the eye. Although you can wear contacts for a full day, they are not meant to be worn forever (they restrict oxygen flow to the eyes). The popular type of contact is the soft-lens, which is a disposable lens. Usually people will wear and remove the lenses nightly for approximately a month, and then they will use a new pair. After that month, the lens begins to deteriorate. Hard lenses are much less popular, primarily because they are uncomfortable. However, there is a relatively new hard lens treatment in which the patient sleeps in the hard lenses. The lens is specially shaped so that the cornea retains the lens’ shape for a period of time. The shape is usually retained for the 12-24 hours, though for some the shape can be retained for about two days. Another option is extended wear lenses, which can be worn for about a month. Unfortunately, the cheapest of the contact lenses is the standard soft-lens. The special hard lens treatment can be very expensive, almost costing as much as LASIK. Still, all of these options are advantageous in that they don’t have permanent effects.
The Best Choice For You
There is no ultimate ‘best’ choice for vision correction. However, most people can find a personal best choice. Hopefully this article has broadened your understanding of common eye problems and their treatments. With this information, you can decide what you want to do.