Is Laser Refractive Surgery Safe? Who Can Do It?
Refractive surgery, performed to correct vision problems, has evolved significantly in recent decades. In the 1980s, the so-called scalpel surgery (radial keratotomy) treated cases of myopia through cuts made in the cornea by the ophthalmologist with a diamond scalpel. The process was manual; its long-term results were unsatisfactory in most patients. In the 1990s, refractive laser surgery appeared, which, with great precision and safety, treated selected cases of myopia, astigmatism, and hyperopia using laser energy applied to the cornea’s surface.
Today, the laser is applied to the cornea using two techniques: PRK, which is applied directly to the corneal surface, and Lasik, through a photoablation procedure performed under a small flap made in the cornea.
Which Method To Choose?
The choice of surgical method should be determined after a complete ophthalmological evaluation and a detailed explanation to the patient of the pros and cons of each technique. The ophthalmologist will know how to indicate the best procedure according to the characteristics of the patient’s eye.
There are several medical indications for performing refractive surgery. People who do not tolerate the constant use of glasses or contact lenses, athletes or people who practice water and impact sports, professionals whose use of glasses or lenses may compromise or pose risks to daily activities, and even for aesthetic reasons.
The important thing is to understand that refractive surgery seeks to reduce the patient’s dependence on glasses or contact lenses as much as possible. However, many patients, even after refractive surgery, will still need to use glasses with lower prescriptions for certain situations, such as reading books, newspapers, and magazines and using smartphones and computers, especially when operated on after 40 years of age.
Positive Outcome And Freedom
The vast majority of patients are satisfied with the final result of the surgery, as they no longer wear corrective lenses for most of the day, both in social and sports activities. Surgery results are positive for almost all patients in professional and educational activities. A good conversation with your ophthalmologist can clarify your doubts and detail what realistic expectations can be achieved with refractive surgery.
Who Can Operate?
Each patient must be very well evaluated before undergoing laser refractive surgery. Not all patients can be operated on. The safety criteria must be obeyed with extreme rigor so that the surgery does not bring future problems to the vision of those interested in the surgery.
The main safety criteria are:
- Age over 18 years old
- Stability of graduation for at least two years
- Good general health
Complete ophthalmological examination where the ophthalmologist such as discover vision center for example evaluates all ocular structures that may be altered by refractive surgery without risking the patient’s vision in the short and long term. Among the most important exams are eyeglass graduation, ocular motility (strabismus), corneal curvature (topography) and thickness, assessment of the fundus of the eye (retinal mapping), intraocular pressure, and biomicroscopy.
Refractive Surgery: Risk Associated With It
Fortunately, complications in refractive surgery are very rare. Cases of surgical infection are avoided with antibiotics and inflammatory eye drops. Corneal deformity (ectasia) is uncommon, especially when surgical safety criteria are met.
Most complications arise when the operative guidelines are not followed.
What Is The Care After Surgery?
The operated patient must strictly follow the guidelines of the ophthalmologist. Among the precautions are:
Use antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, and lubricant eye drops according to medical advice.
Avoid intense sports activities for 30 days.
Avoid swimming pools and sea bathing for 30 days.
Wear sunglasses constantly.
Return to the physician’s office as directed by the physician.
Return to driving vehicles and machines after the ophthalmologist’s approval.
Annual ophthalmological consultations and kansas city lasik consultation for example even if the patient does not feel the need to wear glasses.
Seek medical assistance in the face of any unforeseen event or intercurrence after surgery, even months or years after the procedure.