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Laser Eye Surgery and its Effects on Astigmatism
Laser eye surgery is also referred to as laser corneal sculpting. It’s actually a medical procedure that normally makes use of a laser in order to reshape the surface of the eye. The main aim of undertaking this kind of surgery is to improve or actually correct hypermetropia (long sightedness), myopia (short-sightedness) and astigmatism (uneven curvature of the eye’s surface). Those individuals who undergo laser eye surgery still need to wear glasses or contact glasses regardless of the fact that their natural eye sight will have improved to greater extent.
Laser corneal sculpting procedures were for the first time performed over 30 years ago. The cornea is basically the transparent tissue that cover the front of the eye. It aids in control focusing. During this surgery, a computer-controlled excimer laser is normally used to remove microscopic amounts of tissue from the cornea.
The ultimate aim of this is to restore normal eyesight without necessarily having to wear contact lenses or glasses. In a procedure known as photorefractive keratectomy (PRK), the thin outer layer of the cornea (corneal epithelium) is normally removed and the underlying layers are reshaped. This is achieved through the help of an excimer laser. All the various procedures can be performed at a professional laser eye surgery the likes of Optilase.
There is a commonly used procedure whereby a thin flap of corneal tissue is created with another laser caser femtosecond laser. The one that is most widely used is called Intralase. This flap is then lifted out of the way. The excimer laser then reshapes the underlying tissue and the flap is replaced in order to cover the newly recontoured surface. The two most common types of treatment used are;
- Laser in situ keratomileusis (LASIK)
- Laser epithelial keratomileusis (LASEK)
The other types of treatment are;
- Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK)
- Wavefront-guided Lasik
The following are conditions that lead to laser eye surgery. They include;
Hypermetropia (long-sightedness) and Presbyopia
Hypermetropia tends to cause vision problems more commonly to individuals who are over the ages of 40. An individual with hypermetropia normally sees distant objects better than close objects. This condition is more common than myopia. Individuals with this condition depend on glasses for up-close tasks for example reading.
The most common variation of this is presbyopia It normally commences when one is in their 40’s.This is where people can manage to see quite well in the distance, but do need to hold reading material further and further away from their eyes in order to see vividly. This condition cannot be corrected with laser eye surgery, but laser procedures can actually be used to make one eye short-sighted to overcome a dependence on reading glasses. This procedure is known as monovision.
Statistics have it that around 30% of Australians have myopia. An individual with myopia have trouble focusing objects in the distance. They appear blurry and difficult to see.
This is an eye condition that is because by an eye that is not completely round and it occurs to almost everybody to some extent. For vision problems due to astigmatism, glasses, contact lenses, and even vision correction procedures are all possible treatment options. When light enters the eye of a normal person, it refracts, bends evenly thus creating a clear view of the object.
The eye of an individual with astigmatism is shaped more like a football or the back of a spoon instead of assuming the shape if a sphere. In this case, when light enters the eye its refracted more in one direction than the other thus allowing only part of the object to be in focus at a time, Objects or substances at any distance appear wavy and blurry.
The cause of astigmatism is natural and commonly occurring cause of distorted or blurred vision that is normally associated with imperfectly shaped cornea. This blurred vision is associated with fatigue and eyestrain.
However Astigmatism can be corrected. This can be achieved by;
- Eyeglasses. These are the safest way to correct astigmatism. The eye professional should prescribe the appropriate lenses that will help you see more clearly.
- Contact Lenses. These work by becoming the first refractive surface for light rays that are entering the eye. This way they cause a more precise refraction or focus. In many instances they provide a wider field of vision, greater comfort and a clearer vision.
- Refractive surgery. This aims at changinging the shape of the cornea permanently. After this operation, the focusing power of the eye is restored. Here light rays are allowed to focus on the retina for improved vision. There are a number of refractive surgeries and the eye professionals normally guide somebody who chooses to undergo an eye surgery.
Reasons why Laser Eye Surgery may be considered
- When an individual can’t use contact lenses and would not prefer to wear glasses for cosmetic reasons.
- When an individual does not want the inconvenience of contact lenses and the care required.
- When an individual want to engage in recreational activities that cannot be done while wearing.
There are common laser procedures. They include;
- Photo-Refractive Keratectomy
Here the surgeon removes the outer layer of the cornea with a surgical blade or a blunt instrument. The Laser beam which is normally guided by a computer is then used to vaporize tiny amounts of tissue under the surface of the cornea. This procedure removes just enough tissue in order to reshape the cornea in a way that corrects vision.
- Laser Assisted in situ Keratomileusis
The surgeon first cuts a flap in the cornea with a very sharp blade or a laser, and then lifts it and uses a computer-guided laser in order to remove calculated amount of tissue from the inside layers of the cornea. Afterwards, the flap is put back and the eye heals more quickly compared to the procedure above.
- Laser Epithelial Keratomileusis
This is actually a variation of PRK and LASIK. Here the surgeon cuts the epithelium with a fine blade, and uses alcohol to loosen and lift it in a single layer. The laser beam is then directed at tissue under the epithelium. When the laser procedure is finished, the epithelium is put back in place. This procedure is best suited to vision problems requiring minor correction.
This is basically a modified LASEK whereby the outer layer of the cornea is removed with mechanical device using a blunt rather than a sharp blade.
Laser eye surgery can actually be used to correct astigmatism. This is through refractive surgeries.