By Dr. Tushar Grover
Wearing glasses is not exactly everyone’s choice. Out of sheer self-consciousness for one’s looks or even discomfort, perhaps more people would like to avoid wearing them than those who would willingly wear the so-called ‘contraption’. In other words, for many, wearing glasses is not cool. Yet, for medical reasons and for better eyesight for everyday functioning, many of us do have to wear glasses whether we like it or not. Although there is a whole range of frames and lenses available in the market today for us to pick and choose, most would still, if possible, give the spectacles a miss. And while some opt for contact lenses that remove the need to constantly wear the supposedly unwieldy glasses. But just as it is with glasses, even contact lenses often become a source of discomfort, sooner or later. So, one useful option that emerges, to get permanent freedom from glasses is to go for Lasik surgery.
How glasses help our eyes
Glasses have proven to be one of the most effective ways of correcting the refractive issues of our eyes. These refractive issues typically include myopia or nearsightedness, long-sightedness or hyperopia and astigmatism. Under these conditions, the light rays coming through cornea, the outermost front surface of the eye and lens, do not get refracted or bent properly onto the retina, the part responsible for sending signals to the brain through the optic nerve. As a result, we have blurry vision. While in nearsightedness, the image becomes focused in front of the retina, in farsightedness, it is focused behind the retina. At the same time, in astigmatism, because of the uneven shape of the cornea, light is refracted in different directions distorting our vision. What glasses do is that they enable the bending of light rays properly onto the most appropriate spot on the retina therefore helping us to focus better and clearly see objects.
How Lasik surgery is an alternative
However, for those really wanting to avoid glasses, they can simply choose Lasik surgery. Lasik stands for Laser-assisted in situ Keratomileusis. In this, the ophthalmologist uses a specialized laser to alter the shape and the curvature of the cornea which leads to better refraction of light and therefore better focus and eyesight. With advancements in Lasik technology such as Wavefront-guided Lasik and the use of femtosecond laser, the procedure provides visual quality which is better than that with glasses.
Who should not opt for Lasik surgery?
At the same time, not everyone should and can consider the Lasik surgery option. For instance, those who have specific cornea-related issues such as having a thin or uneven cornea, or have a cone-shaped cornea or have corneal abrasions, they should not opt for it. In fact, the cornea needs to be thick and healthy as a precondition for this surgery. Similarly, those who have frequently changing refractive errors or extreme levels of such errors should avoid it. In addition, those who have cataracts, glaucoma, persistent dry eyes or are diabetic should not be mulling this option. Pregnant women as well as those under 18 years of age should also drop the idea of getting this surgery if they are contemplating it.
A few side effects involved
Although a nearly painless procedure involving no stitches or bandages, this surgery does entail certain side effects. For example, a person can get scratchy eyes, experience halos around images, see glares, develop sensitivity to light and even get bruises, among other effects. While side effects for most people are temporary, rarely they become permanent. In extreme cases, it can lead to vision loss too. In experienced surgical hands and with the right equipment however, Lasik continues to be one of the safest surgical procedures on any part of the human body.
Precautions to be followed before the surgery
Before surgery, the expert ophthalmologist would examine the patient’s ocular history, measure refractive errors, corneal thickness and pupil size, and in general get a measure of over-all eye health. Patients must also stop wearing their rigid gas-permeable contact lenses three weeks before evaluation and other contact lenses one week before evaluation.
Therefore, for glasses-sceptic people, who would be in large numbers, they don’t have to continue to persist with their glasses for lifetime. Lasik surgery is a fairly effective and common procedure available to them.