What you need to know about eye surgery
We are so aware of how well we see that it becomes a scary prospect when our eyesight gets worse. This can be due to a variety of reasons, and often results in needing eye surgery.
People may seek corrective eye surgery to fix a serious sight problem, or to improve their sight so they don't have to wear glasses or contacts anymore. Surgical techniques used on the eye have changed significantly in the past three decades, making them safer and easier.
Cataract and Glaucoma Correction Surgery
A cataract is a disease that makes the eye cloudy, making it harder to see. This is often a gradual process that happens as people get older. It most commonly happens in both eyes, but sometimes happens to just one. Cataract surgery is the process by which this is corrected. It is quite a common surgery, with over 1.5 million operations being performed in the United States every year. It is performed by an ophthalmologist. The typical surgery involves a small hole being made in the eye. A very thin ultrasonic probe will go in and the vibrations will dissolve and suction up the pieces of the cataract. A new lens will then be inserted where the cataract was, to help with vision. This operation takes about thirty minutes, and uses numbing eye drops, and some anesthesia around the eye. No stitches are used. More complex problems with cataracts require different procedures.
Glaucoma is a disorder of the eye that affects the optic nerve. The optic nerve is damaged and glaucoma surgery may be required to keep from losing your sight. However, glaucoma surgery cannot reverse the vision loss. The surgeon may do laser surgery or filtering microsurgery. Laser surgery involves using a laser to make several small scars in the eye's drainage system. These scars help allow the fluid to drain from the eye. The results of laser surgery can be seen in as little as a few days. Filtering microsurgery is done in more advanced cases of glaucoma. During filtering microsurgery, the surgeon creates a drainage hole using a small surgical tool. Very little pain or discomfort follows glaucoma surgery, although it is necessary to limit heavy lifting and other things that can contribute to adding pressure to the eyes.
Refractive surgery is the term used to describe any surgery to correct refractive problems with the eye. These problems affect the way the eye focuses light. They include myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism (the eye is not spherical). These surgeries are generally performed on people who do not want to rely on the use of eyeglasses or contact lenses anymore. The most common form of refractive surgery being done these days is LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis). There is also Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK).
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