2017 05 18
Returned vision changes life entirely
Anyone for whom spectacles are not a trendy accessory but a necessity must have thought on numerous occasions how great life would be to simply get rid of them. And that’s true. After looking at the world without glasses following a laser vision correction, it opens up in entirely new colours. After such a correction, you can forget about both glasses and contact lenses. The operation solves the problems of short-sightedness, far-sightedness, and astigmatism improves both daytime and night-time vision and allows you to forget about troubles when driving with glasses as well as other everyday worries that constantly stalk the bespectacled.
How great is the pleasure of realising that you can walk without an umbrella under the warm summer rain and not feel momentarily blinded when you enter a warm room and the glasses mist up… And there is that matchless feeling when you realise there will be no more situations when you ask yourself, “What if I lose or break my glasses?”
Life without glasses becomes more wonderful, and sports more accessible. Irrespective of the type of sports, good vision without any doubt bring better results. It is, after all, so much easier to kick a football when you don’t have to worry about your contact lenses, not to mention running or biking. Excellent vision helps orient yourself better and avoid collisions and accidents.
Young children are so cute you simply have to take them up in your arms. It’s good when interacting with the little ones isn’t spoiled by your glasses suddenly being snatched off your nose. Spending time with kids outdoors or helping them bathe in a steamy bathroom will be much more fun because there are no more problems with glasses.
Socialising and entertaining at home becomes far more pleasant when you no longer have complexes like: I look better without glasses, but what can I do? Life becomes simpler when you no longer need to constantly agonise about losing your glasses or contact lenses!
You can also forget those constant expenses for glasses and contact lenses. Nice, good-quality glasses cost quite a lot, and they need replacing; with the years, fashion changes, glasses get scratched, and the frames become loose. The same can be said about contact lenses – they have to be regularly replaced and maintained and their hygiene needs to be taken care of. This costs a lot both in terms of money and time. After a laser vision correction, these investments and worries just disappear.
What is this laser vision correction that offers the possibility of enjoying life without glasses? The answer to this question was given by Lolita Jotautienė, an ophthalmologist and microsurgeon at the Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Centre.
When can the operation be performed?
Laser vision correction can be performed on people no younger than 18 when the eyes have completely developed and the vision has stabilised. For children and teens, this operation is performed only in very exceptional cases. It is also recommended to perform the operation before 45 to 50 years of age, because later the correction may not serve its purpose due to the incipient changes of ageing in the eyes.
Even when the patient’s age is suitable for laser vision correction, about 8% of those who would like to have it done receive a negative answer from the doctors. Generally, “no” is said to patients whose corneal tissue is weak. This is determined after a thorough examination of the eyes. Those who have keratoconus (where the form of the cornea changes due to weak corneal tissue, becoming thinner) cannot have this operation either. Moreover, laser vision correction is not advisable if the person is suffering from cataracts, age-related macular degeneration or glaucoma. With these diseases, laser vision correction does not effectively treat their outcome and can worsen the vision.
Ophthalmologist and microsurgeon Lolita Jotautienė says that sometimes patients with acute eye inflammation also apply for an operation. In this case, the negative answer is temporary. After curing the inflammation, in two to three weeks the patient can start considering a laser vision correction.
Examination and selection of the most suitable method
Before a vision correction operation, a comprehensive eye examination is performed that usually takes an hour and a half. All of the eye’s structural features are examined and it is established whether it is safe to perform the operation. A decision is made as to the most suitable and effective method for the individual patient in consideration of the condition of the eye, lifestyle and expectations.
Dr Jotautienė says that sometimes patients whose vision is not very bad but whose lifestyle or hobbies, e.g., shooting, require very good vision, apply for a vision correction. In such cases, an operation can indeed help. If the vision is very poor, the possibility to perform an operation also depends on the thickness of the cornea. If it is thin, sometimes short-sightedness cannot be rectified completely. For this purpose, software acting sparingly on the corneal tissue is developed, such as SmartPulse. The most modern new-generation lasers can use this application.
„SmartPulse“ software is a novelty offered by the most modern eye clinics in Germany that perform laser vision corrections. It is now also available at the Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Centre. When operating with this advanced software, the corneal tissue is spared, i.e., after the operation, a larger thickness of the untouched cornea is preserved. Furthermore, the laser ray allows for a more precise levelling of any surface irregularities of the cornea. This ensures an even better quality of vision and faster process of epithelisation when the painful post-operative period is shortened. This is particularly important for patients for whom corneal surface ablation by PKR, transPRK, and LASEK methods is needed. „SmartPulse“ expands the laser vision correction possibilities even further.
A laser vision correction operation is very simple – it takes between five and seven minutes for one eye. It is performed without causing any pain because, before the operation, drops resulting in total eye anesthetization are used. The patient is simply required to lay down calmly on their back and focus their sight onto a green lamp they can see during the procedure. An eyelid retractor is applied to the eye being operated on, which stops the patient from blinking.
During the operation, only the form of the cornea is changed. In the case of short-sightedness, the cornea is made flatter than it was, in the case of far-sightedness more convex. The internal structure of the eye remains unchanged.
After the operation, the rays of light that pass through the entire optical system of the eye are projected precisely onto the macula of the retina, achieving the impeccable vision.
Ten to fifteen minutes after the operation, as the effect of the analgesics passes, the patients feel discomfort that could be compared to a foreign body inside the eye; the eyes are sensitive to light and the patient wants to keep their eyes closed. If the operation has been performed using the LASIK method, these unpleasant sensations persist for two to four hours; afterwards, they disappear entirely and the vision starts improving.
The day after an operation performed by the LASIK method, the patient sees rather well and can even drive safely without glasses or contact lenses. On the third day after the operation, they can return to their usual life and work.
If the operation is carried out by the surface ablation (LASEK, PRK, TRANS PRK) method, the post-operative discomfort periods last longer, from two to four days, whereas the best vision results are attained after two to four weeks.
Due to the risk of infection, for at least one month after the operation, the patients must not swim in a lake, the sea or any other public water bodies, and visits to a solarium or a sauna are not allowed.
Carrying a light physical load is permitted two weeks after the operation, and full physical exercise is permitted after one month.
If the operation was performed by the LASIK methods, antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drops for the eyes are prescribed for nine days after the operation. If the operation was carried out by the LASEK method, drops should be used for two to three months.
For a month after the operation, it is recommended to wear sunglasses that protect the eyes from the sun, wind and any other external irritants.
Accuracy and safety of the operation
Laser vision correction is not something new. Such operations have been performed for almost 30 years now. The numbers of patients who want to have this operation are enormous and still growing, because the needs of people who want to live actively, to exercise and even try extreme power kiting or skydiving are increasing. Laser vision correction procedures are popular everywhere, from Europe to the US and Japan.
Generally, operations are performed by the LASIK method. It is believed that now there are more than twenty million people globally who have been successfully operated by this method.
Modern operations are very precise and safe. When operating with the newest laser, it follows the pupil of the eye in six dimensions. If the patient stirs or diverts their eyes from the green dot, the laser stops. The operating surgeon monitors the patient’s eye throughout the operation via a microscope.
These new-generation lasers function as smart devices, and their software is regularly updated.
It can be stated that the success of a laser vision correction operation relies on the equipment used to examine the eyes before the operation, on the laser used to perform the procedure, and on the professionalism of the operating specialist. When seeking good results, the patient’s contribution, especially during the post-operative period, is important.
To those worrying about the consequences of a vision correction operation for the eyes, the microsurgeon Lolita Jotautienė reminds that scientific studies have proved that a laser vision correction has no effect whatsoever on deeper ocular structures and do not promote their diseases.