Comparing Eye Surgery

Traditional surgical procedures for correcting eyesight problems like short sightedness and long sightedness, or cataracts and astigmatism, have largely been superseded by laser technology. These new technologies afford accuracy and speed and reduce the possibility of error. The eye is after all one of our most important organs. The laser has replaced the surgical knife and is infinitely sharper and more exacting, controlled by computer as it is. For comparing eye surgery options these days the choice will usually be which laser surgery technique to go for. This article will give you the run-down on the different flavours of laser eye surgery that are used for correcting problems like short sightedness, long sightedness, or cataracts and astigmatism.

Comparing Eye Surgery

Comparing Eye Surgery - The Laser as a Sculpting Tool

The cheapest and oldest method for correcting short and long sight problems was and still is to use glasses.  But this method began to lose favour for several reasons, not least the fact that for aesthetic reasons some people preferred a less obtrusive solution to these problems.  Then contact lenses were invented and for those that could afford them that problem seemed for a while to have been solved.  But implanting crystalline contact lenses was, and still is, a delicate and complex operation.  Then came the laser and it has proved to be the magic wand for the eye surgeon.

Short and long sightedness as well as cataracts and astigmatism all have one thing in common: they are all the result of a deformation or change of shape of one part of the eye or another, a deformation that changes the refractive characteristics of the transparent layers of the eye, of which there are several.  These changes in the refractive properties of the transparent layers within the eye will then determine how much light reaches the retina, where on the retina the light falls, etc.  The long and the short of it is that the deformation usually leads to some sort of eyesight problem.

With laser surgery the laser is used to re-shape the deformed layer of the eye,  remove any irregularities in its curvature and remove excess material, more or less as a sculptor shapes the contours of a work of art, only much more accurately.

Comparing Eye Surgery Options that Focus on Laser

With laser surgical procedures involving the eyes you are in the best of hands.  Still some techniques are better than others and your particular condition may militate against the use of one or the other of these surgical procedures. Below is a brief summary of the most popular laser techniques in use today. At the most fundamental level there are only two of them.
LASIK Laser Eye Surgery
As with all modern terminologies, LASIK is an acronym for Laser-Assisted In-situ Keratomileusis.  LASIK is the most common technique of laser eye surgery in use today.  In this procedure a layer of the cornea (called the stroma) is “peeled” back and the surface of the cornea is re-shaped with the computer controlled laser tool to give it a near-perfect contour that is calculated to enable the light coming into the eye to focus directly on the retina.  This treatment will thus cure problems of short or long sightedness, as well as astigmatism.

Advantages of the LASIK laser eye surgery are that it has been proved to work, you will usually not need to wear glasses after the operation, there is little or no pain involved in the operation and chances of getting an eye infection are minimal since the laser kills off any disease causing organisms.  Also recovery is really short and any outcomes achieved will be permanent.

But for all that Lasik eye surgery has its risks. Not all eyes problems can be treated with the method and for this reason your eye surgeon will usually have to do several tests to see if you can benefit from LASIK or not.

PRK Laser Eye Surgery

The difference between PRK and LASIK lies only in which technique is used to get to the cornea.  Under PRK the topmost layer of the cornea is scraped away to get to the underlying layer, which is then sculpted with a laser in a similar manner to LASIK.  PRK is the original eye laser surgical technique and is used for treating minor deformations and for patients with thin corneas.  Its disadvantages are that it is associated with more discomfort for the patient, and it takes longer to recover full eyesight with this technique, i.e. the recovery process is slower.