All you should know about Refractive Laser Eye Surgery: Dr. Alpa Atul Poorabia

02-06-2021 Wed 17:18

  • All you should know about Refractive Laser Eye Surgery (SMILE, LASIK, and PRK) - Myths and Facts by Dr. Alpa Atul Poorabia, Ophthalmologist at Apollo Spectra Hospital, Hyderabad
The fast pace of life and demanding work hours that require everyone to look at screens continuously, has made eye problems very common. The pandemic, in particular, has resulted in a higher amount of screen time. Virtual classes, online learning, meetings, and a higher amount of television time have made everyone more prone to developing strain on the eyesight. With the mask, there are issues of fogging of the glass. And because of too much digital screen time, wearing a contact lens also increases dryness even though you wear it for limited hours. While glasses and contact lenses are an easy solution to correct eyesight, Refractive Laser Eye Surgery (SMILE, LASIK, and PRK) is a permanent solution to correct vision related problems.

Eligibility for the surgery

Refractive Laser Eye surgery is one of the most prevalent solutions for long and short-sightedness. Anyone who is more than 21 years of age, has a stable glass prescription for over 12 months, possesses normal retina and overall good health, can choose to undergo Refractive Laser Eye Surgery. However, a few people have a thin cornea or irregularities over the cornea which makes them unfit to undergo this surgery, as it might create certain long-term complications. That’s why, each one should undergo a suitability test for eyes, to rule out the possibility of developing complications because of Refractive Laser Eye Surgery.

While the procedure is very popular, and an excellent option to get rid of glasses, a lot of people have certain reservations about it.

The myths surrounding the surgery are best explained as follows:
●      Myth 1: The surgical procedure is painful

Fact: The procedure performed is not as painful as expected. Doctors take precautionary measures by providing numbing eye drops to ensure the procedure is as painless as possible. Patients who have undergone the surgery say that during the procedure one can feel a minor sensation or a slight pressure or touch feeling on the eye and nothing else.

●      Myth 2: The recovery period is long

Fact: The recovery period is between 2-6 days to get back to normal day-to-day life, depending on the procedure performed.

●      Myth 3: It can cause permanent vision loss

Fact: The chances of permanent vision loss due to Refractive Laser Eye surgery are there if you develop a severe infection in the eye. According to different publications, chances of getting the infection in the eye after Refractive Laser Eye Surgery is extremely rare. Of course, Refractive Laser Eye Surgery does cause few side effects, most of which are managed successfully.
●      Myth 4: Regular eye-checkups are not needed after the surgical procedure
Fact: Laser eye operation does not give the guarantee of having healthy eyes for life, rather this is a surgical procedure performed to reshape the cornea by applying Laser to make someone independent of glass. With age, the vision continues to change and therefore regular yearly eye checkups are essential to check the retina and any other age-induced changes like reading glass, cataract etc.

●      Myth 5: The side effects are severe and long-lasting

Fact: It is normal to experience slight discomfort post-surgery like itching and haziness but these minor side effects can be easily treated by painkillers and supportive drugs. Dry eye is the most common side effect observed after Laser Eye Surgery, but is easily managed by medications in most of the patients after the surgery and takes a couple of weeks to get back to normal.

With the rising rate of vision problems, Refractive Laser Eye Surgery presents an easy and quick solution for those who are dependent on glasses or contact lens for better vision. It is advised to individuals, based on their suitability test (corneal topography), medical and family history. It is also a good option for a person who chooses athletic/sports activities as it helps in getting rid of glasses or contact lenses which require more maintenance and care.

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